Rental property upgrades can be a great way to improve your return on investment. However, choosing which upgrades will actually be cost-effective for your unique property can be tricky. Maybe you are hesitant to put a lot of cash into your rental but still want to elevate it and maximize your earnings. Or, maybe you’ve been toying around with the idea of investing a lot in rental property upgrades to create a high-end rental but aren’t sure that factors such as location and surrounding properties won’t limit how much you’ll get back. In either case, there are several budget-friendly rental property upgrades that can make a huge difference in your property’s value. While at the same time, creating a better rental experience for both you and your tenant.

1. Upgrade Your Flooring

Flooring is a huge part of a home’s look and feel. If you prefer to keep your properties carpeted, opt for a closed-loop carpet. They are denser, more durable, and generally quite wear and stain-resistant. Using the opportunity to also switch to a neutral carpet color is always a great rental property upgrade choice. It will appeal to a wider range of renters, and generally hide stains and wear well. 

Installing high-quality vinyl or laminate is another cost-effective way to upgrade your flooring. Because it is so durable, you reduce the risk of stains, smells, and damage that come with carpet and hardwood. It is also water-resistant and very easy to maintain and clean, so it will look nice for a long time. Another added bonus is that you can easily replace any damaged sections without needing to replace the whole floor. To reduce replacement costs, you can also choose to keep low impact areas carpeted, such as bedrooms and offices. 

2. Refresh with Paint

Painting is the oldest trick in the rental property upgrade book, and for good reason! A fresh coat of paint can transform the feel of a home. When selecting paint, it’s always a good idea to opt for soft neutral colors, such as grey, tan, or taupe. While white is a classic, it can sometimes feel bare. Additionally, choosing a washable, high-quality medium gloss paint is a great choice that can help one coat of paint last longer. And, if you have more than one rental property, picking one color and sticking with it for all of your properties is a great way to simplify and save money. 

A few other basics that make a big difference: make sure your paint lines are sharp and that the color accentuates the trim. And, if you’re short on time, funds, or paint, painting just the kitchen, bathrooms, and hallways can still bring that sense of freshness that renters seek.

3. Focus on the Small Details

Many people may be tempted to focus on remodeling the kitchen or bathroom to elevate their rental income. Instead, investing just a few hundred dollars into small details can make a big difference. Some of the most inexpensive rental property upgrades are quite simple: replace cracked or faded electrical outlets and light switches, scratched doorknobs and locks, or even worn towel bars or toilet seats. You can also add some personality to your property by replacing small factory items, such as cabinet knobs and faucets. Adding trim (or repairing cracked, chipped, or scratched trim) or under-cabinet lighting are two other relatively small investments that can really make your rental stand out. 

4. Spend Some Time Creating Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is no small thing. Renters begin forming their opinion of a property within the first few moments of seeing it. So, your exterior must make a great impression! Start by ensuring that the curbs, patios, doors, and mailboxes are all in a clean, good condition. And don’t underestimate the power of a good pressure washing as a form of rental property upgrade. It can really transform a property’s look!

Other details, like potted plants or string lights on a patio, can bring a great homey feel. Ensuring that all lawns, plants, shrubs, and trees are well-maintained is another way to increase the overall wow factor. Rental property upgrades like these also communicate that the property is well-taken care of and in good working order, which attracts great renters. 

5. Invest in Energy-Efficient Upgrades

Rental property upgrades focusing on increasing energy-efficiency are a bigger up-front cost but a great way to maximize investment over time. Newer energy-star appliances, especially in the kitchen, can save tenants money on their utility bills while saving you time and money on maintenance. Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances is also a great way to elevate the rental property’s overall look. Especially if you choose durable and attractive finishes that hide wear, such as stainless steel. Other great options are low-flow toilets and LED light bulbs. High-quality energy-efficient windows are a fantastic asset as well. They look great, insulate from outside temperate and noise, and reduce energy costs — all of which increase renter satisfaction. 

6. Maintain Your Property Year-Round

A final important aspect is maintaining your rental. Create a solid plan to take care of your property throughout each season of the year. Also, addressing maintenance calls quickly and making routine inspections can really make a difference in your long-term return on investment. This type of intentionality does take time. But, it ensures that the other rental property upgrades listed above can make a long-term impact. That’s why employing a high-rated property management service that will partner with you to take care of these things (and more!) is a smart investment. 

Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew is an excellent choice if you’re considering ways to maximize your rental property investment. Call Darla at (503) 515-3170 or fill out the contact form on our website to get more information about how we can make sure that you are getting the most out of your rental. We work hard to take care of our clients’ needs, both big and small and would love to do the same for you.