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Renovating a Rental Property: Practical Aspects

Last modified: 2018/12/20 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

A well-kept rental property has a number of 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 property, it may be difficult to keep costs down while also looking to maximize a return on your investment (ROI’s).

Even if the initial stages of making money 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


source: unsplash

One of the key aspects of renovating a rental property is knowing when to renovate. It's best to take on any renovations when it will lead to an increase in the value of your property while driving in higher rent, and this is to avoid overcapitalizing. 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.

Try adopting the mindset that you would with your own home, as there is little point in over-renovating. Do not strive for picture-perfect standards, unless of course, this is how you would treat your own home. Make sure the property looks inviting, is up-to-date as well as put together. If you know there is something severely wrong with a major aspect of the property itself, including plumbing, electricity or heating, and could leave your renters at risk, then it would be necessary to renovate these aspects. Above all, the property must be liveable.

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 will likely need a permit. If you’re unsure about whether a permit is necessary, do some research before taking anything on.

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Take on simple renovations

There are plenty of simple renovations you can complete in order to make your rental property beautiful and appealing while also saving on the cost front. As mentioned, keeping your property well-maintained is key to having it be attractive to tenants. Some examples of simple renovations that you can muster are as follows:

Wash and repaint the walls

This project shouldn’t take longer than 48 hours and won’t cost you very much. Further, it will work to breathe new life into the space. 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


source: unsplash

For most renters, storage will be the make-or-break elements of choosing an apartment. Further, improving storage is one of the ways to maximize profits on a smaller apartment. If possible, build additional closets within the property or include a wardrobe where space allows. If this can’t happen, build a shed in the backyard. A shed is an excellent addition to any property, no matter how large or small. Especially because it offers homeowners an alternative space to store out-of-season gear, unused household items and so on. Lastly, this isn’t a project that will break the bank, and if you’re thinking about it, consider checking out our article.


Even though this is outside of the rental property itself, it’s still important for the yard and surrounding vegetation to be well maintained. Not only will this add curb appeal to the rental, but it will offer tenants an inviting living area. Prune any surrounding trees and get rid of weeds and dead leaves. 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 appeal of your rental property.

It is important to bear in mind that any outdoor work will require a permit. So, if you’re taking on a large renovation job, make sure you have applied for the permit and have it in your possession before moving forward.

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.

Brighten up the joint!

Light fixtures won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but they will definitely 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.



source: unsplash

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 the way in which 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 commercial office renovation project can help you get quotes for. By submitting your office renovation project 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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