One of the strategies available to any real estate investor is “value creation.” This strategy requires extra work, capital and risk. It creates value by identifying what a property can do differently to be worth more monthly or long-term. Some of the possible actions may involve major renovation because of the location. For residential investors, the first place to consider are the interior improvements that will improve your monthly rent and your return on investment (ROI).
Interior improvements do not have to mean expensive makeovers. There are many low dollar, but important, value-creating ideas for your residential property. These ideas can result in more income, and improved marketability (days on the market).
Here is a list of simple interior improvements that make a difference.
Paint the entire interior using neutral colors.
Yes, paint the entire interior. Don’t even consider skipping an area. This is one of the highest ROI interior improvements you can make. Paint changes everything about how great a home looks.
Look at all the floor coverings.
Unless the house is REALLY new and in great shape, all carpets and pads need to go. They collect dirt and who knows what else. For the long-term investment, convert carpet and pads to hard surfaces in as much of the property as you can. The savings over time are significant for replacement and cleaning.
Vinyls almost always need to be replaced and are very inexpensive. A slight upgrade on a vinyl floor is money very well spent. There are some excellent hard surface options to vinyl, tile or wood. These manufactured hard surfaces are the way to go.
The only flooring surfaces that can be considered to be left are a tile or wood surface. A good cleaning, and some grout repairs may be all that is needed for tile floors (barring that the previous owner had not chosen some very shocking color or design). Wood floors may need refinishing. If there are scratches all over them a refinisher can make them look new again.
The kitchen is important…very important.
Do the appliances add value by being clean and not vintage? Can the cabinet surfaces be refurnished or cleaned? Is the counter top dated?
Did you know that replacing counter tops is usually a high ROI item if they are dated and out of style? How about updating the cabinet hardware?
How about refacing an appliance? Did you know there is a peel and stick product that will easily make those yellowing appliances appear to be stainless steel?
Make sure all the light bulbs work.
If a lighting fixture has one part that does not work with a new bulb, don’t be so cheap as to expect the potential buyer to just say they will replace it. Lighting fixtures are a fairly inexpensive replacement. They also, like paint, can make a home feel more updated.
A really inexpensive idea that even the most un-handy man investor can accomplish, is to buy nice new switch and outlet covers. Consider what type will add a certain elegance to the home. Then for less than $100 the whole home can have a new look to go with that paint.
New Blinds For The Windows
Nothing says a home is not being maintained more than some broken blinds. Go ahead, invest in some new blinds and feel proud that this is a very much appreciated item for every tenant.
Check the ceiling fans for their operation without vibration or noise. Replace them if those problems can’t be fixed. Make sure the cleaning crew uses a dusting tool to get all the crud off the top of the blades.
Are cheap and easy to install. Why not make the toilet look new also with this easy upgrade?
Same thoughts as the kitchen. Some hardware upgrades in the bathroom can give you a whole different look at little cost. Oh- please throw out the old shower curtain also!
Are the closets un-functional or built with cheap wire material? A good carpenter can build real wood shelves and hanging bars-particularly in the master bedroom.
Potential renters love closets that offer lots of room. Is there a way to make the closets work better?
Shine Up Your Front Door
A new coat of paint or stain will make a great first impression. Why not go one more level and install a new kickplate? A very affordable way to make an interior improvement that helps your exterior also!
I’m sure that you can think of more ideas for inexpensive interior improvements. These just provide a simple checklist to allow you to see that there are many options, along with the more common structural and mechanical ones. Investors who wants to add value to the nation’s housing stock should be embraced as part of the solution. While adding value, you are offering better housing options and improving your ROI.
Why not consider these easy interior improvements?