One of the most overlooked ways to earn more on your Killeen rental property is upgrades. When you make minor improvements and cost-effective upgrades, you’re not only increasing your rental value. You’re also attracting better tenants. You’re retaining those tenants. And, you’re contributing to the appreciating value of your asset.
When we talk about renovations, property owners get nervous. But, we’re not talking about extravagant and overpriced upgrades. No one needs to install marble floors in the living room or skylights in the kitchen. Instead, you can focus on the cost-effective renovations that tenants really want.
Every rental home comes with its own opportunities for improvements and increased value. Here are five general fixes that don’t require a huge investment from you but will earn you more money in the short and long term.
1. Curb Appeal Creates Top Dollar Killeen Rental Homes
Let’s start with making your Killeen rental property as attractive as it can be. This will ensure a large pool of interested tenants as well as higher rental values. When prospective tenants look at your marketing photos, you want them to see a clean, attractive property that they’d like to live in. When they show up to see the property in person, you want them to imagine moving right in.
A welcoming and inviting exterior is a strong start.
Look at the lawn or the outside area. You don’t want any debris, any trash that’s blowing in the wind, or a collection of cars, tires, and furniture cluttering the front of the property. You may need to cut the lawn, weed some flower beds, and trim bushes or trees. Tenants in single-family homes will want attractive lawns that don’t require a lot of maintenance from them. If you’re renting out a duplex or a multi-family property, make sure the entryway and the common areas are clean, organized, and not a gathering spot for personal property or garbage.
Take a look at the front door. Could it use a fresh coat of paint? Maybe it could benefit from new hardware such as clear, bold numbers or a shiny doorknob. If the door knocker is rusting or loose, replace that as well.
Lighting on the exterior of your property is also something that deserves an update from time to time. A bright porch light will provide safety and security to your tenants and your property. It will also be pretty at night. Motion lights can be a positive upgrade when it comes to exterior lighting as well.
Consider power washing the property before you begin showing it. This will cost you close to nothing (especially if you own or can borrow a power washer), and it will make a big difference in how the property looks and rents.
The curb appeal is your opportunity to make a good first impression. It’s worth your time and your money to provide an attractive, welcoming exterior to your home.
2. In-Unit Laundry Raises Rents
One rental home amenity that tenants especially appreciate is in-unit laundry. Having to drag clothing and linens to a Laundromat or even to a communal laundry room in a building can be difficult and expensive. When you provide a washing machine and a dryer inside your rental home, you won’t have trouble attracting and retaining tenants.
In-unit laundry is easy, convenient, and far more private. Tenants love that they can wash anything at any time. They don’t have to wait for a dryer to open up or worry that their clothes will be removed from a machine.
There will be an initial expense for you when you purchase and install the washer and dryer. You’ll also have to maintain those appliances throughout the tenancy. However, you can earn higher rents and your property will be more competitive, especially if other rental homes in your market are not offering in-unit laundry.
Washers and dryers are an excellent way to increase rental value and bring in tenants. When you have a small space to rent out, consider the stackable models that can even fit into a kitchen. If you’re renting out a larger single-family home, invest in the full-size washers and dryers.
This is a fairly cheap fix that can be easily crossed off your renovation list.
3. Give Killeen Tenants a Gourmet Kitchen
Your kitchen is likely where you will investment most of your renovation dollars. That’s because it’s an important room for most tenants. It’s the first place they’ll look when they enter your home or visit your listing online.
Kitchens serve a functional purpose; they’re where coffee is made in the morning and dinners are prepared in the evening. They hold the stove and the refrigerator and the food. They need to have storage and light and working appliances.
Kitchens are also emotional. This is the space where discussions are had, plans are made, and tenants gather with family and friends. Prospective tenants are going to put a lot of weight on how the kitchen looks before they rent a home. The state of your kitchen will absolutely impact what you can charge in rent.
If there are updates that can be made to increase storage, counter space, or seating – make them. Tenants will appreciate a pantry, a breakfast bar, and space for both trash and recycling. Check the condition of your appliances. If you’ve had to repair a refrigerator two or three times in the last few years, it might be time to replace it rather than fix it again. You also want your appliances to match each other. While stainless steel would be especially attractive to tenants, it’s probably not necessary. You do, however, want to create a clean and uniform look to your kitchen.
Beyond the appliances, think about:
- A backsplash behind the sink or the stove
- Updated fixtures like drawer pulls
- Freshly painted cabinets that are free from chips and scratches
- Shiny faucets
All of these details will get the attention of good tenants. Those tenants will be willing to pay more for a kitchen that stands out from others on the market.
4. Consider Hard Surface Flooring Instead of Carpet
Carpet is pretty standard in Killeen rental homes, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep tearing out and installing the same carpet. It’s messy. It gets worn quickly. It’s so standard that you could probably find it in a hundred other rental properties.
So, why do we keep using it?
Forget the carpet and think about upgrading to hard surface flooring. Some tenants still like to have carpet in the bedrooms, so if you’re committed to keeping carpet, the bedrooms are the best places to have it.
If you’re willing to upgrade the common living areas, however, you’ll find that your rental value climbs and your tenants are thrilled with the look of hard floors and the easy cleaning and maintenance.
It’s less maintenance for you as an owner, too, especially if you choose a durable surface. You’ll find these floors have a longer lifespan than carpet. You won’t have to replace them every few years.
Hard surface floors are cleaner as well. Those carpet fibers trap allergens and dirt. Pet odors are difficult to eliminate. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on hardwoods. Look for a laminate wood or tile that’s cost-effective and durable.
5. Provide Updated Technology
Killeen tenants love technology. They’re looking for homes that allow them to tap into good Wi-Fi as well as smart home features. Almost everyone has an Alexa or a Siri device waiting on instructions. Tenants want to be able to download apps that sync their phones to doorbells, appliances, and thermostats.
Investing in this type of technology can be expensive, but if you’re selective, you can provide one or two upgrades that will make a real difference. Video doorbells, for example, are extremely popular. They allow tenants to see when packages are delivered or screen who is at the door before they answer it. If you’re going to provide one technology upgrade – consider a video doorbell.
These five renovations are cost-effective and likely to increase what you earn and improve the quality of tenants you attract.
When should you make these improvements?
Renovations are best done during tenant turnover periods. You don’t want to spend too much time on them, however, because a vacant property that’s under construction does not earn you any rental income.
Get your best vendors and contractors lined up well before your intended start date. Set a budget and stick to it. Use durable materials that are more likely to last for many years, so you can avoid renovations every time you turn the property over. The longer the lifespan of any improvements, the more profitable you’ll be.
We’d be happy to tell you which renovations and upgrades would be especially valuable for your property. Reach out to us at Shine Residential Management, and we’ll provide our best advice.
A property management company based in Harker Heights, Shine Residential Management cares for exceptional single-family homes throughout Central Texas, including in Killeen, Temple, Belton, Copperas Cove, Salado, and Georgetown.