Tenants in Florida are looking for affordable rental homes that provide value, security, and responsive management. You’ll find that most of your residents are really looking for an attractive, welcoming place to live that’s safe and well-maintained.
What else can you do to attract and retain the best tenants?
You can make the space more aesthetically pleasing. Cosmetic updates and upgrades can help.
There’s no need to invest in a full renovation.
Instead, take some time to investigate what tenants are really looking for when it comes to cosmetics and aesthetics. Bamboo flooring and marble bathtubs are lovely, but there’s probably not a market for that in and around the community where you are renting a home, unless you’re focused on high-end rental properties.
Let’s take a look at the cosmetic upgrades that renters really care about. This will give you a good guide for making improvements and renovations at your rental home that are meaningful and cost effective.
First, Get to Know the Market and Your Competition
Before you begin making those cosmetic upgrades and improvements that may seem very important right now, spend some time getting to know the needs and preferences of the tenants who are looking for homes. Who are you trying to attract?
You need to start with a good foundation. For example, are you providing an in-unit washer and dryer? A home that has granite counters but not a private laundry space is a home with odd priorities. Every property owner is likely to provide fresh paint on the walls before a new tenant moves in. Why not go a step further and paint the front door or the mailbox? This is the type of detail that’s going to make a difference. When other rental homes in your neighborhood don’t have a freshly painted door that really stands out, your rental home is going to stand out.
The idea is to get to know your market really well, and then to decide where your property fits into it.
The best way to give your property a competitive advantage is by studying what other homes have to offer.
Take a look at similar rentals in your neighborhood. Are they offering upgrades and updates that you have not considered? Maybe they have energy-efficient appliances. That’s something that matters to tenants more and more as energy costs continue to rise. Or perhaps there’s some updated technology installed, like video doorbells or smart home wiring.
Study the market and the offerings in other properties before you prioritize your own cosmetic upgrades. This will help you make decisions on what you should prioritize. If every home has a tile backsplash in the kitchen, for example, it will be very hard to attract renters without one of your own.
Flooring Makes a Great Improvement in Rental Homes
Tenants care about flooring.
They care about how it’s cleaned and maintained.
They really care about how it looks.
Knowing this about the tenants who are looking for great properties to rent, perhaps the best cosmetic upgrade you can make is an improved set of floors throughout your property.
What do upgraded floors look like?
They don’t look like old carpet.
Rental property carpets can get old and tired really quickly. We know that for most rental property owners, the standard practice is to steam clean those carpets during every tenant turnover. You can do better than that, especially since most rental property carpeting will have to be replaced every five or six years. Eventually, cleaning them won’t be enough.
Consider a hard surface flooring instead of carpet. This is a fantastic upgrade because not only does it speak to the cosmetic factor, but also the functional factor. And, while it will require an investment from you, it doesn’t have to be completely out of your budget. Hardwood floors are attractive but they’re also pricy. So, find something that’s a little closer to your own budget. You can find a high-quality laminate that looks great. This upgrade provides cosmetic benefits and several other perks:
- It looks more modern.
- It’s better for prospective tenants who have allergies or pets. There aren’t any fibers to trap dog hair and dust. Those allergens won’t get caught in carpet fibers and it’s much easier to remove odors.
- Hard floors are easier for tenants to clean and maintain.
- You’ll get a longer lifespan out of hard surface flooring than you will from carpet, so your replacement costs go down per unit.
Better flooring brings in better rents and attracts better tenants. This should be your first cosmetic upgrade if it’s in your budget. Look for ways to offer high quality flooring. Maybe you’ll leave carpet in the bedrooms, but common areas can really look great when there’s hard surface flooring in place.
Walls and Ceilings Attract Tenant Attention
Now that you’ve made some cosmetic improvements with your flooring, it’s time to think about your walls and your ceilings. Windows, too. Focus on paint and light. Pull out those tired, bent blinds that are probably caked with dust.
Here’s what we mean:
- Freshen up the Paint on Your Walls
Fresh paint is always a good way to make cosmetic updates to your rental property, and tenants are going to expect it. Instead of doing touch-ups here and there, paint the whole wall before a new tenant moves in. Keep the shade neutral, but avoid going with the tired, off-white color that sometimes makes a room look bland and boring. Consider something like taupe or gray instead. This will set your property apart, and still match any décor and furniture that your tenant may have. Walls with something other than the institutional off-white color found in most rental homes also look better in your photographs when your rental property is listed online.
- Improve your Lighting
Upgrade your indoor and outdoor lighting to provide some extra cosmetic appeal. Inside, tenants will especially appreciate bright lights in the kitchen and the bathrooms. If your home has a lot of natural light, play that up. Otherwise, consider energy-efficient bulbs in overhead lights and maybe some unique lighting elements that provide something aesthetic that will attract new residents and retain existing residents. Make sure the lighting matches the hardware on drawers, sinks, and cupboards.
Outdoor lighting is critical for safety purposes, and it can also serve your aesthetic appeal. Porch lights can be pretty, and you want to make sure your outdoor space is not only well-lit but an attractive place for your tenants and their guests to gather.
- Window treatments
We see a lot of those cheap plastic blinds in rental homes, and you’ll surely agree that they’re just ugly. They’re also difficult to maintain because they’re easily bent, torn, and destroyed. Let’s avoid them. When you’re looking for cosmetic repairs that tenants care about, we can tell you that they don’t care about those blinds at all. Replace them by leaving the windows empty. Tenants can hang curtains if they want. Or, you can create an attractive space that commands more rent with horizontal wood blinds or linen shades that easily pull up and down. While you’re at the windows, make sure they are in good condition, lock properly, and insulate your home from drafts and insects.
Cosmetic Upgrades in the Kitchen and Bathrooms
Kitchens and bathrooms matter the most when tenants are looking for their next rental property.
These are fun spaces for upgrades and improvements because there are a lot of options.
When it comes to cosmetics in the kitchen, make sure the kitchen space is a fun and attractive place for people to gather. Tenants will want to feel comfortable there, and it’s worth your money to invest in making improvements that are visually appealing. Appliances, for example, should not be rusty, old, and mismatched. You don’t necessarily have to install stainless appliances. But, you do want the refrigerator and the stove to match.
Provide a clean and welcoming space in the kitchen that is attractive and modern. Consider installing tile or ceramic backsplashes and new faucets. Replace drawer pulls and cabinet hardware. Even lighting will make a big impact if you can install some good hanging lights instead of that industrial overhead lighting.
Bathrooms need to look clean. And, they shouldn’t require a lot of maintenance from tenants or from you. While bathrooms are a lot smaller and more functional than emotional, you should still pay attention to bathroom upgrades when you can.
Change any outdated lighting or chipped mirrors. Consider putting in some new fiberglass around the shower and tub. No one wants to take a shower in a stained and worn bathtub. Tile is great for a bathroom upgrade as well.
These are some of the best and easiest cosmetic updates that will grab the attention of good tenants.
While these general recommendations can be helpful, your rental property is unique. We’d love the opportunity to take a look at what you’re offering now, and to make some suggestions on what might make your home more attractive to tenants. Contact us at Anchor Down Real Estate and Rentals.