Author Topic: Rent Raising Renos/Features  (Read 7019 times)

Arbor33

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Rent Raising Renos/Features
« on: May 09, 2013, 12:14:50 PM »
When I was doing some renovations to my duplex, I often decided to forgo some non-essential bits because IMO, it wouldn't net me any more rent from a future tenant.

When you do reno/repairs, what features do you consider to be the best "rent raisers"?

Another way of asking: From a renter's perspective, what qualities of a home warrant spending a little extra on rent on a monthly basis?

honobob

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2013, 03:27:53 PM »
Washer dryer hookups.   Don't overlook clean and neat!  And don't over improve for your market.

Another Reader

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2013, 03:37:46 PM »
Paint, flooring, appliances, and simple updates to kitchens and baths.  Not full remodels, just updates that increase the utility and/or look modern.

Hotstreak

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2013, 07:24:32 PM »
W/D hookups as was mentioned.  As a renter I also enjoy a lot of the small things that many rentals do not have, like digital thermostats, dimmer switches, a timer for the bathroom fan, modern lighting, etc.  Those sorts of things make it feel like a luxury apartment compared to the 80's era thermostats that are in older units along with rickety old fans and tiny light coverings that a decent sized CFL won't fit in.  Also having a slightly upgraded range with digital readouts, and a dishwasher with a few options is nice, but obviously can be a higher priced upgrade.  One of the big reasons I chose my current place is that it has fake wood flooring (compared to cheap carpet), which is another one that might cost a bit.. but can make it feel much more modern.  Don't make me rent a carpet cleaner every year to keep things looking decent!

jamccain

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 05:40:35 PM »
a timer for the bathroom fan,

Robby it on something here...if you have a rental you want fans in all bathrooms that turn on with the light switch...shower steam is a top cause of mold in rentals (I don't have a source on that)....eliminate that and it's one less thing to worry about.  Tie it to the light so the tenant has to use it.  Put it on a timer and the tenant will let it run even longer which is good. 

Another example of small things mattering, is to clean out the dryer vent (from the wall to the exterior vent) every 6-12 months.  #1 cause of rental's catching on fire. 

One thing I do, is I call quarterly (some PM companies call monthly) to check on things.  Let the tenant know I care and fix broken stuff then.  I also have a maintenance checklist I run periodically, on a schedule, to keep things tip top.  It's a small thing, but let's the tenant fell like they are taken care of and they don't have to fool with it.  More importantly, I know it's done.  Keep in mind, I only have one unit at the moment (sold some off in 2007 and have offers out on more now) so it's all very manageable for just me and the maintenance guy I hired.  I could do it, but the property is out of state.

The best thing to do in rentals to make more money is to keep good tenants.  In the long run, you'll be better off keeping good people (even below market rents) than turning over above market rent rates at the end of every lease.  THE key to buy and hold (cash flow) rentals as told by many people much more experienced than myself is good renters for a long long time.  Figure that part out...

Another Reader

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 06:43:13 PM »
"The best thing to do in rentals to make more money is to keep good tenants.  In the long run, you'll be better off keeping good people (even below market rents) than turning over above market rent rates at the end of every lease.  THE key to buy and hold (cash flow) rentals as told by many people much more experienced than myself is good renters for a long long time. "

+1000. 

Joel

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2013, 09:02:00 PM »
I'm surprised at how big of a difference walls that are painted a color besides white makes.

tryan

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 07:55:14 AM »
I've had half a dozen requests for dishwashers ... even had people walk from my vacancies because there isn't one.

But i refuse to put them in.  Had one tenant burn-out 3 pumps in 18 months.  Simply refused to rinse the dishes.

So I slid out the third dishwasher and slid in a 24" cabinet.  Problem solved ... you can't teach stupid.

FWIW the next problem I had was kitchen drain clogs ... at least they paid the rent.

totoro

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2013, 08:26:24 AM »
If you've had a dozen requests for dishwashers and had people walk from a vacant suite maybe you should put the dishwasher back in.  I have them in all my suites and have had one dishwasher that came with the house and was pretty ancient pack it in.  They are cheap on CL for a newish one.

