So you've had an investment condo for a few years as a rental, things have been good and now the time has come to put it on the market again for lease. Now, hundreds of more units in the area are your competition and these units come updated with modern finishes and sleek design. That's not to say your out of the running, your units may be larger as was the trend in the earlier buildings, you may have better amenities or have a slightly more prime location. However, do NOT just put it back on the market without first thinking to yourself, is this unit worth the same as the rest?
I walk in to countless units that make me wonder why some became landlords in the first place. Properties should be taken care of and when their not you'll lose money, it's a simple formula....Maintain..to..Obtain.
Simple fixes can infact bring great results. Here is a list of a few things you can do to make sure you can stay competitive in the market and get the most out of your investment. Even putting dollar values of the rental aside, the amount of time you'll save from it sitting on the market will justify an update alone. If your $1800/mnth condo sits on the market for 2 months you've lost $3600. That's a not a small sum. Therefore, spending a single day to bring your unit up to acceptable standards shouldn't be a problem. If you could spend $1500 to save $1800 or more, is it not worth it?
- Paint - the simplest thing that many will say is so cheap to do especially in small areas such as a 500-700 square feet condo, and yet, many choose not to ever touch the walls or ceilings and leave them the green, blue and yellow that existed there for the past 5-10 years. When i walk in to a unit that resembles a circus tent, the feedback from my clients is never good and that should worry you. One thing renter's enjoy is moving in to a place that is already ready to actually move in...They usually do not want to go in and spend their time painting right before having to move all of their contents in, especially after they just laid down a few thousand covering first and last months. A couple hundred will go a long way in making your place pop...with Champagne after its rented!
- Trim - Many times i see plane flat stock trim, or very old thin MDF that is barely more noticeable then the quarter round that is keeping the edges of the poorly installed laminate down. Trim can be a moderately cheap, but extremely enhansing upgrade that will take the eye and delight it, instead of souring it. For a 500 sq ft unit, getting newer larger 5 1/2" trim and casing with a better profile is not as expensive as you would think, and can be done within a day.
- The simple things - Old and ugly cover plates, broken or slightly disfunctional door hardware, an uncared for balcony, flooring seperation or spills, all these can be easily remedied and when their not, your potential tenant just walked out of the door with me.
- Flooring - No one likes to see gaps in flooring, or buckling, or even outdated flooring. Laminate and some new engineered flooring systems have become relatively cheap over the years, durability is really good and the overall impression of your unit will be well responded. Flooring is especially important in much older condo's which have carpet throughout. Vary rarely, and by rare, i mean NEVER, have i been asked to find something that has carpet everywhere - not to mention carpet that's seen much better days. If this sounds like one of your units, you don't realize just how much a few dollars per sq ft will add to the appeal of your rental or sale of your condo. Flooring seems to be one of the most neglected aspects of condo units that 5-15 years old.
- Kitchen - To many cooking can be relaxing, to others tedious, mainly because of time contraints. Regardless of which side of the fence you reside on, a nice kitchen, creates a nice atmosphere. We have this little thing, or Big thing i should say, called IKEA. I've personally renovated hundreds of rental units and IKEA kitchens have always been a centre piece of the unit. They come in all shapes and sizes, variances in finish from lower to higher end, and the price ranges along with the ease of installation should be an attractive incentive for any investor in updating a kitchen, or anything in the unit for that matter. People love IKEA, if they didn't their warehouse wouldn't be the size of Pearson's runway. Get familiar with prices, styles and configurations and you'll thank me. Backsplashes are cheap to do and they will dramatically change the look and bring the kitchen all together, and to finish it off a granite counter top is a lot cheaper than most think. Prices have gone down quite a bit over the years and quartz as well has become a nice alternative which is priced decently.
I could spend hours defining the keys to success in a rental unit, but i'll leave it at that and if you have any questions you can feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I work with many renters and before i even got in to real estate i renovated hundreds of rental units from large executive houses to condo's/appartments, multi family homes and commercial units. I would be more than happy to help put you in touch with the right people that'll get your unit back to it's former glory, and even better.