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How To Upgrade Your Home Make It Ready To Rent

Aug 30, 2017

If you’re a homeowner looking to offset the costs of owning a house, or even to turn a profit, consider becoming a landlord. In the Chicago area, it’s very possible to make a profit renting, which often isn’t the case in other parts of the country. In many areas of the country, the cost of owning a home is simply rising too fast for renting to be truly profitable. In Illinois and the Chicago area, however, it is still possible to use your house to make money as a landlord. If this is something you’re ready to take on, here are our top upgrade recommendations to make your home ready to rent.

First, consider your budget

Before you begin any renovation project, you should consider how much you are prepared to spend. When drafting a budget with an eye toward eventually renting your property, you should always consider the return on investment (ROI). For example, you could spend extra money on a trendy upgrade to your bathrooms and this may impress your potential renters for a while, but will it actually net you any extra money? In most cases, the answer is no. If you’re operating with a limited budget, keeping it simple is usually the best way to maximize your profits.

Inspect the home

After you have thought about how much you’ll be able to spend on upgrading your home, you should walk around the property with a camera and take photographs of anything you think needs to be fixed or upgraded. When thinking about how to upgrade your home, showing pictures to experts can get you a lot of helpful advice. Whether you’re thinking about simply repainting an area or redoing it completely, bring the photographs you took to an expert and get their advice before undertaking a project. A reputable supply store is a great place to start.

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal can simply be defined as how attractive your property looks from the outside. Of course, the outside of your home is going to be the first thing a potential renter sees, so focusing on curb appeal can really pay off for you as a landlord.

A potential rental should have a well-cared for lawn, properly secured spouts and drains, and sport no peeling paint or other obvious eyesores. Needless to say, the outside of your property should be cleared of clutter such as plastic decorations, and during the winter you should take great care to clear the area of snow. During the spring and summer, you can boost the curb appeal of your home by placing potted plants around your entryway. Invest a little time and money in making sure that your roof is in good shape too; not missing any shingles or looking damaged in any other way.

Do a thorough cleaning

Every part of the interior of your home should be cleaned before showing it to potential renters. If the house has carpets, a steam cleaning or shampooing will help rejuvenate them. However, if stains persist and you have hidden hardwood floors underneath, consider refinishing the original flooring before you put your house on the market.

Similarly, If pets have lived in the home, the carpets may need to be replaced completely in order to ensure the property is safe for renters who may have allergies. Going with hardwood floors for the replacement can be a very good choice, which we’ll discuss more later.

You should also conduct a thorough inspection of your HVAC system; any filters should be replaced and your vents should be completely cleaned. If there are any ceiling fans in the house, they should be checked as well. Often, dust and dirt can accumulate on the top of fans and contribute to allergies inside of a home. After you have cleaned all of the dirt and grime off of your fans, double check that they are functioning properly, along with every light switch.

Upgrade your floors

If you really want an upgrade, consider making the leap from carpets to wood flooring. While having hardwood floors installed can tend to be a bit expensive, it will more than pay for itself over the years as the value of your home increases and you save money on cleaning. There are several reasons why hardwood flooring renders a home more valuable than carpeting; the first reason is simply that wood floors are more attractive than carpeting. They’re also significantly easier to clean. While cleaning a carpet may require renting or owning steam cleaner, a simple mop can take care of most dust and dirt that accumulates on a wood floor. The other benefit of hardwood floors is their longevity; carpets may be cheaper to install, but they can require replacement every few years, especially if you have a careless renter. This is not the case with hardwood floors; a high-quality wood floor, properly cared for, can last for decades.

Take a look at security

When thinking about how to upgrade your home for renters, consider the issue of security as well. Any potential renters will be concerned about the security of any property they move into. If you can demonstrate that your property is safe, its value will increase. Changing all of the locks is a good first step. You will also want to make sure that every area of the house, both outside and in, is very well lit. Check all of the lightbulbs in the home and replace any that are old or burned out and consider adding more lighting, particularly outside near the front entrance and any stairs leading to the doorways.

Upgrade the windows and doors

Bringing your home into the modern day by upgrading all of the doors and windows is another way to increase its value for renters. Beyond looking fresh and new, modern technology has created windows that help filter sunlight and maintain proper air circulation very effectively. Replacing doors provides a great facelift and will take care of any leaks and drafts that can increase energy bills, which can cause financial strains on renters (or you, if you are including utilities in the rental agreement). The experts at a local building supply store will be a great resource in figuring out how much benefit you will gain from upgrading your windows and they can help give you an estimate on how much it will cost.

Address any tenant improvements in your lease agreement

Chances are that after you have started renting out your home, your tenants will want to make some changes of their own. You will want to make sure you address this in any lease agreement you have them sign. Any changes that they wish to make could potentially affect the value of your home, so you will want to ensure that everything big changes are approved by you and that small changes are returned to the way you had it once your tenants move out.

When you are writing up this agreement, you will need to specify which types of alterations require your permission as a landlord. Anything other than minor changes – minor being things that will not alter the property value or impact other tenants – should have your approval first. Sometimes renters will have great ideas that will improve the home, but if you think changes will negatively affect other tenants or the home’s value, you are within your rights to deny them. There are certain exceptions under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) that can affect your obligations with certain rentals, so make sure to understand all the legal aspects.

Consult your local supply store

Checking with a local supply store will not only provide you with the materials you need, but also with expert advice on how to upgrade your home. Properly preparing your home for a renter is a big undertaking, but with help from professionals you can make the process seamless and profitable.