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9 ways to increase rental returns

9 ways to increase rental returns

By Sarah Lefebvre on Apr 26 2019

There is a direct correlation between a property’s appearance and the rental income it is able to produce.  Moreover, there is a distinct correlation between a property’s presentation and the tenants it attracts. 
With the right improvements landlords can significantly increase the amount they can charge on their property.  Of course there is a fine line between improvements which can increase rental income and those which simply leave you over-capitalised, so you’ll need to think carefully about embarking on any extravagant purchases or extensive renovations. 
Increasing the rental income of your investment property is a key priority for smart property investors and it isn’t as difficult or as expensive as you may believe. 
Here are some simple but effective improvements which can make a big difference to your rental income:

1. Street appeal

We have all heard the adage ‘first impressions are the most important and this is true for rental properties too.  If your investment property is a house with a front garden, spend some time tidying up the garden beds, remove any weeds, water blast the paths, paint the fence and clean the windows.  If you own an apartment, perhaps add window boxes, clean the front door or give it a fresh coat of paint and add a new front door mat to make the place more welcoming.

2. Refresh the bathroom

People are prepared to pay more to live in a clean house with a clean bathroom.  This doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on re-doing the bathroom, this can be achieved relatively economically.
If your tiles are outdated, stained or tired, you don’t need to re-tile the bathroom, simply paint over outdated or tired tiles with tile paint.  This will give you bathroom a fresh new look for a fraction of the price of re-tiling.  
If you have an enamel bath, it is also worth re-enamelling this as it will transform the look entirely and again doesn’t cost a fortune.
Replace any old shower curtains, shower heads and fixtures, scrub away any mould and if need be put in a new vanity – these are relatively cheap but make a huge difference to the presentation of the bathroom.

3. Kitchen makeover

The kitchen is the heart of the home and like bathrooms, renters are happy to pay more for a home with a good kitchen.

A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in a drab kitchen, especially if cooking splatters have become a feature!  Don't forget your worn tiles - a little primer and paint can make a huge difference.

Renters, like buyers, appreciate nice appliances, so if yours are looking a bit tired perhaps consider replacing the dishwasher, oven or fridge.  You can purchase affordable 2nd hand appliances on eBay or keep an eye out for sales.  If you don’t have a dishwasher it is worth adding one as this will automatically increase the rental return of your property.  These aren’t ridiculously expensive and if you are handy you can install it yourself.

Swapping cabinet doors can give your kitchen a whole new look.  If entirely new doors are outside your budget you can make a huge difference by simply replacing the handles of your cupboards and drawers.

Have a look at the kitchen benchtop – if it is damaged with stains and scratches, it would be worth replacing it with a cost effective option such as laminate.  This will help freshen up the whole room and won't cost a fortune.
Finally, if your kitchen floor is a little worse for wear, lift the lino and if you have them, polish the floorboards underneath – if they are in good enough condition - otherwise lay vinyl flooring, which is easy to clean.  Alternatively, you may like to use tiles for a contemporary cool feeling.

4. Add off street parking

A car space can be a huge bonus especially if your rental is in a high density living area such as the inner city or in the beach side suburbs. In fact, the closer your place is to the city the more value the parking space will add to your property.  Perhaps you could add a car port out of the front of the home or create a drive way in the front garden.    This can cost a bit, however it’s worth talking to your accountant to find out what is tax deductable.

5. Add a bedroom

The more bedrooms, the higher the rental.  Does the layout of your property allow for an additional bedroom? Perhaps your place has a separate dining room or some dead space that could be converted into another bedroom, or perhaps an extra-large room that could be split into two.  To add a stud wall, new door and ceiling fan won’t cost you very much, but will allow you to add an additional bedroom rate to your weekly rent.

6. Add storage

Tenants love storage and easy and cheap additions like wardrobes in bedrooms will increase appeal and rental value.  There are many budget friendly places such as Ikea and Bunnings, that offer a range of storage solutions that won’t break the bank but will be enticing to renters.

7. Add a laundry

Internal laundries are desired by many tenants and can certainly increase your investment property ROI.  Perhaps you can make some space in a bathroom, the hall way or in the kitchen to fit a washer /dryer.  Tenants will love the convenience of an internal laundry and happy to pay a bit more.

8. Outdoor entertaining space

An outdoor entertaining space is a great draw card for tenants and in Australia as we love being outside.  It will make your place more enticing to renters and add value to your property when you go to sell.  You don’t need to spend a fortune, by adding a deck, tiling a courtyard, adding a gazebo and BBQ plus some outdoor furniture will be a big draw card for renters.

9. Use an LJ Hooker Property Manager

An LJ Hooker property manager is an important asset to help ensure you are maximising your rental return.  They are experts in the field, have in-depth local knowledge of the area and the types of tenants your property is likely to attract.  They are also a valuable source of information on where you could add value to your property.  They would love to talk to you about what features can add to your investment to increase your weekly rental return.

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