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Renovating a Rental Property: Practical Aspects

Last modified: 2021-05-26 | Approximate reading time 6 mins

A well-kept rental property has several benefits: your tenants are happy and you can charge a quality price for a beautiful space with up-to-date features. However, when it comes to renovating a rental, it may be difficult to keep costs down while also finding ways to maximize the return on your investment (ROI’s).

Even if the initial stages of seeing a return prove difficult, renovations are a necessary consideration. If you’re finding it hard to see the positives in rental property renovations, look no further than this article as we’re here to offer a breakdown of the practical aspects of this project.

Renovating a rental property: the practical aspects

The first step is knowing when to renovate


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One of the key aspects of renovating a rental property is knowing when to renovate. It's best to take on renovations when it will lead to an increase in the value of your property while driving in higher ren to avoid over capitalizing. For this to happen, it’s important for yourself as a landlord and property owner to understand the long-term financial gain of taking on specific renovations.

Consider adopting the mindset that you would if you owned the space yourself, and further, avoid over-renovating. It’s not crucial to strive for picture-perfect standards, but instead, make sure the property looks inviting, up-to-date and well put together. 

If you know there is something severely wrong with a major aspect of the property itself, including plumbing, electricity or heating, and thus, could leave renters at risk, it’s necessary to renovate these aspects. Of course, above all, the property must be liveable.

Finally, let’s remember that before taking on any renovation, bear in mind the province-specific regulations and requirements for commercial renovations. In regards to large renovations or changing structural elements of the property, you’ll likely need a permit. If you’re unsure about whether a permit is necessary, do some research before beginning any renovation. 

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Opt for renovations that will please renters

There are plenty of simple renovations you can complete to make your rental space aesthetically pleasing while keeping costs down. As mentioned, making sure your property is well-maintained is key to it being attractive to tenants. In the following paragraphs, you will find a list of ideas for easy and affordable renovations.

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Wash and repaint the walls

This project shouldn’t take longer than 48 hours and won’t cost very much. Further, it’ll work to breathe new life into the room that you’re painting. It’s recommended that you keep the colours fairly neutral throughout, allowing for your tenant's furniture to be the real star of the show. Also, wash down window and door frames for an added touch of cleanliness. If you’re painting the frames, try to keep them in a light, neutral colour. This will draw the eyes of your tenant outside and allow for the space to feel bigger and brighter.

Improve storage to make the apartment more practical


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For most renters, storage will be on top of the list of the make-or-break elements when choosing a living space. Thus, improving storage is one of the ways to maximize profits, especially when it comes to smaller apartments. 

The bathroom is one area of the home that could always use a bit of extra storage. If you're looking for tips to improve your storage solutions for this room, we'd suggest taking a look at our article on the subject.

If possible, look for places to build additional closets within the property or include a wardrobe where space allows. If this isn’t doable, and exterior space is available, we’d recommend building a shed in the backyard. A shed is an excellent addition to a property, no matter how large or small. It offers homeowners an alternative space to store out-of-season gear, unused household items and other things that refuse to fit in the interior. 

Lastly, this isn’t a project that will break the bank, and if you’re thinking about it, consider checking out our article.

Work on the landscaping

Even though this is outside of the rental property itself, it’s still important for the yard and surrounding exterior spaces to be well-maintained. Not only will this add curb appeal to the rental, but it will offer tenants an inviting exterior living area. Prune any surrounding trees and get rid of weeds, dead leaves and other debris. Cut your grass and make sure all outdoor gardens are well watered and looked after. Make sure to consider the seasonal aspects of these jobs, as well as the possibility of planting year-round plants and trees to add to the aesthetic appeal of your rental property. Landscaping is an excellent investment in any regard, so do take the time to invest just as much in your exterior space as you do in the interior.

It's further important to bear in mind that many outdoor jobs require a permit. So, if you’re taking on a large renovation, make sure you've applied for the correct permit and have it in your possession before moving forward with any large-scale changes.

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Update fixtures and accessories

These may seem like insignificant renovation points, but again, paying attention to these small aspects of your rental property can greatly improve your return on investment. Consider updating the blinds or curtains, as nothing will brighten a room as well as new blinds. Install new door and cupboard handles, keeping the style and colour as simple as possible but making sure to match all fixtures to others around the home.

Two areas of the home that'll be looked at very seriously by renters are the kitchen and bathroom. As a result, these rooms should be given extra care and attention. Curious about some small ways to improve these spaces? Check out our articles on the subject:

Brighten up the joint!

Light fixtures won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but they will have a huge impact on the overall feel of the place. An outdated light bulb or fixture can detract from the look of your rental property, and you wouldn’t want a renter to choose another place just because of bad lighting. Pay special attention if there is already a serious lack of natural light available, as the lighting will be paramount to the look and feel of the apartment.

Carry out regular maintenance to ensure the cleanliness of the property


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Now, this should always be a point of consideration for any home but is especially true when regarding a rental property. Before a viewing or when a new tenant moves in, make sure to clean places that aren’t generally paid attention to: walls, ceilings, floors, windows, behind the kitchen cabinets and so on. If you have carpets, consider hiring someone to specially clean them. Having a spotless apartment can make-or-break how much your prospective tenants are willing to pay!

Renovating a rental property: choose between DIY jobs and hiring a professional

In many cases, you may believe that completing these minor renovations on your own is an exceptional way to save money. However, in some instances, you may end up spending more than you intend to. Consider a job as simple as painting. Hiring a professional painter who understands the correct techniques, methods and colours to use could save you several hours of planning and application. Further, as a landlord, you’ll want to get tenants in as soon as possible. If you’re completing complicated and time-consuming renovations, this will be difficult. This small example of how you may believe you are saving money when you are actually spending.

However, when working with a contractor, be certain that they have the correct paperwork to complete commercial renovations. In Quebec, the CCQ license is required for a contractor working on your home. In Ontario, you must work with someone who is a certified and registered contractor with the OGCA. 

Get 3 renovation quotes for your rental property renovation project can help you get quotes for your rental property renovation project. By submitting your rental property to us, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will get estimates from trusted professionals.

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