Every landlord wishes they could increase their rent without upsetting their tenants. In most markets throughout the country rental properties are still in high demand. With first time homebuyer numbers stagnant this is a trend that does not appear to be changing any time soon. As a landlord you need to be able to find the magic rent number where you are maximizing revenue while not overplaying your hand. In most cases this can be done by making subtle updates with the property and tweaks in your presentation. You can’t expect the market to be the sole reason for a rent increase. If you own rental property, now is the time to do everything you can to get the most out of your property. Here are five tips to help maximize rental property revenue.
- Improve exterior. Regardless of who you are there is a good chance you are influenced by what you see first. Rental properties are no different. It is essential that you put some time, and money, into improving the exterior of the property. Too many landlords think that a few new appliances and some paint on the wall is enough to generate interest. In hot markets, there is a good chance that the interior is similar to a half dozen other properties your prospective tenant looked at. What can help separate your property from the pack are the exterior updates you make. Replacing an old fence, painting the garage, planting new bushes and weeding the driveway all make a huge difference. When a tenant pulls up and sees a clean, well-kept property they will be much more inclined to view the property with an open mind. They will almost instantly feel like home and be willing to pay a premium for it.
- Update flooring. First impressions are not relegated to the exterior. It is important that a tenant has a good impression when they open the front door as well. People’s eyes tend to go to the floors and walls when they enter a room. Depending on the flooring there are several ways you can go. If you currently have hardwood floors they should be cleaned and restained every few years. Old, beat up flooring makes the rest of the property feel the same way, even if it is not. If there are scratches on heavy populated areas, you could consider a runner by the entryway. The same is the case if you have carpet. It is no secret that carpet has become far less desirable than hard wood. While you don’t necessarily need to rip the carpet up, you should consider alternative flooring. If you don’t make a change the carpet needs to look immaculate. At a minimum you should have it professionally cleaned every year. Regardless if you have carpet, hardwood, vinyl or tile floors you need to make sure they are cleaned, updated and look perfect prior to any showing.
- Generate storage. Storage is always a popular concern for prospective tenants. While it is difficult to create storage there is a good chance you may have more than enough in the property without realizing it. If you have an attic, basement or garage you need to maximize that space. Start by emptying out the attic. The attic often has more than enough storage needed if properly cleaned and updated. There is no doubt this can be a hassle, especially if you have a handful of old items up there, but it shouldn’t take you too long to clean. The same is the case with the basement and garage. Getting rid of a few old boxes and items that you need to get rid of anyway will help improve storage and create additional appeal.
- Improve presentation. There is no question that showing your rental can be boring and tedious at times. For every five times you show the property, four can be a waste of time. However, you never know when a showing can produce a tenant that stays for multiple leases. Instead of simply going through the motions and mailing it in, you need to treat every showing like it is important. There should be a mix of selling the property, without overselling, and providing information your tenant needs. You should arm yourself with information on locations in town, projected utility bills and snow removal questions. You should give the tenant a reasonable amount of time to walk the property without rushing them out the door. Your demeanor and how you answer any questions asked can make a tenant feel comfortable with you. In many markets that could be enough to push them over the edge and take the rental.
- Be ready to act. The goal of any sale is to illicit immediate action, with a rental showing no different. In a perfect world your tenant will ask questions about the lease and be ready to move forward on the spot. You should anticipate this before it happens and have everything ready on your end. Have a copy of the lease in your car for review or be able to send it electronically. Be ready with information on the security deposit and set firm dates for receipt. They probably don’t have their checkbook in the car, but if you give them a few days to act you can tell if they are serious. Tell them you cannot hold the property until the lease is signed and deposit received. This should prompt action and get the ball rolling.
You don’t need to give your rental a complete makeover to improve appeal. Try these five tips to help squeeze every dollar your can from your rental property.