Make Your Rental Property Desirable to Tenants

Makeover Your Property and Get It Rented

a couple painting their kitchen
Hero Images/Getty Images

For each day your rental property is vacant, you are losing potential rental income. There are simple fixes to make your property more desirable to prospective tenants. Here are five tips that can help your property stand out.

Curb Appeal

First impressions are lasting impressions. If the exterior of your building is not up to par, a prospective tenant may not want to come inside. Here are some inexpensive ways to increase your property's curb appeal:

  • Remove weeds, trash, and debris.
  • Make sure the lawn and shrubbery are well-manicured.
  • If you have a porch or outdoor area, add a few flowers and plants to create an inviting, lived-in feeling. Make sure to keep them alive because dead plants are worse than no plants.
  • Remove chipped paint, repair broken banisters, and replace torn window screens.
  • Make sure the mailbox, light fixtures, and house number decals and plaques are in good condition.
  • If not in good condition, purchase new ones at the local hardware store or refresh with a coat of pain.
  • Have a designated area (preferably out of sight) for garbage and recycling receptacles.

How to Makeover With Paint

For about $25, a can of paint has the ability to completely transform a space. A fresh coat of paint can revive tired walls, brighten dim hallways, and highlight architectural features, such as built-in bookcases or high ceilings.

In a rental, your best option is to go with a satin or semi-gloss paint. With this type of paint, crayon marks, scuff marks, and even grease can easily be wiped off, as opposed to flat paint, which requires additional applications to remove stains. Where applicable, also paint the trim. You don’t want your sparkling clean walls to be accented by dirty, chipped molding.

If you are painting outdoor railings, siding, shutters, etc., make sure to choose a suitable exterior paint formulated to handle harsh weather conditions. Properly preparing the exterior surface to be painted is a crucial step if you want long-lasting, quality results.

Stick to Neutral Paint Colors

You want your property to appeal to the masses. Even though you may think a hot pink bathroom is spunky or lime green kitchen cabinets lend a cool modern twist, the majority of people don’t. Stick to neutral paint colors, such as beige, grey, and cream. You can always offer the tenant the option to paint the apartment/house to their taste upon move in as long as they paint it back to a neutral color when they move out.

The neutral theme extends to tiles, hardwood floors, carpeting, light fixtures, and cabinets. Picking neutral, timeless designs will save you money in the long run as you will not have to spend money to constantly update to the most current trend. According to design guru Nate Berkus, examples of timeless finishes include shaker style kitchen cabinets, stainless steel appliances, pedestal sinks in the bathroom, white subway tile backsplashes, Carrara marble, and slate tile floors.

Kitchens and Bathrooms Sell Properties

No one is saying you have to go out and completely remodel your kitchen or bathroom. The first way to attack either of these rooms is to CLEAN! Mop the floors, polish all appliances, and deep clean cabinets (inside and out), bathtubs/showers, toilets, and all hardware; also, make sure the grout gets a good scrubbing. Mirrors and reflective surfaces should be free from film and fingerprints.

While you are cleaning, don’t forget to look up! Remove dust, cobwebs, and grease from fans and light fixtures. Also, be sure the fixtures have working light bulbs. You will want to highlight the amount of light the property receives; leaving light fixtures with partially working light bulbs is a no-no.

After you have cleaned the rooms from top to bottom, you can judge if any additional measures need to be taken. Purchasing new knobs and handles for cabinets is an inexpensive way to makeover your room.

If not cost prohibitive, equipping the home with matching appliances is desirable. A cheaper option is to purchase an appliance cover (e.g., stainless steel cover), which can go right over the front of your existing appliance. You can also purchase touch-up paint to fix scratches on non-stainless appliances.

In addition, if a bathroom sink and tub do not match, hardware stores sell epoxy paint, which can give an old pink sink or rusted white tub a brand new lease on life. These DIY kits are far from goof-proof; so, you may want to hire a professional, such as Permaglaze or Miracle Method, to do the refinishing for you.

Know Your Competition

An easy way to makeover your property is to simply emphasize its positives. Check out local newspapers, real estate office, and sites like Look for properties that are similar in location, price, and specs (number of bathrooms, bedrooms, square footage, etc.) to yours.

If a rival property is emphasizing a gut renovated kitchen, steer clear from competing in that area if yours is 10 years old. Instead, your selling point should be the floor to ceiling windows that bathe the apartment in sunlight. Have a balcony or backyard patio perfect for entertaining? Close to public transportation? Sell those features!

Every property has something special. You just have to understand what makes your property unique and desirable, and then let the rest of the world know about it! Sell what your property has; don’t focus on what it may be lacking. By following these five makeover tips, you will have potential tenants knocking down your door in no time!