If you’re considering renting a property out or want to increase your rental return, there are a number of ways you can maximise the value of your investment property.
Here’s our list of eight fixes that can boost your rental returns and even help to secure better tenants, that give you maximum return for the least amount of effort. Handily many of these are DIY options, if you’re inclined to take on the job yourself.
1. Street appeal.
The first step in adding value to your investment property is making sure that it’s something prospective tenants would stop to look at in the first place.
Your house may be pristine on the inside, but if it looks like it’ll take a whipper snipper to get into it, people won’t bother investigating and this will drive down the value.
So cut and trim the lawn, prune the greenery and do what you can to make everything from the street to the door look neat and inviting.
You should also consider whether the whole facade of the house could do with freshening up.
Cement rendering is quite trendy, and with timber features makes for a crisp, modern look.
Truth be told, painting your front door in a bold, inviting colour is a super simple, one-step action to make your house seem like it’s getting good TLC.
So walk to the end of your property’s driveway, turn around and take it all in. Is your property eye-catching? Is it neat? Does it make you want to come on in? Tidying up your front yard and your façade is a great first step to add value to your rental.
Scuffs and marks on walls very quickly make a house seem battered and unkempt. ‘Lived in’ isn’t high on many renters’ list of desirable qualities.
Filling in any cracks and holes in walls or doors will be an obvious first item on the agenda, but just as important in raising your house’s value is a fresh coat of paint. A lick of paint on the walls will make an older home seem new, neat and well looked after.
When choosing colour schemes for internal walls, remember that ‘out there’ colours, will appeal to a narrower crowd, so stick to neutral colours (not a stark white or harsh colours). That being said, the trend these days is to have a feature wall in bedrooms. Something which complements the house’s theme, maybe something textured like grasscloth wallpaper, will keep things interesting and add some serious appeal.
One of the most influential factors in creating an immediate emotive reaction is a home’s floor. Old, dusty, stained, ragged carpet makes a home seen tired and worn, and immediately makes it seem less tidy. So if your carpet is beyond the help of a good steam cleaning, consider whether it should go altogether.
Throwing away and replacing old carpet doesn’t just look good, it can improve the air quality, lighten the atmosphere and make a house generally better to live in.
If you happen find some old floorboards hidden underneath, it may be a cheaper and better option to restore them, instead of covering them up again. Without spending too much money, a bit of sanding and some oil will drastically transform your property. Renters just love the timeless, strong, clean look and feel of polished floorboards!
Have you ever walked into a chilly, dim house and suddenly thought you’d never know joy again? Lighting is crucially important to a home’s appeal; illuminating its assets, creating mood, and even contributing to emotional wellbeing.
When approaching lighting, first consider how much natural sunlight your house gets. It may only take giving the windows a good wash or trimming some branches back and you’ll find a whole new ambience in the home.
But if the daytime sun is already doing everything it can, take note of how well your lights actually illuminate your house, and whether they offer anything aesthetically.
Recessed lights are effective and valuable for their neat, non-intrusive design. Going green is another plus, and energy efficient bulbs really draw a crowd. Don’t forget- wattage is NOT the same as brightness! Look for bulbs with high ‘lumens’, and comparatively low watts for good lighting and low cost.
Also, take a good look at your light switches. Switches and their panels can accent your walls, so they may need a good cleaning (or even a quick replacement!). New, clean light switches are a subtle, but potent ingredient in your home’s perception and value.
Cramped, cluttered kitchens are a quick turn off for most (if not all) renters. So are ugly, outdated cabinets and appliances. But kitchen makeovers, though an incredible boost to value, are an easy thing to overspend on. Putting too much flare into your eatery may end up working against you.
Kitchens don’t need to be ‘fancy’, with every gadget under the sun. Since the kitchen is a hub for social life within a home, they should be visually inviting, functional and as open as they can be.
Depending on budget, there are some very simple DIY tips to update a kitchen and add value to the home. The easiest trick may be simply updating the colour scheme with a fresh coat of paint (yes, you can even paint kitchen cupboards) and replacing the handles on your cupboard doors and drawers. It’s cheap and can even be fun to do yourself with a group of friends.
For a little more investment, the most strategic move is replacing the countertop, the cupboard doors and the sink. Remember, looking too over the top (marble counters and LED lit splashbacks) may give people the impression that the rental is out of their price range and could keep a majority of the rental market away. You also want to fit the home’s aesthetic theme. So keep it simply stylish, if that’s what the rest of the house calls for.
Bathroom renovations are another place an investor can easily over do it. So keep in mind the two highest priorities are making sure your bathroom isn’t outdated or ugly, and keeping it looking fresh and sanitary.
As long as the shower is still white (or whatever colour it’s meant to be), the chances are that you don’t need to do much replacing. A new shower head can be a cheap way to add sparkle and gleam (and water efficiency- remember to keep it green!), avoiding the need for a new shower altogether, but still giving it an upgrade.
Instead of re-tiling, an old bathroom can look like a brand-spanker just by filling in new grout.
Take a look at your light fittings- do they need to be cleaned? Are they from an outdated era? Can you make them more energy efficient?
Assuming the whites are still white, a new shower head, fresh grout and simple, stylish, energy efficient lighting will be enough to transform the bathroom and add value to your rental property.
7. Create space.
Market trends show that both buyers and renters favour homes with wide, open plan living spaces. If you want to draw a crowd of rental applications and down the track raise your property’s sale price, one of the very best means is by knocking out a wall and creating what the market is after!
This is fairly straightforward, but you also want to make sure you get it right. The kitchen area is central to a home’s social life, so combining it with a living area by taking out a wall is strategically genius.
Before you go Tim-Taylor-ing your house, get a professional in to mark out which walls bear structural load, and which don’t. Otherwise a relatively cheap home improvement could end up costing you a whole new roof!
8. Outdoor entertaining.
Undoubtedly Aussies love summer, BBQs and socialising. Australian renters are becoming more and more interested in properties with an outdoor entertaining area, so it’s worth considering this as a reno option.
It may be on the more expensive side of home improvement, but having something like retractable roofing or awning installed can boost your rental returns by a surprising amount.
It becomes a major feature when the deck out the back is able to keep things dry on a rainy day, keep things bright on a sunny day, or even keep your plants safe even from hail. Compared to major renovations, this addition is incredibly reasonable on your budget.
This one is probably a less DIY job and more a case of bringing in an expert installer. So for professional advice and inspiration on what you can do to blow up your rental’s market value in Sydney try a quality installer like Blind Elegance.
We hope these eight fixes help to boost your property's value and take your rental returns to the next level.
Elliot Reid is writing on behalf of Blind Elegance, creators of comfortable outdoor living spaces. Elliot is a reader and writer and writes helpful material for regular people, demystifying the home renovation industry.
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