Renovating a rental property can be hard to carry out whilst cutting costs and maximising return on investment at the same time, however, it can be done. Below are some inexpensive tips to both improve property and boost rental income potential.

Don’t Treat it Like Your Own

It’s important to remember not to work to the same standards you might apply to your own home. Because, unfortunate as it is, tenants aren’t ever going to treat rental property with the same care that they would if it was their own home. To them, it’s a temporary solution.

Instead, focus on making the property look liveable and inviting enough to attract a tenancy.

Create a Ready Made Home

When a potential tenant is viewing the property, the big question they are asking themselves is: “Can I see myself here”. You need to cater to this by making the property look as immediately livable as possible.

  • If the property looks dingy or unkempt, then clean it. It’s as simple as that. No potential renter wants to move in to a cleaning job.
  • If the rooms look dark, keep all the blinds open and lights on, or consider painting the walls a light colour.
  • If the property appears small, you may want to consider knocking a wall through to create more of an open plan living area.
  • All empty properties can look a bit desolate and vacant, so a staged room works wonders to help tenants mentally place furniture. There are several rental stores that price furniture pieces by day, week, and so on, which is ideal for a viewing period.

Repair, Don’t Replace

Many landlords choose to clear the house contents, give it all a coat of paint and new carpets, and get some new tenants in as quickly as possible. This is quite an expensive solution as it’s quite rare that the whole house needs to be overhauled.

Lots of landlords replace carpets with every new tenant, but it’s more cost effective to follow a general life expectancy chart and give the carpets a deep clean instead. A professional cleaning can make even the dingiest carpets look brand new, and will be a fraction of the cost.

  • Ceilings rarely need a coat of paint unless the previous occupants were messy/heavy smokers.
  • Walls can be prepped for paint with a magic eraser to clean off scuffs, fingerprints, and smoke marks.

Kitchens and bathrooms are usually the most important rooms for the tenant. Like everyone else, tenants don’t want to clean themselves in a mouldy bathroom or cook in a kitchen straight out of the 70’s. If you are thinking about selling your property within the next 5-10 years then an updated kitchen or bathroom will typically produce about an 80% return on investment, which should make them the focus of your renovation

Give Everything a Good Clean

A thorough clean should be performed at every turnover. It’s important to get the professionals in to ensure that the property is positively squeaky clean.

A Fresh Coat of Paint Every 5 Years Minimum

A fresh coat of paint does wonders in terms of making property looking almost brand new. Most opt for a light tan colour with light blues or whites in the bathroom. This article here makes some suggestions on colours that attract tenants.

Replace Fixtures

Some fixtures that might need replacing:

  • Sticky door handles
  • Lighting dating back earlier than 1990
  • Blinds with missing slats
  • Faucets that drip
  • Cabinets that have lost their finish

These inexpensive details help to update property, make it more appealing, and reduce potential maintence down the line.

Minor Landscaping & Major Benefits

  • Whilst less important, the exterior is usually the first thing that a potential tenant sees so it needs to be maintained. This includes:Mowing and edging grass before a viewing
  • Mulch can be put down on flowerbeds to give them a healthy appearance
  • Gardens appear bigger when bushes or trees are cut back to ensure the full size can be seen
  • Any strong points like a lake should not be obstructed by bushes etc
  • The garden should be essentially safe and secure so check gate hinges and fences, ensuring pavement slabs and concrete are solid and sturdy.

Whilst it doesn’t have to be perfect, the exterior should be clean and safe. Let the tenant’s imagination do the rest.

Case Studies

Refurbishment of a two bedroom flat in need of an uplift and modernisation. Rent increased from 460pw to 615pw and Property value increased from approx. £100K-150K Read More Here

Refurbishment of a two bedroom split level flat suffering with damp in the basement level. Rent increased from £350pw to £500pw and Property value increased by approx. 150K Read More Here


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