When rental vacancies are tight and conditions favour landlords, it can be easy to get complacent.
Who cares if there is a bit of wear and tear, there are plenty of tenants out there that will gladly lease it, right? That may be true for now, but market conditions can change pretty quickly if the last three years have taught us anything.
If you want to maintain demand for your properties and make sure they can always command market rent, even as market rent increases, you need to set a good standard of upkeep and presentation. Not only that, but there are a few minor improvements or tweaks you can make to maximise appeal and keep people keen to rent your asset.
A routine exercise
First things first, rental properties should have regular, scheduled inspections to make sure tenants are looking after the place and to identify any problems needing fixing. These opportunities should be used to get an early jump on anything that might be costly long term.
Small repairs to a hot water system might be all that’s needed now but you’d hate the whole thing to give up on you when you are trying to get your next lease signed.
Street appeal means a lot to someone who is weighing up whether to live in your property. Any gardens should be neat and well-maintained, while driveways, walkways and exterior walls should be clean, undamaged and painted to appear new. Some landscaping or pot plants can also create an inviting entrance.
Once inside, prospective tenants should be treated with a clean, de-cluttered interior with as little wear and tear on display as possible. Fresh paint in neutral colours, with new carpets or polished hardwood floors, will make the place appealing to more people.
Bathrooms can be a great place to add real value without too much outlay. Replace old fixtures like dated showerheads and curtains and, if you have an orangey-brown vanity that looks as though it belongs in the ‘70s, get rid of it and get a modern (though not necessarily expensive) replacement.
You can also refresh tiles by painting them rather than replacing them.
Cooking up value
Kitchens can be the make or break factor for people choosing between similar properties, so you should do what you reasonably can to give your properties a winning edge.
Small updates such as fresh paint, new cabinet doors or even just door handles, plus a relatively new appliance or two can make a significant difference.
Meet the market
Finally, make sure your property has everything the local market would reasonably expect. If located in a hot climate, for example, you should have air conditioning, or at least good ceiling fans in all necessary rooms. The same goes for heating in a colder area.
In general, people expect their creature comforts these days, so the more mod cons you have the better.