The longer you hold an investment property for the more likely you will at some stage need to undertake some renovations and major repairs. Properties eventually just get tired and run down no matter how well tenants look after them. Floors get damaged, kitchens and bathrooms get dated, gardens die off and fences rot. If your property is in another state or country liaising with your management company to undertake the renovations on your behalf can take a lot of the stress and hassle out of it for you. In fact, a good agency will bring any renovations required to your attention and offer to project manage on your behalf for a small extra fee. Every time a property becomes vacant is a good time to assess what work is required and advise if any is urgent. At the end of the day the better a property is maintained the better chance there is of securing a quality tenant and increasing the rental return.
RENOVATION TIPS TO FRESHEN UP YOUR INVESTMENT PROPERTY:
· Painting – Always freshens up and updates a property. Always go for neutral colours and go for durable quality paint for a longer-lasting finish. Complete with a semi-gloss on the skirting, architraves and timber features.
- Flooring – Redo damaged floorboards, these become scratched over time and the gloss well and truly comes off them. Nothing is more attractive and classy in a home than shiny new floorboards. Use a specialist tradesperson for the best results, or you can DIY yourself for a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, if the carpets are damaged and stained, it might be worth replacing with fade and stain-resistant carpets, using darker colours where possible, not white or cream.
- Bathrooms – Vanities can be replaced for a reasonable price from bathroom warehouse factory outlets. Shower curtains can be replaced with fresh new ones, and tiles in some instances can simply be tiled over rather than ripping them all up. Even replacing tapware or fixtures can be a simple option to improve the bathroom.
- Kitchen – A tired kitchen can simply be updated with a fresh new benchtop or painting the cupboards and replacing the handles can provide a simple but effective solution.
- Window Covers – Replace dated curtains or vertical blinds with roller blinds – these are longer lasting and harder wearing. They also help block out light, conceal ugly window frames or hid an unpleasant view.
- Curb-side appeal – First impressions really do count and how a property is presented from the street will go a long way enticing people to look inside. Fencing should be intact, gardens weeded, hedges pruned and lawns neat and tidy. With the majority of tenants now having pets having a fully fenced yard will ensure your property is marketed to every potential tenant.
RENOVATIONS YOU SIMPLY CANNOT PULL OFF AS A LANDLORD:
- Termite damage
- Broken or damaged stairs, railings or decks
- Water damage to ceilings from roof leaks
- Structural damage
- Smoke alarms – New smoke alarm legislation compliance has to be carried out by 2021, so landlords should be budgeting for this
TIPS FOR PROPERTY MANAGERS HANDLING RENOVATIONS ON THE LANDLORDS BEHALF:
- Have a list of tradespeople and prices ready to go
- Try to use neutral colours
- Check out the Air Tasker app for unusual trade work
- Market place or e-bay often have things like vanities, toilets and bathtubs reasonably priced
- Remember to look for cost-effective solutions – it’s an investment property you aren’t renovating your own home
- Charge fairly for the work you put in to assist with the renovation
- Share before and after photos with your client
- Have fresh professional photos taken after the work has been complete for readvertising the property
- Bedrooms add the most value, followed by an extra bathroom and car parking space
- Sometimes just a fixture overhaul can be a just enough to modernise a property
- Avoid over capitalising
- Visual appeal first impressions do count – make sure the curbside appeal encourages people to want to look inside
- List what areas need an update in order of priority first
- Once repainted ensure doorstoppers are added to every door
Sure it might hurt the hit pocket a little bit today but longer-term the goal is to increase your rental return or increase sales value. Speak with your account as there may be tax benefits to spending a little money on renovations as well or equity in the property to assist with the associated costs of renovations. Another consideration is if you are prepared to undertake the renovations while a tenant is living in the property be prepared to offer some form of compensation like a rent reduction and have set hours and days the work will be carried out.