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The most sought-after rental property features

The most sought-after rental property features

When landlords are trying to make their properties attractive to would-be tenants, there may be plenty of avenues for them to pursue. For instance, some may choose to make big overhauls of the living space, while others are content add a few amenities and or new coats of paint.

Even simple renovations to a kitchen or bathroom can make a rental property a lot more attractive to potential tenants, but it's wise for property owners to assess what they might or might not like about the spaces they're renting out, according to The Balance Small Business. For instance, while a kitchen or bathroom remodel is likely to be popular, something that's a little simpler, such as redoing the flooring if there's well-worn carpeting could make a room feel new without having to gut it.

Other changes to make
Meanwhile, depending upon where the property is located, owners might also be wise to add some parking options if at all possible, so that tenants – or their guests – have safe places to put their vehicles, the report said. This is especially attractive if a reasonable accommodation for parking multiple vehicles can be made off the street. While this certainly isn't always possible in urban areas, making space in a yard for even one car or truck can significantly increase a property's rental value.

Along similar lines, any outdoor space – even a porch – can be another great amenity for renters to hang out when the weather allows it, according to Simply Business. Likewise, if there is significant storage space (such as a shed, attic or basement) on the property for people to utilize, they may be more likely not only to be attracted to a rental initially, but also potentially stick around for longer periods of time.

Simple additions
Furthermore, adding new appliances and swapping out old ones can be attractive because of how much easier they make tenants' lives, the report said. For instance, new, stainless steel appliances are likely to be impressive, but adding a dishwasher to spaces that don't have one can be a big boon for renters who don't want to devote hours every week toward doing the dishes by hand.

Likewise, any apartment that doesn't yet have a laundry area could become a lot more attractive with that simple addition, even if it's in the basement, coin-operated or the like, according to Rentberry. This, too, makes a tenant's life a lot easier because they don't have to go to a nearby laundromat at least a few times a month, which is a huge convenience to anyone who has an already-packed schedule.

When landlords are thinking about upgrades they can make to a rental property, it may be wise to think about the aspects of their homes that they already like, and how adding those features may help them surprise and delight tenants going forward.

For more information about this article, call 866-614-5959.

Rental repairs and renovations to maximize return on investment

Rental repairs and renovations to maximize return on investment

Many investment property owners may see the need to improve their units in today's increasingly competitive market, especially because of how much return on investment even a few basic upgrades can create over the long term. With that in mind, however, it's important to spot the differences between what constitutes a great return on investment and a more modest one.

Perhaps the biggest repair hurdles many landlords run into when it comes to boosting return on investment is putting off improvements until their underlying issues are exacerbated, according to real estate expert Ethan Roberts, writing for Auction.com. For instance, if landlords are slow to repair or replace a malfunctioning washing machine, its functionality is only likely to worsen, and could eventually cost significantly more to fix and potentially even cause more damage than just to itself (such as with leaks).

What to monitor
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so getting out in front of any possible hurdle in this regard will help keep an owner's return on investment high, the report said. If a past tenant reported a leak in the ceiling, it's vital to get that problem assessed and fixed sooner than later.

Of course, many properties that get used by a rotating cast of tenants over time are likely to encounter the same difficulties, according to Bigger Pockets. Many of them relate back to plumbing issues that lead to drips from the bottoms of sinks or bathtubs, as well as from faucets, toilets continually running or spigots no longer providing hot water. Often, these repairs will cost little more than a few hundred dollars, even in the most extreme cases, but the fact that they may need to be made at all could be a sign of a potentially larger problem going forward.

These may be most important to monitor closely simply because of how much it can cost to repair water damage versus other types of fixes that may need to be made over time, the report said.

What to expect
In addition, it's also important for property owners to keep in mind that in many cases, they will be able to deduct the cost of one-time repairs from their annual tax liabilities, but that's not typically the case with improvements, according to Landlordology. When making improvements as a means of boosting a property's value, however, the deductions will be different because they are technically considered capital expenses that must be depreciated, evenly, over time. It's also important for landlords to be able to differentiate between what constitutes a repair – such as fixing a cracked foundation – versus an improvement – such as adding structures to an existing foundation.

With these issues in mind, it may be wise for landlords to do all they can to better understand what they may need to do to boost their return on investment and avoid repair-related pitfalls. A little online research in this regard can go a long way, but so too can efforts to be a little more proactive about these potential hurdles.