As for your tenant, odd because dishwashers are designed not to require plate rinsing. Maybe something else was going on... http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/money/consumer/consumer_reports/do-we-need-to-rinse-our-dishes-before-putting-them-in-the-dishwasher

These help I think:

1. dishwashers
2. get rid of carpets and put in nice laminate
3. soundproofing
4. everything properly repaired and painted to the standard of a vacation rental

Buying in a desirable area will be the best roi in my experience.

Another Reader

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2013, 11:49:29 AM »
Dishwashers are expected in my properties.  The entry level Whirlpool/Kenmore is what I typically use.  I don't generally go used because the cost to install is high already and I don't want to spend time/money on a repair or replacing a defective unit.  Property management companies seem to like buying overpriced reconditioned units.  A new dishwasher makes tenants happy, and the total cost is less than half of one month's rent.

Hotstreak

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2013, 01:11:02 AM »
I've had half a dozen requests for dishwashers ... even had people walk from my vacancies because there isn't one.

But i refuse to put them in.  Had one tenant burn-out 3 pumps in 18 months.  Simply refused to rinse the dishes.

So I slid out the third dishwasher and slid in a 24" cabinet.  Problem solved ... you can't teach stupid.

FWIW the next problem I had was kitchen drain clogs ... at least they paid the rent.

Wow, I wouldn't live there either.  I once visited an apartment without a dishwasher, saw it wasn't there, and walked out the next second.  As a renter that's like not having heat, or an oven.  Is it normal in your area to not have a dishwasher in a unit?  Around here that means it's a slum, and only desperate people will live there.

Rural

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2013, 06:09:55 AM »
I've had half a dozen requests for dishwashers ... even had people walk from my vacancies because there isn't one.

But i refuse to put them in.  Had one tenant burn-out 3 pumps in 18 months.  Simply refused to rinse the dishes.

So I slid out the third dishwasher and slid in a 24" cabinet.  Problem solved ... you can't teach stupid.

FWIW the next problem I had was kitchen drain clogs ... at least they paid the rent.

Wow, I wouldn't live there either.  I once visited an apartment without a dishwasher, saw it wasn't there, and walked out the next second.  As a renter that's like not having heat, or an oven.  Is it normal in your area to not have a dishwasher in a unit?  Around here that means it's a slum, and only desperate people will live there.

Most places around here without dishwashers rent by the week. We did rent an old farmhouse that didn't have one while we looked for land to buy, but it came with the use of a large farm, so it had added value that almost made up for the lack of a dishwasher (not quite, so we bought a used portable dishwasher).

nktokyo

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2013, 04:09:17 PM »
Your local property management company should know this.

tryan

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2013, 06:36:40 PM »
Quote

 so we bought a used portable dishwasher


That's exactly what I tell them to do .

Geez ... Don't tell me you all want a fridge too.  I've cleaned way too many ... not providing that either.

totoro

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2013, 07:32:54 PM »
I provide everything and more.  Stuff is just so inexpensive on CL why would I not do this if it makes people a bit happier and they enjoy their space more?   

I also don't rent something that I wouldn't be willing to live in.  I have at least slept and personally tested everything out in all but one of my suites which was brand-new.  It was a mistake, the HW hadn't been turned on and the dryer vent hadn't been installed.  Details.


Nords

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2013, 07:43:14 PM »
I know that tenants want pet-friendly landlords.  Those tenants are so grateful to find a reasonably-priced place that they'll gladly pay a higher deposit or agree to have pet damage & carpet-cleaning paid for from the deposit.  I've had such good results from tenants with pets that I'd prefer to rent to them rather than a houseful of young-adult roommates.

