Is your tax return burning a hole in your pocket? Smart investors turn returns into more investments, and one way to do that is to add value to your investment property. By making regular updates to the home, you’ll be able to attract great tenants and command better rents.
Before you fire up the mood board, have a think about how you can renovate smartly. There are certain things tenants look for when evaluating a rental property, and others that they don’t really care about. In addition, you’ll need to make sure that your renovations are low maintenance and hard wearing. This is not the time to add textured silk to your walls.
If you need some extra advice, have a chat to your property manager. They see hundreds of properties and thousands of tenants, making them a true fount of wisdom. They’ll be able to guide you in understanding what adds value and what doesn’t.
Here’s where to concentrate your efforts.
Just like home owners, tenants want a kitchen in good condition. It doesn’t have to be state-of-the-art, but modern is definitely better than vintage. A decent oven and stove top should be considered a minimum, and a good range hood will help avoid grease stains building up on the ceiling.
If you’re replacing tired old bench tops, there are several great options on the market. Look for surfaces that are heat- and scratch-resistant, such as good quality laminate or engineered stone. Stay away from timber, which requires more maintenance than most tenants are willing to do and can swell and crack if neglected.
A nice modern bathroom holds a lot of appeal. Save the spa accessories for your own house, though. In your rental property, it’s enough to make sure that the fittings are nicely presented and in good condition. Save money on the renovation by maintaining the placement of your fixtures where possible. However, if you have room to add a walk in shower instead of a shower-over-bath, it’s definitely a plus. They’re more accessible and easier to keep clean.
If you only have the cash for a few small improvements, consider adding some modern conveniences. A dishwasher, washing machine and dryer are all excellent value-adds that can help you stand out from the crowd. New appliances are especially attractive to tenants, who don’t want the hassle of having to organise repairs when older models break down.
4. Climate control
Air conditioning is becoming a must in today’s climate. Unless you’re renting a property south of Hobart, your tenants will appreciate some relief from the summer heat. Reverse cycle air conditioning is becoming a minimum expectation for rental properties, and will allow you to charge a little more in rent. If you install a split system in the living area, consider adding ceiling fans to the bedrooms as well.
Throw out the threadbare carpets in favour of hardwood floors for a look that’s attractive, modern and low maintenance. If you’re lucky enough to have original timber floors, it can be very economical to sand and polish them. Otherwise, check out the huge range of floating floors on the market.
Tile is also a winner for rental properties. It lends the home a clean, fresh look, is easy to maintain and suits bathrooms, kitchens and living spaces alike.
In general, tenants appreciate convenience and comfort. Even little improvements like adding power points, secure screen doors or an outside light can make the difference between a tenant who stays and one who moves on as soon as they can. And of course, any improvement you make is tax deductible.