While looking for a home to lease, renters tend to have a list of requirements that their new home should meet. These include the total number of bedrooms, total square footage, storage options, pet options, and similar checklist items. Once these basic needs are met, the next thing people look at is the kitchen. There’s not much that can be done to a bedroom or living room to enhance its appeal. However, upgraded kitchens will not only get your property leased faster, but will allow you to charge more for rent each month. Whether your investment property’s kitchen is in desperate need of an overhaul or could simply use a couple of upgrades, here is where you’ll find the best return.
In many cases, cabinets can be refaced to provide a complete facelift rather than having to tear out the entire assembly and start over. As long as there is no serious rot, water damage, pest infestations, mold, or other types of fatal damage, consider refacing to save serious cash. On the other hand, cheap particle board and other low-grade materials aren’t usually candidates for refacing and will need to be replaced once they’ve deteriorated.
Whichever route you take, consider replacing or refacing with all-white cabinetry. Not only will this make the kitchen area look larger, cleaner, and more inviting, it’s also the best neutral color for this area. If your kitchen is large enough, consider a built-in or mobile island for added surface area and storage. Most refacing companies can make additions that will fit right in with your existing cabinets.
The cost of natural stone has come down over the years, making it more affordable for everyone. One of the best options for a rental property is quartz, created by combining natural minerals with durable resins. Quartz is stain and scratch-resistant and considered to be environmentally friendly as it’s made by utilizing what would otherwise be waste stone. Modern quartz manufacturing has produced more sophisticated patterns, so it’s no longer the “vanilla” choice in stone countertops.
Natural stone such as granite may also be a good choice. However, granite is not quite as durable as quartz. Avoid wood and butcher-block styles, even though they may be trendy at the moment. These materials stain easily and are often mistaken for a cutting board and gouged up. Tile should be avoided as it’s not only outdated but also high-maintenance. Skip the Formica and laminate as well since neither is particularly durable nor pleasing to the eye.
Because they are used virtually every day, appliances are certainly a sticking point in the kitchen. Most properties are required to provide a range and a refrigerator, but adding a dishwasher will be a significant bonus as most people expect to find one in the kitchen these days. Microwaves are another optional addition, but even a countertop model will be a draw for new tenants.
Ideally, all appliances should be in matching colors. However, it may be too costly to replace working appliances simply because the colors do not match. In that case, be sure to select matching colors when the appliances are eventually replaced. Spotless, shining stainless finishes were the go-to choice for many years, but other finishes are becoming more common—and more affordable—in kitchens. Black stainless is one of the newest additions to the kitchen palette, along with matte-steel finishes. On the other hand, traditional black appliances are making a comeback in the kitchen. That’s helping to save the budgets of homeowners and investors who seek to create beautiful, functional kitchens that are meant to last.
Flooring materials are not typically a major selling point, but an old, outdated floor in disrepair will undoubtedly be a turnoff. In the kitchen, a dirty old floor can make the space feel perpetually dirty—something that’s troublesome where food is prepared! In general, the flooring should flow with the color scheme in the kitchen and be made of water-safe materials that won’t wear or warp from water hitting the floor.
No matter how careful your tenants are, dishwasher failures and leaky sinks can often spell disaster for high-end flooring in the kitchen, especially wood and laminate. If wood floors match your aesthetic, consider ceramic or porcelain tile that is made to look like wood. This will provide the durability and water-resistance we’ve come to expect from these materials.
The Best Return on Your Upgrades
When purchasing and updating an investment property, the goal is always to provide a comfortable place for your tenants to live while also maximizing the income produced by the property. Kitchens will always be the room in the home that will make or break a potential tenant’s opinion of the unit—they will also always be one of the biggest consumers of your upgrade budget. When you choose durable, high-quality materials as you update, you’ll be sure to get a long life from the products and the best return from your efforts.
For help finding the right tenants and managing the renters you already have, talk to the experts at Bay Property Management Group Philadelphia. We’re broker-owned and locally operated, making us exclusively experienced in serving the needs of investors and tenants throughout the Baltimore, Maryland, and Philadelphia area.