I think tenants want features that will reduce their cleaning effort and their utility bills.  Energy-efficient windows, good insulation, a whole-house water conditioner (to reduce mineral deposits), low-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, EnergyStar appliances, CFL or LED lighting.  Tile floors in traffic areas.  Textured drywall with semi-gloss paint.  Low-maintenance xeriscaped yards (good for both tenants & landlords).  Privacy through landscaping, fences, and good-quality blinds/curtains. 

I've had half a dozen requests for dishwashers ... even had people walk from my vacancies because there isn't one.
But i refuse to put them in.  Had one tenant burn-out 3 pumps in 18 months.  Simply refused to rinse the dishes.
You're kidding-- one tenant can't treat a dishwasher responsibly, or perhaps the dishwasher has a design/material flaw, and that's it?  None of your future tenants will ever get a dishwasher?!? 

Ironically, as another poster mentioned, the source of your pump burnouts is not a failure to rinse the dishes.  With your logic, it's a good thing that their toilets weren't clogging.

The prospective tenants who've turned you down are trying to tell you something.  If you're not listening to that feedback then it sounds like you deserve exactly the kind of tenants that you get.

Mr Mark

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2013, 11:36:15 PM »
Nords' advice above is spot on. +1

I think there should be something really nice too, in the kitchen and master bath. They should be able to have guests around and have them admire something.

A super nice range, a great shower.

I always tested the shower in my places when I rented. Great hot water and pressure always won me over!

I think you should know your tenants.


tryan

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2013, 06:31:41 AM »
Geez .... BLINDS AND CURTIANS ?!?!?

Try running 20 units with all these gadgets .... It'll feel like a jjjob and you'll be broke.  Have to draw the line somewhere.

FWIW all I do is SF homes ... very little turnover.  I've had tenants stay 17 years.  2 of my properties have had the same people 12 and 14 years.   When they stay this long they own the appliances.  They cut the lawn and shovel the driveway.  Plant gardens every year.  They treat it like they own it.

I do own half a dozen fridges ... but the lease states it thiers to use ... I'll haul it if it breaks ... they replace it.  The last one that broke was replaced with a spare (just to get it out of my barn).

Agree that we have to cater to the client we want.  The lake property I run as a vacation rental has all the bells and whistles:  high speed internet, VOIP, DISHWASHER, double washer/dryer, firewood, canoes, .... But no jacuzzi and I've lost people because of that ... oh,well.

totoro

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2013, 09:52:44 AM »
I provide blinds and curtains.  Or in some cases curtains alone.  One of the places I bought came with them.  I got a great deal on hotel drapes with sheers that are soundproofed and I bought 26 or so pairs.  I put them in all my places. 

The thing is, with the availability of nice quality second-hand items on the internet these days, good deals sometimes come up and things can be done with a bit of effort and a lot less money.   

I prefer to have nice-looking places that have these things.  I'm probably in a different market than you are though.  Houses where I live are quite expensive and good ROI is harder to gain.  Offering more at little cost makes sense.

olivia

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2013, 11:58:10 AM »
I know that tenants want pet-friendly landlords.  Those tenants are so grateful to find a reasonably-priced place that they'll gladly pay a higher deposit or agree to have pet damage & carpet-cleaning paid for from the deposit.  I've had such good results from tenants with pets that I'd prefer to rent to them rather than a houseful of young-adult roommates.

I think tenants want features that will reduce their cleaning effort and their utility bills.  Energy-efficient windows, good insulation, a whole-house water conditioner (to reduce mineral deposits), low-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, EnergyStar appliances, CFL or LED lighting.  Tile floors in traffic areas.  Textured drywall with semi-gloss paint.  Low-maintenance xeriscaped yards (good for both tenants & landlords).  Privacy through landscaping, fences, and good-quality blinds/curtains. 

I've had half a dozen requests for dishwashers ... even had people walk from my vacancies because there isn't one.
But i refuse to put them in.  Had one tenant burn-out 3 pumps in 18 months.  Simply refused to rinse the dishes.
You're kidding-- one tenant can't treat a dishwasher responsibly, or perhaps the dishwasher has a design/material flaw, and that's it?  None of your future tenants will ever get a dishwasher?!? 

