Getting the Most of Your Rental Income

Are you finding it’s difficult to get higher rents from your rental properties?  It may be time for some upgrades.  Competing with new construction can be difficult, even if your rentals aren’t terribly old.  Putting a little bit of money into your properties will absolutely help to increase their rental value and may help you attract high quality tenants.

Below are some easy (and cheap!) upgrades that you can perform that are practically guaranteed to bump your rents and get your properties off the market faster.

Upgrade the Interior Doors


Most new construction will feature paneled doors, which is a huge selling feature.  Give your old, boring hollow-core doors a cheap and easy upgrade with some decorative trim and paint or stain.  There are tons of tutorials out there on how to do this, but Sherri Durley has a great post here.   If you’re not interested in all that cutting and measuring, you could purchase picture frame moulding instead of decorative trim.  This will cost a little more but it would definitely save time.

However you do it, this $50-ish upgrade will give your property an entirely new and polished look.  Don’t forget new handles to complete the makeover experience.

Paint or Stain the Trim

Gone are the days where renters appreciate the golden beauty of oak.  Today’s modern tenant prefers darker stains or painted wood.  While this is a very time consuming project, it will pay you back in spades.  Pro Tip: Remove the trim and use a power sprayer to apply the paint or stain evenly.  If you don’t own a sprayer, you can rent them from paint suppliers or home improvement retailers.  

Check out how much bigger and brighter white trim can make your space:


Upgrade the Faucets

Replace the kitchen and bath faucets with more modern versions for a quick and easy upsell to your prospective tenants.  An inexpensive gooseneck kitchen faucet like the one here will transform the look of your sink and give it a modern feel.  In the bathroom, a simple brushed nickle faucet set can add a lot for around $25.  Check out the difference that other folks have experienced with these easy upgrades:



Upgrade or Refinish the Kitchen Cabinets

This is definitely the most pricey upgrade but it can be done on the cheap.  Chances are, your boxes are in good shape and the exterior simply needs a bit of a facelift.  If you’re able to paint the existing cabinets, this could be a very inexpensive upgrade that could take decades off the age of your kitchen.  At the very least, new hardware can modernize the space just enough to make a difference.

Check out what a difference a new paint job can do for those old cabinets!


Add an Accent Wall

This is one of your most inexpensive and easiest improvement options.  Choose the best wall in your living space and give it a splash of color for around $50.  You can go bold but our pros recommend sticking with something neutral if you don’t want to date the property within a couple of years.  Or if you’re having a hard time deciding on a color, you could even allow a new tenant to select from a palette of colors prior to move-in.  Tenants love to be included in the process, especially when it involves personalizing their home.


Increase Closet Space

A large closet is a huge selling point for most tenants and can increase the value of your property in their eyes.  But many older homes are seriously lacking in available closet space.  How can you remedy this on a budget?  The cheapest solution is to install two rods in the closets to create more hanging and storage space.  You can also go all out and create fancy built-in closets, but you may find the initial costs a bit staggering — especially with an ROI that’s hard to measure.

Here is a great tutorial on a double-rod installation that will fit any budget!


Improve the Tub & Shower

Quickly and easily add more space to your tub and shower by installing a curved shower curtain rod.  For around $40, you’ll both modernize and enhance the space.  Go wild and try a double curved rod, like this one at!  This upgrade is so cheap and easy, you’ll kick yourself for not having done it earlier.

shower rod

Upgrade the Commode & Vanity

While you’re in the bathroom, consider an upgrade to the toilet.  Swapping out your old, round toilet for a more modern, elongated set will take years off the appearance of the bathroom.  Remember that bathrooms are an extremely important selling feature to potential tenants and an easy $100 upgrade to the porcelain throne may help you reach your market rent faster.


If you still have room in your budget, consider an upgraded vanity and/or sink for the bathrooms.  Assuming you have a linen closet or other storage space available for the bathroom, consider putting in a pedestal sink.  This makes the bathroom look larger and more modern for around $100.  If you don’t have storage available, look into a new vanity or refresh the one you have now with a dark stain or a coat of bright, white paint.  Don’t forget new hardware – it catches the eye and is a huge selling point.


Window Rods & Blinds

Is your rental home still rocking those off-white mini-blinds from 1988?  It’s well past time for an upgrade.  Your standard mini-blinds may be inexpensive, but they’re usually poor quality and they’re definitely a beast to clean.  We recommend an upgrade to faux wood or cellular blinds.  You can find these at your local home improvement store or check out an IKEA for some really modern options.


Blinds can be a bit of a pain to order and install, plus most tenants are going to cover up those blinds with curtains.  A nice alternative would be to install basic curtain rods instead.  There may be some windows (or patio doors) that you’ll want blinds on, but for your bedrooms and living spaces, consider trying simple curtain rods.  Be sure to mount them into the studs and use a center support for larger windows.  Avoid elaborate finials – they will date themselves faster than you think.


Your rental home is a major investment that will only grow in value over time with regular upkeep and periodic upgrades.  Spending a few hundred dollars on upgrades today can yield thousands in increased rent in just your first year.

Do as much as you are able to at your next turnover and you’ll find that your monthly rents will increase exponentially!  We implemented just a handful of these items with new carpet and were able to bring some older properties up to market rent amounts — an average increase of $150 per month.  That really adds up over the course of the year!

So get to work and watch your rents rise!

Posted by: Ali on August 24, 2016
Posted in: Uncategorized