Designing a rental property can be tough. For one thing, it’s not your home, so you don’t want to invest a ton of money into a dream space that you rent out to others. After all, tenants might not treat the property as well as they would their own since they only plan to be there temporarily.
Still, you want it to be appealing to those who could potentially move in, so you don’t want to leave it in a bare-bones state, either. A nicely-designed property can create a lovely home for your tenants as well as keep the unit off the market for longer periods of time.
Fortunately, you can make a few choices as a landlord that will please future tenants without breaking the bank or leaving you green with envy that your rental property looks better than your own place. Here are the top four design choices you can easily provide.
1. Curb Appeal
The exterior of your property will be the very first impression potential renters get of what’s inside. Average tenants won’t expect an immaculate front yard with manicured hedges, criss-cross cut grass, and a fountain, but they do want to see signs that you take care of the property, inside and out.
Whether you own a multifamily property or a single-family home, the process will be nearly the same. Start by removing any dirt or debris, as well as unsightly weeds or dead plants. Whether you own a multifamily property or a single family home, tend to the Then, spend time repairing any chipped paint or damage to outdoor spaces and features, such as the porch or the railings leading up to the front door or entryway. Addressing these repairs not only increases the curb appeal but ensures additional slip prevention and safety precautions for your tenants.
You might also want to add a homey touch with some potted plants. You could even repaint the front door to make it look fresh and inviting. With these small steps, you’ll have just enough curb appeal for your potential renters.
2. Kitchen Upgrades
The kitchen often stands as the most critical space for tenants — they call it the heart of the home for a reason. Once again, you probably can’t install a chef’s kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances and upgraded materials, but you can make small changes that will have a significant impact in the eyes of potential renters.
For one thing, you can always delight tenants with a slew of creative storage solutions. In terms of timeless kitchen design trends, storage always wins out as a top addition — it makes the space more useful and visually appealing when everything has a designated area. Whether you install a pot rack or refit the pantry with smart shelving, you can easily knock this one out of the park.
On top of that, most tenants will prefer a crisp, clean kitchen — clean both literally and design-wise. You could repaint the cabinets white if they’re a darker hue, or install a light subway tile backsplash to brighten things up.
Something as simple as swapping cabinet hardware for a more modern finish could make a huge difference without breaking the bank. Be sure to hire a professional cleaning service after one tenant moves out and before another moves in, so the space is sparkling.
3. Working Appliances
Appliances certainly affect the overall design of your rental property, but this one has more to do with utility than with aesthetics. Perhaps your rental property has a few items that no longer work as well as they used to. Your tenants will tire of having to call you in to repair something over and over — they might even move out due to the inconvenience.
In this case, you might be better off replacing your problematic pieces with newer models. Not only will updated appliances attract tenants, but they’ll also make your life easier with fewer repairs. Plus, you can choose versions that use less energy, saving money in the long run. If you plan to sell your rental shortly, you should know that kitchen renovations typically see an 80 percent return on investment.
4. Neutral, Timeless Tones
Finally, your potential tenants will walk into your property and try to imagine themselves living there. They can’t always do that with loud or otherwise overstated colors on the walls, floors or finishes. Do your best to neutralize the apartment with shades that would go with just about any palette. Most landlords will choose an off-white or gray.
The same goes for the rest of the finishes in your apartment. Simple, timeless patterns, shades and materials will suit tenants now and in a few years. Ultimately, you want the place to appeal to as many people as possible. Choosing personalized paint colors or bold countertops will alienate many potential renters.
Finally, if you want to make it even easier for someone to imagine living in your apartment, stage some furniture for listing photos or even walkthroughs. Having a sofa in the living room or a full dining table in the kitchen makes it easier to gauge the size of the space — renters will want to know their items will fit.
Rental-Ready Design Principles
With just a few steps, you can ensure your rental property has what tenants want — a functional space that looks good and feels fresh and clean. You’ll be handsomely rewarded for your efforts when you have no problem finding a renter to move in and start earning income.