Ironically, as another poster mentioned, the source of your pump burnouts is not a failure to rinse the dishes.  With your logic, it's a good thing that their toilets weren't clogging.

The prospective tenants who've turned you down are trying to tell you something.  If you're not listening to that feedback then it sounds like you deserve exactly the kind of tenants that you get.

Ditto.  I would never rent a place without a dishwasher, and I'm exactly the type of tenant landlords love.  We're previous homeowners who moved to a new city so are currently renting until we decide where to buy, we have a combined income above $200k, no kids, professional, non-smoking.

olivia

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2013, 12:09:01 PM »
As a renter I look for hardwood floors, modern appliances and a generally well-maintained house/apartment.  If it is an apartment building, it has to be a non-smoking building and have good soundproofing.  And I prefer places that only allow cats, because that eliminates the possibility that I'll hear nonstop barking from dogs with neglectful owners.

honobob

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2013, 06:38:15 PM »
I'm surprised at how big of a difference walls that are painted a color besides white makes.

Color blind guy and used to always go for hi-hide white.  A new tenant asked if she could pick the color for the new paint job.  Linen white.  It's white but amazing how different it looks.  Now all units get repainted in linen white.  Goes with dark or light floors.  It's a color that's not!  I'd give you the trim color but got to keep my competitive edge. :p

totoro

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2013, 07:22:58 PM »
Good trim colour is Benjamin Moore's Cloud white - any paint store can colour match it :)

daymare

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2013, 08:49:01 PM »
I had a terrible experience while in college in Pittsburgh -- I lived with 3 roommates (all of us on the lease), and our landlords were first-time landlords.  Well, turned out there was a nosy and evil neighbor who made it her job to complain to the city because apparently the number of unrelated tenants given the number of rooms violated some obscure law that neither we tenants nor our landlords knew about.  Having to deal with the stress of one of us possibly needing to move out during finals?  Not fun.  Since then I've lived/rented in 3 places, and prefer management companies with several holdings, or an individual landlord with several properties, and thus hopefully, proper knowledge of all local laws -- do not want a repeat of the first experience.

I've rented while on varying budgets (student with no income & parents paying, consultant earning 85K/year, now grad student with stipend) but I look for natural light, prefer hardwood or laminate (fake wood is sooo much better than a gross carpet).  A dishwasher is not make-or-break, but definitely a perk I take note of. 

To be quite honest, I hands down would rather live in a small space that has nice upgrades, then somewhere with more room.  I don't know if this tends to be more true for people my age than those who are older, but beyond having enough room for my queen bed, I'm not going to concerned by tighter space, provided it's got nice upgrades.

Daleth

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2013, 01:22:19 PM »
I've had half a dozen requests for dishwashers ... even had people walk from my vacancies because there isn't one.

But i refuse to put them in.  Had one tenant burn-out 3 pumps in 18 months.  Simply refused to rinse the dishes.

So I slid out the third dishwasher and slid in a 24" cabinet.  Problem solved ... you can't teach stupid.

FWIW the next problem I had was kitchen drain clogs ... at least they paid the rent.

I was about to say dishwashers are a huge draw. Why do you care if your idiot tenant burns out pumps? Take it out of his deposit and get a better dishwasher, one that doesn't require rinsing before you put the dishes in. Better yet, assuming local law permits it, take it out of his deposit AND require him to top up the deposit so it's still the amount you contracted for (i.e. it's still two months' rent or whatever). He will learn to rinse his dishes fast.

We're also big on painting walls something other than white. Tenants love it. They also love hardwood floors.

BZB

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Re: Rent Raising Renos/Features
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2013, 01:20:21 PM »
I'm a tenant. I would add decent off-street parking to this list. Covered parking is a huge plus. Also a balcony, patio or just a little scrap of ground to make a container garden is nice.