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5 Rental Upgrades You Can Do Yourself

Keeping up with the latest property trends – in terms of design and otherwise – helps attract new tenants. Yet, making rental upgrades can be time-consuming, tedious, and hard on your wallet. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are plenty of upgrades and renovations you can do yourself without having to spend on contract workers or expensive materials. Here are five ideas to add to your upgrade list this year.

Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

Nothing makes a room look and feel new like a fresh coat of paint. Do it each time new tenants are about to move in. Especially, for rooms where people spend the most time, such as the kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and bathroom.

In addition, take note of the current colors you’re using; are they warm and inviting? Do they maximize natural light? Paint color can make a difference in the look and feel of a room and can make small spaces look bigger. When opening up a small room, use light blue, hues of gray and cream, suggests HouseBeautiful.

Replace the Backsplash

The backsplash seems like an unimportant design element, but quite the contrary, it’s one of the many pieces that can date your property.

In older kitchens, backsplashes are typically 4 inches tall. Dated backsplashes are generally made of laminate or identical material to the countertop.

Tali Wee of Zillow

When it’s time to update, keep Wee’s advice in mind: “In updated kitchens, the short backsplashes are replaced with a backsplash that extends from the countertop to the cabinets. The most trending looks for these tile walls are white subway tiles or other porcelain, glass or ceramic tiles. I would stick to a classic looking finish, color, and materials, as crazy backsplashes can date a space very quickly.”

Install New Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are easy to replace and can be as inexpensive or pricey as you want. This upgrade also makes a significant difference in the amount of light in the room, which greatly impacts the aesthetic feel of the space. A dark room feels dungeonous and eerie; a bright kitchen is welcoming and inspiring.

Upgrade your lighting fixtures to match other property upgrades you’ve made. Don’t forget to swap your bulbs out for eco-friendly options (CLFs or LEDs), which use 25 to 80 percent less energy, according to

Upgrade Your Fireplace Doors

If your property is lucky enough to have a fireplace, consider upgrading its design elements by either painting the brick and replacing the fireplace doors. Find inspiration to paint your fireplace with these ideas from HGTV.

When replacing the doors, you’ll first need to figure out if you have a prefab (factory-made) or masonry fireplace (built on-site during the construction of the house). Experts at Brick-Anew explain the importance of this: “Doors for prefabricated fireplaces come in hundreds of different sizes. This means there is a good chance you will have to have a door custom made for your fireplace. Basic masonry doors come in small, medium and large which make them a much easier purchase.”

In either case, doors start at around $200 and come in a wide range of styles and materials. Decide on what you like and measure to find doors that fit. Buy and install yourself, which is a quick and easy process.

Enhance Your Curb Appeal

The first thing tenants notice when they come to an open house is curb appeal. If the landscaping of your property is less than ideal or the siding is fading and cracked, they’ll keep driving. Luckily, maintaining the outside of your home is one of the least expensive aspects of property maintenance.

Start by power washing your siding; rentals start at around $60 an hour. After the necessary weed whacking, mowing and landscaping, consider what needs to be added or taken out. Use plants that are low-maintenance, like bushes and shrubs that can sustain themselves through multiple seasons. You could also add a rock walkway to the door or put a cute wooden bench in the front yard.

Keep your property up-to-date all year long. You’ll attract more renters and have more features to promote when the property is empty. A little extra work goes a long way, so consider what you can do that won’t break the bank or take too much time.

Author Bio: Maile Proctor is a blogger and freelance editor. She writes about health and fitness, lifestyle, family and finance. She’s written for real estate sites like Lodgify, ApartmentGuide, ThinkRealty and more. Proctor earned her bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from Chapman University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking in San Diego, California.


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