Rental Property Renovation – Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

By Pat Larkin

homerepairWhen you are updating or renovating your rental property, you are also committing to make a substantial investment. Think about the term “update”, it actually means bringing the property up to date so that you can charge the maximum rent for it in a competitive market. You want to be sure that you put your money where your prospective Tenants will appreciate it most.

First and foremost, get that cottage cheese (acoustic) off of those ceilings! Now, this may involve some asbestos removal but it is well worth it for the major change it will make to your property. An option to scraping the ceilings is to “skin” them. There are actually some lightweight products out there that you can apply over the acoustic. You tape, texture and paint it just like drywall and again, the effect is great!

Next is to restore those tired and dull fiberglass tubs and showers with epoxy paint. This is a simple process and they can fill any chips, dents or cracks. You will have a wide selection of colors to choose from and the cost is very reasonable… around $150.00 per tub or shower. You will want to have a professional do your tub restoration as the product is highly toxic. Just look for tub restoration on-line or in the yellow pages.

Now, it’s time to resurface your double dark 1970’s cabinets with a lighter color. You can do this the traditional way with enamel paint or glaze and that works well enough. We have found though, if you are going for a solid color, ask your tub restoration guy to do it for you. The epoxy paint will last longer and will not chip and crack like enamel paint is inclined to do.

Next, hardware; update all the old door knobs, towel bars and toilet paper holders with the latest finishes; bronze or brushed nickel (note: be sure to do this BEFORE you paint). You can typically replace all of the hardware in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home for between $200.00 and $300.00 from a big box store.

Now you are ready to update your light fixtures. When you match them to your new killer hardware, it ties the look of the property together in a great looking package that your prospective tenants will love. Our experience is that the big box stores are your best resource for these products for price and selection.

In conclusion: Remember that renovation is part of marketing your property for lease and you want to make the best impression that you can. Be sure to get the most bang for your buck by putting your money into the things that will WOW your prospective tenants the most!

If this information was helpful to you, see our short video on the same subject:

Pat Larkin, together with his wife Kris, owned and operated one of the largest residential property management firms in Orange County, California. Additionally, he has been successfully building, developing and managing properties for over 30 years.  After selling their property management business in 2009, Pat and his wife founded and developed “Manage To Make Money” which is a resource for property managers providing Books, Documents and Forms, Live Seminars, E-Books, Free Webinars, Tips and Private Consulting. For more articles by Pat see his blog at:

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