Do you have an investment property that is currently costing you more than it’s earning? If you are finding the payments are becoming hard to keep up with, and the rental income isn’t helping, it might be time to make some changes to your property.
For a bit of work and a small amount of money, you can increase the rent on your property which will in turn decrease the amount you have to pay out of your own pocket for the mortgage repayments. Did you know that if you increase the rent amount by just $10 a week, every year, in ten year’s time you will be earning over $5,000 per year more than you are now? This will free up more money to either get your mortgage down or put your money towards another investment property. Read on for some tips to get started.
Take some care with the front yard, the driveway and the porch. First impressions are important so it is worth taking some time on this area. You can begin to win over possible tenants from the moment they arrive at the front gate if it is looking nice enough.
If the front garden is overgrown and the house is looking a little worn, hire a bin and get to work pulling the old shrubs out. Clear away any clutter and have it all carted off for you before you show the next prospective tenants around.
Update the kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is the place where the family gathers and the meals are cooked, so it is probably the number one most important room in the house to get right. If you leave a run-down, dirty or out-of-date kitchen in your property you’d be surprised how much this can affect your income return. Give your kitchen a quick update in some of the following ways:
Change the oven – freestanding ovens that are old and barely functioning can completely change the feel of a kitchen. Purchase a new oven and have it installed for an instant update of the entire room.
Add a dishwasher – if you can afford it and fit it in, a dishwasher is well worth adding. A lot of rentals offer a dishwasher as standard these days, so if your place is up for rent at the same time as a few of these others, it is more likely to be looked over.
Paint – If you can’t afford to change all of the cabinetry, or if it’s completely fine but just in a faded old colour, you can simply paint over the cabinets, brightening the whole room instantly. Take it one step further by changing over the handles as well.
This one might cost a little more to update, but it is well worth it. If you have carpet that is wearing thin in some areas, it will make the entire place look run-down. If you can’t afford to replace the carpet throughout the entire house, just look at changing it in the high traffic areas such as the hallway or lounge room. While you are looking at the flooring, have a think about whether or not the kitchen flooring might need some updating too. Old, peeling vinyl isn’t going to command more dollars, but a quick installation of floating floorboards or new tiles certainly will.
It may seem like a luxury, but air-conditioning in Australia is almost essential and is certainly in high demand. It won’t only increase the amount of rent you can charge, but it will help the property move faster each time it is on the market. If your rental is available in the peak Summer period, tenants are less likely to sign a lease when they are sweating it up during the viewing. Offering some kind of AC will help move the deal along.
Storage is an important part of any home, whether it is a house or a unit. Add additional storage where possible to make the property more appealing. Add built-in wardrobes into bedrooms, and linen closets into halls. Make sure the kitchen has enough cupboard space available and if possible, secure a storage cage in the basement parking of a unit block.
Clean up the bathroom
Bathrooms are another important room in the house. If yours looks old or dirty, or appliances are starting to break, it is definitely time to invest some time and money into your bathrooms. Spruce up the tiles by using a company that specialises in grout cleaning and if they are really daggy and old, even look at having the tiles painted a new colour. If the ceiling has become mouldy over time, paint over it with no-mould paint.
Make sure everything else is in perfect working order. Check the doors and hinges on the vanity, make sure the toilet isn’t running and check the taps and handles for cracks or leaks.