Rents in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and throughout the East Valley have been climbing pretty steadily over the last year, and there’s no indication that rental properties aren’t going to continue increasing in value.
While the market is helping you earn more on your investment property, what else can you be doing to ensure you’re maximizing what you earn in rent?
Renovations can help. We’re not talking about major rehab projects where you’ll add a bathroom or completely gut the kitchen. That type of investment is unlikely to pay for itself if your home is already in generally good condition and well-maintained.
Instead, consider making some strategic updates and improvements that will add value to your rental property.
Rental property renovations can help you increase the value of your rental property and it can also contribute to higher tenant retention and lower vacancy costs. A property that’s been updated and upgraded will always perform better, regardless of the market’s strength.
Not sure what renovations you should choose for your property? We have some ideas.
Landscaping and Phoenix Rental Homes
How is your curb appeal? This is an easy starting point when you’re looking for ways to make upgrades to your rental property. In this part of Arizona, the seasons tend to be hot. There’s no sense in trying to install and maintain a lush, green lawn.
Upgrade your property with some attractive, low-maintenance hardscaping. Here’s what we recommend.
- Keep the outdoor space native and natural. When deciding on what types of plants and trees you want to have at your rental home, stick with flora native to your area. Planting native plants comes with many benefits. They’ll require less water and they’ll be hard to kill. You won’t need to keep native plants alive with fertilizers and pesticides. Your tenants will appreciate the natural habitat that’s been established for butterflies, birds, and insects. The aesthetics will also raise your home value.
- Make a space for pets. If you’re renting out a pet-friendly property, you likely know that the majority of tenants in the rental market have at least one pet. Allowing pets in your property also increases your rental income. So, make a space for them outside. Maybe it’s a small fenced area or a patch of grass where they can soak up the sun.
- Work with rocks. Desert rock is a great landscaping upgrade because there’s very little maintenance required. Weed pulling is about the extent of it. There’s also not a huge cost involved, which is great for your bottom line. It looks great, and that’s going to attract tenants.
Hire some good landscapers to take care of your property’s exterior on an ongoing basis, and roll the cost into your rental amount. Owners must be willing to invest in curb appeal and exterior renovations. The landscaping will matter when it comes to attracting tenants and setting higher rental values.
Invest in Fresh Paint between Tenants
You may not consider painting a renovation, but it will make a difference in the value of your property and it’s something you should invest in every time you turn the property over between tenants.
The condition of your walls impacts how a prospective tenant sees your rental home. If you’ve fallen into the habit of touching up the dull spots and the nail holes, you might want to spend some extra time and money repainting all the walls in their entirety.
An in-demand Phoenix rental property at the top of the local rental range has walls that are sturdy, clean, and freshly painted. Tenants don’t want wallpaper. They don’t want walls that are stained, faded, or chipped. Provide well-insulated walls that are painted in neutral colors with high quality paint.
Paint the walls completely during every turnover, and if you’ve had the same tenants in place for years and the walls are looking worn and faded, schedule some time for repainting. It’s worth the investment of time and resources, and your tenants will appreciate the attention. It will help you raise the rent the next time a lease renewal is signed.
Renovate Your Floors and Increase Value
Floors are an important part of your rental property, and one of the best areas in which to renovate.
The days of cheap carpet are long over. Tenants aren’t willing to pay higher rents for bad flooring. Instead of carpet, install hard surface flooring. Carpet can easily get dirty. It tends to trap odors, dust, allergens, and even insects. In an area like Arizona, it simply doesn’t make sense to cover your floors with carpet.
Hardwood floors are lovely but they’re not necessary. Consider faux wood or tile or even laminates. You can find laminate flooring that looks like real wood and is easy to clean and maintain. You’ll get a longer lifespan than you would with carpet.
Another benefit to hard surface flooring is that it’s more durable. You won’t have to steam clean or replace carpets between every tenant. You’ll find you can earn more when you have hard floors instead of carpet. This is a renovation you should strongly consider.
Renovate Your Lighting - Inside and Out
Another great opportunity for a cost-effective renovation is lighting. Tenants are looking for bright and efficient interior lights. They don’t want to replace bulbs every few months. They want to be able to see what they’re doing, especially in the kitchen and the bathrooms.
With your lighting upgrades, pay attention to energy efficiency and sustainability. Choose light bulbs that are greener and likely to keep energy costs down. Tenants will appreciate this, and you’ll save money when you’re paying for utilities during turnovers and other periods.
Exterior lighting needs to be installed from a perspective of security. The path from parking to the doorway should be well-lit and bright. Residents need to feel safe, and you want to deter potential criminals. Consider installing motion lights over the garage or the front porch.
Kitchen and Bath Renovations
Kitchens and bathrooms are always good places for renovations. These are the spaces tenants are most likely to notice when they scroll through your listing or visit the property. The state of your kitchen and your bathrooms will impact what you can charge in rent.
A rental property kitchen needs appliances that are in good condition and matching. You don’t need the granite counters and the stainless steel. But you do need an attractive, modern place for tenants to prepare food, make coffee, and entertain guests. Increase your storage if you can. Think about a backsplash, updated fixtures like drawer pulls, and cabinets that are free from chips and scratches. Shiny faucets and hardware will get the attention of good tenants.
Many owners ask if it’s worth renovating the bathrooms.
The answer is yes. The bathroom may be a small part of your rental property, but they can also attract higher rental values and better tenants. Change out any mirrors and lighting that make the place look dated. The shower and tub need to be in good condition, and you want to make sure there are no cracks in the toilet seat, the shower wall, or the floors. Put new caulk in where it’s necessary and make sure there’s enough storage for bathroom essentials.
Technology Upgrades Attract Phoenix Tenants
Maximizing what you earn might depend on providing better technology access.
It’s not a renovation, exactly, but it is a major improvement.
Tenants in Phoenix and the surrounding areas are increasingly more tech-savvy, and they’re looking for ways to access that technology in their rental homes. When you can meet this demand, you can charge more for the privilege of things such as super-fast internet or smart home technology. Syncing phones with things like outdoor lights, appliances, and security has become essential.
Technology upgrades can be expensive, so choose what you do wisely. Make it a shared expense with your tenants. This will still increase what you can earn and you don’t have to provide all the technology yourself. Instead, make the high-quality tech accessible in your home. Think about video doorbells, for example. This has become one of the most popular ways for tenants to feel more secure in their homes, to avoid answering the door to someone they don’t want to deal with, and to keep an eye on deliveries and packages left at the front door.
Give tenants the option to bring their own technology and security into your home. Make your property as friendly as possible to smart home technology and increased security. You’ll be able to earn more and your tenants will be attracted to your home.
These are just some of the renovations we know will increase rents and applications. If you’d like some help deciding what will work in your specific property and neighborhood, we can tell you what your competition is doing to increase rental values and attract tenants. Let’s make your investment more competitive.
Please contact us at TCT Property Management Services. We manage homes in the East and West Valley, including Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, and Phoenix.