During my many years as a property investor, I’ve learnt that a few key upgrades and good maintenance of your property can be key to not only keeping good tenants happy but can also increase the value of your rental a lot. It doesn’t take a tonne of money and a complete overhaul to make your property the most desirable rental around - you just have to know where to focus your efforts.
Here are my top five ways to improve your property and your rental return:
1. Add an extra room
The first strategy to add value to your rental property should be to add an extra bedroom if it’s at all possible. This is a win whether you’re renting to a growing young family or a group of people living in a shared house arrangement. The bottom line is, no tenant is going to complain about having too much space. Just remember to take a good look at your floor plan and consult an expert before starting in on a project of this size - a shoddy DIY job turning a laundry into a bedroom won’t help you.
If you’re taking on a big job like this, it’s also a good idea to look into your financing options with a personal loan - you don’t want to be relying on savings that run out when you’re halfway through gutting a room.
2. Make sure you've got enough bathroom space
While adding more rooms is great, you also have to think about the quality of living for those in them. Having enough bathroom space can be key - a four bedroom property with two bathrooms is often far more attractive than a five bedroom place with a single, shared bathroom, especially in house share arrangements. If there’s no space or budget for a whole new bathroom, think about at least installing a second toilet in the laundry room or converting a walk in closet to an ensuite.
3. Revamp the kitchen
The same principle of making sure your tenants have all the amenities they need means you should also pay attention to the kitchen. People are happier and more likely to stay in a home that fulfills all their needs and the kitchen is the heart of the home. So making sure your cooktop, oven and sinks are in good working order is the first step. Then, think about adding creature comforts like a dishwasher or updating older fittings to further boost the appeal.
4. Invest in aircon
On the topic of creature comforts, we all know Aussie summers can be brutal, and aircon is a great addition to any home. If your tenants are in a shared house arrangement, it’s worth putting aircon in the bedrooms separately rather than the living room. Adding a 3.5kW system to a bedroom can cool the whole room and you can run it from existing powerpoints without adding extra wiring. You can get these for around $2,000 each, which I think is money well-spent in the long run.
5. Apply a fresh coat of paint
If your budget or time frame won’t stretch to any of these other projects, then a bucket of paint can be your best friend. A fresh coat of paint in a nice, neutral colour will make a property look new and fresh. Plus, there’s a trend now for painting over old kitchen cupboards and even tiles to give them a refresh without having to replace anything - but beware, if you decide to do this, it’s well worth getting a professional in to do it. A dodgy paint job can leave your property looking worse than it did to start off.