Some owners are under the impression that even in a tight rental housing market they should be able to get “top dollar” for a home which has not been maintained. By “not maintained”, I mean the following:
Thread bare, stained, or multiple colors/types of carpeting throughout the house
Indoor or outdoor surfaces in need of paint
Cracked, chipped, or stained counter-tops
Broken or tired looking appliances
Old corroded faucets
Broken cabinet doors/hardware
Torn screens/screen doors
Even in a tight market, only the best maintained and upgraded homes will command top dollar and typically from the best renters. In other words, your property will be reflected in the quality of tenant it attracts. A property that is not maintained will sit on the market longer than you anticipated.
Curb appeal is huge!
If you can’t see the front of the house through the overgrown landscape, cut it back, shape, or removed it. If the outside of the house has not been painted in years, it probably needs painting! This will also give you the chance to use a more neutral or updated color and trim.
Lay down some bark mulch in the bare areas of your garden. Not only does it look nicer, but will help retain moisture around the plants, shrubs, flowers, and trees. In fact, this is especially a good idea under our current drought conditions.
Make sure the entry way leading into your house looks inviting. Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door, remove any obstacles on the ground, and if the screen door is damaged, replace it.
Flooring, Flooring, Flooring!
If it’s time to replace that carpeting, I recommend putting down laminate flooring. Yes, it is a bit more expensive up front, but will save you thousands over the course of time. Use carpeting for bedrooms and the second story, but all common areas (entry way, living room, den, dining room, hallways) should be laminate. These are the areas that have the highest traffic and where stains find carpet.
While I don’t advocate using “high end” materials and appliances in your rental, you can create charm and ambiance by using much less expensive materials and products that will still provide both good looks and durability.
Remember, this is your investment. Take care of it. You may be eligible to deduct much of maintenance and upgrades on your rental. Please consult a tax professional.