For more information about this article, call 866-614-5959.

These repairs have the biggest return on investment.

Repairs and renovations that offer the biggest return on your investment

People tend to invest in properties in one of two ways: as a rental unit or as an opportunity to "flip" it. In both situations, repairs and renovations can help increase the value of your home. While putting money into a building can be intimidating, these items have been shown to have the biggest returns on investment. 

Short-term investment properties
If you're looking to purchase a property and then resell it for a higher amount, there are some things that automatically increase the value of your home. Several major factors (location, square footage, yard space) can't be changed, but these repairs should make a difference.

  • Garage door replacement – Most people don't think of replacing their garage door until necessary, but a damaged, dirty or outdated door can detract from the appearance of your home, especially if you have an attached garage. Consider the neighborhood the home is in when picking a new door. Do most people seem to want more advanced features like an electric opener? If not, consider a traditional option for a mid-range home as these require less maintenance and are not as likely to break with extended use. It's estimated that a new door costs $3,470 and 98.3 percent of that will be recouped, according to Remodeling's Cost vs. Value Report for 2018.
  • Entry door replacement – When prospective buyers walk into a home, the front door will give them their first impression of the house. Having a door with scuff marks or worn paint can lead to a general feeling of decay. In addition to appearance, a sturdy entryway can give buyers a feeling of safety and protection. Experts suggest using a steel replacement, which may cost around $1,471. However, it's likely to recoup more than 91 percent of that cost in a future sale. To get even more bang for your buck, think about adding an electronic entry system or video doorbell that can be integrated into a smart home system. 
  • Minor kitchen remodel – Realtors are known for saying that kitchens and bathrooms sell a house. Instead of putting top tier appliances in, opt for mid-range options and paint the walls. Choose energy efficient appliances, solid countertops and a new sink for maximum value. This type of renovation should return over 80 percent of the money you put in. 
  • Accessible bathroom redesign – Residents with disabilities will appreciate an accessible bathroom. As the baby boomer generation ages, this is at the top of older buyers' lists since it may become relevant with age. This type of renovation can be accomplished with a widened doorway, a walk-in shower and reinforced hooks, racks and toilet paper holders. While one of the more expensive repairs on this list at more than $16,000, this will typically earn you a 70 percent return on your investment. Plus, if you're in an area that's popular with retirees, you may be opening up your home to a market you may not have appealed to before. 

Rental Properties
When renting a home to tenants, every dollar counts. You'll want to make sure to take in more money in rent every month than you spend on your mortgage and any relevant repairs so the house remains an asset and not a source of debt. To increase the rental value of a unit, you may want to promote features that appeal to renters including parking, location, public transportation and nearby conveniences. Some of the most important features in a rental unit that are in your control, according to a survey done by SmartMove, from most to least important include: 

  • High-speed internet – In some suburban and rural areas, it can be difficult to get a good internet connection which makes remote work and common activities like streaming videos difficult. Check the unit's internet speed ahead of time using a free speed-testing website and know where the connection falls compared to the national average. If it's slower than expected, reach out to competing providers and see if your building can be wired for alternative services. In multi-unit properties, it can also be worth the investment to have a building-wide internet connection with multiple access points so tenants don't need to set up their own services.
  • Walk-in closet – 89 percent of respondents look for a walk-in closet when viewing new apartments or homes. Storage is extremely important so adding closet space in a hallway, bedroom or large bathroom can be worth the small cost. There are also plenty of options for storage units at furniture stores that resemble built-in closets if you don't want to spend the money on a permanent change.
  • Soundproof walls – While soundproof walls are the third-most important feature to tenants, most people won't notice this during a walk-through of a unit. Make sure to point out any soundproofing when showing a rental property so renters are aware of the work you've done. Floors that muffle sounds are ideal, but may be more expensive. Carpet and rugs can also help with soundproofing and there are now decorative panels you can buy for wall and ceiling sound dampening. 
  • In-unit washer and dryer – Adding an in-unit washer and dryer can help increase rents right away. For smaller spaces, a stacked unit or an all-in-one washer/dryer might fit well. Make sure to get an extended warranty so you won't need to shell out cash for any repairs as that could detract from any increases in rent you earn with this improvement.