Competition in the rental industry has many owners looking to improve their odds of attracting a quality renter. However, a full-scale renovation is costly, and not all improvements truly add value. In a market where profit margins are tight, to begin with, extensive renovations could be financially damaging in more ways than one. Thankfully, some simple home upgrades would benefit any owner. Join us below as we discover top home improvement ideas on a budget along with a few renovations to avoid as to protect your financial well-being.
8 Budget-Friendly Home Improvement Ideas
When it comes to rental home improvements, getting a healthy return on investment while appealing to a vast pool of renters is vital. However, not every improvement is the right choice, and landlords must evaluate the local market before making costly decisions. Let’s review the top eight home improvement ideas on a budget below!
- Add Office Space
- Replace Cabinet Doors
- Fresh Paint
- Boost Curb Appeal
- Upgrade the Flooring
- Add a Backsplash, New Fixtures, or Lighting
- Install a Washer and Dryer
- Invest in Home Security
Add Office Space
Average Cost: $100 to $1000
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many employees working remotely from home. Additionally, children must still take part in distance learning throughout many local school districts. Therefore, consider adding or staging flex space that can be used for education or as an office. Dual-use areas are best, and adding an office does not need to cost a fortune. So, offer added built-in storage and a fold-out desk as a bonus to potential renters. That said, beware of converting usable living space such as a bedroom to a dedicated office. Reducing bedroom counts can hurt the overall rental rate, but anyone can benefit from added storage and flex space.
Replace Cabinet Doors
Average Cost: $1000 to $3000
Rental properties experience higher turnover plus more wear and tear than traditional owner-occupied home and kitchen upgrades provide an immediate boost in rental value. Therefore, kitchen cabinets can take a beating. However, in many cases, the cabinet itself is in great shape. So, why not swap out the cabinet doors as a cost-effective alternative to total replacement. Whether they are damaged, or you just need a more updated look, changing cabinet doors and hardware creates a large visual impact at a fraction of the cost.
Average Cost: $100 to $1500
Never underestimate the impact a fresh coat of paint can contribute towards brightening up a space. In a rental home, walls get scuffed from moving furniture, holes from hanging art, and general wear that shows its age quickly. These issues can be patched to a point, but eventually, that just will not cut it. Therefore, painting offers one of the highest returns of all of the home improvement ideas on a budget. Whether you choose to paint yourself or hire a professional contractor, it is well worth the investment.
Pro Tip: Looking for the latest rental home design trends for 2021? Check out our blog!
Boost Curb Appeal
Average Cost: $50 to $500
The outside of the rental property is the first thing that prospects see, and landlords have one chance to make an impression. So, check out these outdoor home improvement ideas on a budget below!
- Pressure Washing – Exterior brick, siding, or stone can be a hotspot for algae and mildew growth. So, spruce of the exterior appeal with a pressure wash! Whether you rent a unit, already own one, or hire a company, this is an inexpensive way to make the rental look good as new.
- Add Some Landscaping – A little fresh color and trimming are very effective at capturing a rental prospect’s attention. A well-maintained exterior gives the tenants a preview of what to expect inside the home, and it shows that you care as a landlord. However, there is no reason to go overboard as some simple perennial flowers and the time to shape existing hedges are all you need.
Upgrade the Flooring
Average Cost: $1500 to $10000
Typically, landlords believe that carpeting is the cheaper option for rental property flooring. However, consider the long-run cost of frequent deep cleaning and replacement expenses owners are likely to incur. Instead, invest in a more durable option such as hardwood, laminate, vinyl, or tile. Still out of the budget? Consider upgrading the flooring in high traffic areas such as the living room and kitchen while retaining carpet in the bedroom areas. Not only will better quality flooring hold up better and save money, but it also increases the home’s rental value.
Add a Backsplash, New Fixtures, or Lighting
Average Cost: $200 to $2000
Adding new fixtures is one of the best home improvement ideas on a budget. For a moderately low cost, property owners can transform and update the look of a space. Check out these suggestions below –
- Add a Kitchen Backsplash
- Upgrade Dated Hardware on Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinetry
- Install Modern Lighting Fixtures with Energy Efficient LED Bulbs
- Swap Out Work Faucets for a More Contemporary Look
- Install a Ceiling Fan
Remember, any upgrade landlords make should shy away from personal or bold styling. Instead, stick to neutral features with timeless design for the broadest appeal. Therefore, this allows renters a blank slate to insert their own personality while avoiding trendy design fads.
Install a Washer and Dryer
Average Cost: $400 to $1500
As a landlord, installing an in-unit washer and dryer is a valuable and convenient amenity renters are willing to pay for. In fact, on average, the rental rate for a unit with a washer-dryer is around $25 to $75 more than one without. That makes this one of the most profitable home improvement ideas on a budget. Furthermore, check holiday sales at retailers or look for well-maintained used units on online marketplaces for added savings.
Invest in Home Security
Average Cost: $150 to $3000
Everyone wants to feel safe and secure in their home, and tenants are no different. So, a huge selling point for rentals is added security. Whether owners utilize Wi-Fi cameras they can install themselves or employ an alarm system specialist, this is one home upgrade everyone will appreciate. Furthermore, the added security serves as a deterrent to squatters and thieves that may take advantage of a vacant unit between tenants. Check out some of the budget-friendly home security options on Amazon or other online outlets! However, ensure the rental agreement stipulates that the tenant is responsible for any fees or damage related to a home security system.
Top 3 Rental Home Improvements That Do Not Add Value
Not every upgrade or renovation is well-suited to a rental property. In fact, there are several improvements that not only cost a lot but do not add any rental value. Continue reading below to determine the top three rental home improvements that do not provide a healthy return on investment.
- Inconsistent High-End Upgrades – Updates are great, but not if they are inconsistent throughout the home. For example, if landlords invest time and money into a brand-new kitchen, but the rest of the house is stuck in the ’70s, it will not appeal to renters. Instead, owners should carefully select minor improvements throughout the home that provide maximum impact for minimal cost.
- Overbuilding for the Neighborhood – Thinking of converting a garage to added living space? How about finishing off a basement or building a sunroom? Before landlords hammer the first nail, it is vital to research the local rental market thoroughly. Especially as the industry still recovers from the pandemic, these improvements will likely not be something owners can recoup in the monthly rental rate.
- Invisible Improvements – Some improvements are viewed as assets to buyers, but not necessarily renters. These upgrades are known as “invisible improvements” and can be things such as adding insulation, installing a new furnace, or updating the HVAC unit. Therefore, these will not net the added profit landlords are looking for and instead should be considered regular home maintenance.
How to Maximize Marketing Your Property’s New Upgrades
Whether you need home improvement ideas on a budget or help effectively marketing your rental to prospective tenants, a property manager can help! Dedicated property management companies have the industry expertise, technology, and connections to minimize vacancy and find a qualified renter at a reasonable rate.
Bay Property Management Group is the area’s leading full-service rental industry expert, with more than 4,000 units currently under management. Our team can guide owners in upgrade decisions to improve ROI, setting the right rent price, efficiently generating leads, and thoroughly screening all applicants to find the best option. Once rented, we step in to handle all day-to-day operations and maintenance, leaving owners with peace of mind. Give us a call today for a free no-obligation rental home analysis.