One of the best ways to increase the income of an apartment rental is through renovation. Along with regular maintenance, the additional profits that accompany smart renovations can be significant. Where property management can make mistakes is in the selection of the projects they wish to undertake. You need to invest in renovations that will have the biggest impact on the look and feel of the space while keeping expenses down to a minimum. It doesn't mean you want to choose the cheapest route, but the one that is most cost-effective in conjunction with smart shopping.
Update The Floors
The flooring ultimately determines the look and feel of the entire apartment rental. Leaving old materials in place or choosing to replace it with cheap looking options will only degrade from the space, even if the rest of it has been completely updated. By doing some research and hunting down a good deal, you can often get decent quality materials for a fraction of their original cost.
A good material to consider is hardwood flooring. The material and installation will cost you more than many other choices on the market, but it is well worth the additional cost. The look and feel that it adds to the space will appeal to tenants on the higher end, which will allow you to increase the rental rate. You will be able to refinish the flooring multiple times to extend the life of the material far beyond that of laminate or vinyl.
Paint A Different Picture
If it is done correctly, painting is an excellent way to update an apartment rental and increase the profits made from it. Property management also prefers this as part of the renovation plans because it is relatively inexpensive while changing the entire look of the unit. Many make the mistake of trying to save money on the preparation stage. If this step isn't completed correctly, it will make the new color appear the same as the original coating, making the entire expense a waste of money.
Color choice also enters into this project. Dark or brightly colored tints discourage a significant portion of potential tenants. They also make the unit appear far smaller than it already is further hurting the property management's chances of renting it out at a higher rate. While white is often the best choice, you can use subtle and neutral colors to keep the tenant pool as large as possible.
Make It Shine
Even if property management chooses not to do any renovations, the apartment rental should definitely be well cleaned by professionals. The unit will look fresh and new to everyone who walks through the door. Some areas you want to make sure are cleaned well include closets, bathrooms, window, and kitchens since they are the areas that are generally inspected the closest. Remember that the state of the property reflects back onto those in control of it.
Dress Up The Kitchen
Kitchen remodels can be extremely expensive, but you can get the same effects if you choose wisely. New appliances should be one of the first steps because they make a kitchen appear updated. Stainless steel is a great choice and not as expensive as they had been in recent years. As an added benefit, they appeal to a large number of people and keep their refined looks for considerably longer than traditional styles.
If you are an owner or property management expert looking to increase the income from an apartment rental, renovations should be one of the first steps. It doesn't require a large investment of time or money so long as you choose wisely. Before you know it, there will be a steady stream of good tenants lining up to see the unit.
Christine O'Kelly writes for the property management company, Beal Properties, LLC. For more than 80 years, Beal Property in Chicago has managed numerous apartment rental units in and around the city's most beloved neighborhoods.