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7 Budget-Friendly Ways to Enhance Your Rental Property

Written by hcmpm

December 3, 2015


If you are strapped for cash, time or both, it can be difficult to get your property rent-ready. Here are 7 ways to freshen up your rental and get it rented quickly.

7 Budget-Friendly Ways to Enhance Your Rental Property

Start With Curb Appeal

What does the outside of your property look like? Dead grass, dying trees and scrubby weeds don’t say “welcome home.” Some plants and flowers can take your yard from tired to lively, quickly and inexpensively. Purple fountain grass rapidly grows to about three feet wide and tall. It’s a lovely, rich shade of purple and is drought resistant, which means if you or your tenant forgets to water it, it isn’t going to die. Snapdragons are another great option because they are a great way to add color and are also drought resistant.

If you have an ugly chain link fence, I suggest morning glories since they’re a quick-growing vine with beautiful leaves and colorful flowers that open in the morning. They re-seed themselves and need almost no water.

Color Those Walls

A fresh coat of paint looks clean and crisp, especially if it is done right. White or cream used to be the go-to paint color for landlords, but adding a splash of neutral color can help your property stand out. Light to medium grey or tan creates a richer, more contemporary look, while costing you nothing extra. The smaller the property, the lighter you should go. Dark colors tend to suck the space out of a room.

One way to save on paint is to buy the five-gallon buckets. It costs less per gallon than individual gallons. Another way to save is to shop the “oops” paint section. These are mis-tinted gallons of paint that are sold at a steep discount.

Paint is absolutely your best bet for brightening up a property on the cheap — just make sure you use neutral colors. It would be disappointing to spend a lot of time painting, only to lose renters because the vivid paint you put on the walls clashed with their furniture. Remember, you aren’t living there. Choose colors that appeal to the widest array of renters.

Freshen Up the Kitchen

A lot of rental properties have an older style oak cabinet in the kitchen. When clean, they don’t look bad. Shiny or dull brass handles or knobs make them look outdated and can bring the whole kitchen down. The big box stores sell understated, classy door hardware in bulk packages of 50 for $45.

Do you have a backsplash? Tiling is a very inexpensive way to brighten up a room, and I have seen quality glass/stone mosaic tile at Costco for less than $5/sq ft. Another inexpensive option is to use beadboard or wainscoting. Cut it to fit the space and paint with a high gloss paint for ease in cleanup. You can pick up some 4′ x 8′ sheets for about $20.

Update Your Light Fixtures

Shiny brass was super popular back in the ’80s, but it’s horribly ugly now. Swapping out an old light fixture is a fairly easy process, and your room can only look better afterwards. Keep in mind that all finishes throughout a room — and ideally throughout the house — should match, so if you’re swapping out the brass light, make sure the door handles, etc. are changed out as well.

Don’t Forget the Bathroom

The old, grungy shower head may still work, but a newer one will look better. A high-efficiency shower head can save water and money. Changing out a shower head isn’t very difficult; you simply unscrew the old one and twist the new one on. (Turn off the water before you start, and make sure it’s on tight!)

Paint Cabinets

I’m not a fan of oak cabinets from the ’80s. I think oak is ugly in general; however, it is a very sturdy building material. Those cabinets are probably in great shape and why spend money you don’t have to? If they just don’t do it for you, paint them.

Check Out the ReStore

Habitat for Humanity raises money for their program through their Discount Home Improvement stores called Habitat for Humanity ReStores. They sell new and gently used home improvement products at significantly discounted prices and can be a great source for unique items to update your home. Plus, you’re helping out a great cause!

A Little Improvement Can Go a Long Way

Walk around your rental property and take a hard look. What stands out as the biggest eyesore? Bring a friend with an objective eye and ask for honest feedback.

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