How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck when Upgrading Your Rental Property

By Silvia Englert, General Manager at

If you own rental property, you want to get the highest return on the money you invest in the property. Deciding on the rental price and what improvements to make to the rental all affect the ROI and can be a difficult task. The time period between one tenant moving out and another tenant moving in offers the perfect opportunity for landlords to update and improve their rentals to maximize return on investment. To make your rental stand out in your neighborhood and attract many “good” tenants that are willing to pay “top” dollar in rent, you should consider making some updates before putting the property back on the market. Here are a few ways you can upgrade your property and get a nice ROI without spending an arm and a leg.

Give the Kitchen a Facelift

The kitchen is often the most important room to the future tenant as people tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. A facelift does not mean ripping everything out. Replacing old black and white appliances with stainless steel Energy Star certified appliances is always a huge hit. If the cabinets are in bad shape, re-facing them could be an economical decision. Even just replacing the hardware with brushed nickel knobs and pulls can give the kitchen a whole new look. Dependent on your budget, a solid surface countertop might be another way to give that kitchen an updated look that will last a long time! These kitchen improvements will net you more money each month and increase the value of your property, should you choose to sell it at a later point.

Install an Energy Star Certified Washer and Dryer

Most tenants do not like buying washers and dryers as they are expensive purchases and are difficult to move. However, going to a laundromat is expensive as well and very time consuming for the tenant. Installing an energy efficient washer and dryer in your property will attract more renters and can increase your rent by as much as $100/month!

Replace Old Carpet with Laminate or Hardwood Flooring

Replacing old carpet with hard surface flooring will not only attract tenants and save you lots of money in carpet cleaning costs but it also gives you the opportunity to advertise your property as pet-friendly. Hardwood floors would be great but laminate is a more economical option. In the long term this upgrade will add hundreds of dollars annually to your ROI.

“Freshen Up” the Bathroom

Another item on most renters must-have list are updated bathrooms. If you don’t have the budget for a full upgrade, the bare minimum – new faucets, showerheads, and fixtures – can instantly give that bathroom a “newer” look. Even new knobs on the cabinets and a fresh coat of paint can make an “old” bathroom” look more modern and fresh!

Replace Old Appliances with Energy Star Efficient Models

Energy Star appliances can save a tenant a substantial amount of money on a monthly basis. Replacing a refrigerator and an outdated HVAC system can reduce energy costs by as much as 20 percent. Make sure when you replace appliances to advertise that in your rental listing. Tenants are willing to pay more rent if they know that their energy costs will be lower.

Make Some Aesthetic Improvements and Keep it Neutral

Cosmetic upgrades can attract more potential tenants and can increase the rental income of your property significantly. A fresh coat of paint and some new light fixtures will show tenants that you are taking care of your property. Make sure when making cosmetic upgrades to keep the colors and design light and neutral so tenants can imagine giving the space a personal touch.

When upgrading your rental property it is important to only spend money on things that will impress your tenants and get you the most bang for your buck. Also make sure the improvements are not over the top and in line with the “quality” of the rental while keeping the neighborhood and prospective tenants in mind. Stick to your budget and put your money where your prospective tenants will appreciate it most!

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This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.