Deciding to make improvements to your rental unit is only the first step in a long, and sometimes pricey, process. When you spend your money wisely, it can lead to more competition for your unit, and a higher monthly rental income. But spend your money on the wrong improvements and you could end up with a big expense that actually costs you good renters. Here is some Expert Advice for your Rental Improvements.
We say it all the time, but every market is unique! You want to find out how to get the biggest bang for your buck in your local area. Here is a list of some great places to find experts to consult:
A high volume property manager will definitely have their finger on the pulse of the local market. This type of professional will have a good sense of what kind of rental units are moving quickly, which neighborhoods are on the rise, and what features are bringing tenants through their doors. They will be aware of the kinds of improvements can lead to higher rental incomes, or help the property rent more quickly, versus fixes that tenants overlook and do not care about.
Real Estate Agent
A successful real estate agent can be a great partner. They can walk your property with you and recommend upgrades in line with current housing trends. He/She can also give you some insight into what buyers are looking for, which will help if you plan to sell the unit at any time in the future. One can make their suggestions based upon comparable properties as well as their personal experience. Their feedback can help you determine which improvements add sales value and which do not. They can also address finishes and colors in the unit.
Selling a property and being able to rent a property do not always overlap. Some things that buyers are looking for may not be helpful in securing good renters, but if you ever plan to sell your unit it is good to keep this kind of feedback available. Establishing a good relationship with a real estate agent can also help you as you expand your portfolio, and the agent may be able to bring you great investment opportunities or well-matched buyers in the future.
Go to meet ups
While the above professionals have a wealth of knowledge, they may not be willing to help if you are not currently using their services. But you can find local meet ups and other real estate groups in your area. You’ll be able to get advice from lots of local professionals and find out which ones would be willing to help you further. At these gatherings, you can discuss your specific issue and get plenty of input in a short amount of time.
Look at comps
Check local listings of other comparable properties. Although the market may change by the time you eventually sell, it is good to see that your property is holding up, but is not over-improved, for your area. Of course, you will also check local rental listings as well to see how you stack up, and whether you are providing what renters in the area are looking for.
You can also research how much value a certain upgrade provides. For example, in California a pool makes your rental more desirable. However, a pool will only add about $8,000 to your property’s appraised value, while costing anywhere from $45,000. You can probably charge $100 or $200 additional a month for your pool. When you add these numbers up, you need to decide whether it is worth the investment.
You may be able to get helpful or expert advice for your rental improvements from others, but there is no substitute for doing your homework. Given the wealth of information online, along with professional advice, you can feel well informed before making any large renovations.