Update these elements of your home to attract the best renters

Sure it can sting a little, but renovating your rental today can yield a healthy return tomorrow. We ask the experts for their best tips on which necessities and niceties are guaranteed to yield the best return.
Nanjing Night Net

John Fredericks, principal at Place, says that successful rental properties share a common formula – they are clean, functional, simplistic and honest.

“Tenants want their property to be clean, in good working order and exactly as advertised,” he says. “To maximise [your] best return and rental income, present your property at the highest standard achievable within your budget.”

Consider your target market and how best to meet their needs. “The biggest trap for landlords, is renovating to meet their own personal wants and needs rather than the market requirements,” says Fredericks. “Avoid items like expensive lighting, European appliances and luxurious carpets. It is important not to over-capitalise on personal preferences, and focus more on practicality, tenant requirement and budget.” Build and extend

Whether it is taking out an old bath to make a more generous bathroom, or removing a wall for more space and air, rejigging a property can be worthwhile. “Another room can add value and maximise return versus expenditure,” Fredericks says. “Bedrooms add the most value, followed by an extra bathroom, and car parking space.”

Mary Ellen Dowling, from Hauss Realty, agrees. “Adding an en suite to a single bathroom home, or opening up a small dark living area onto a deck, will improve your competition considerably,” she says. “A granny flat or secondary dwelling can double rental yield of your property, because it allows multiple tenants to dwell in self-contained areas.” Related: Renovating your home versus an investment propertyRelated:A room-by-room guide to renovating for profitRelated: Renovating in real life vs The BlockWhite-out

Photo: Affordable Style Files

As rental properties are often viewed vacant, a good first impression is crucial. “For a quick update, a fresh neutral lick of paint is a no-brainer,” says Dowling.

Kara Shanahan, from KDS Design, agrees. “Chalky white is a good choice,” she says. “I like Base White by Dulux for its matte finish that hides sins like uneven and damaged walls. For polish, finish with a semi-gloss on skirting, doors, architraves and timber features.” Window treatments

Use simple window treatments to block out light, conceal ugly frames or hide an outlook not worth viewing.

“Sheer floating white curtains or flax-coloured linen curtains off-the-shelf from Spotlight or IKEA are ideal and inexpensive,” says Shanahan. “Roman blinds are also effective. It can be pot luck on whether you can find one that fits your window exactly, so go larger if required.” Flooring

When it comes to choosing what is underfoot, floorboards are hard to beat for stylish durability. “They bring better rental yields as they don’t require cleaning or get shabby with age,” says Dowling. “Polish up old timber floors, replace tatty carpets with good quality fade and stain resistant carpet, or consider wood-look vinyl flooring.” Photo: Affordable Style FilesSurfaces

A tired kitchen can be updated easily with fresh surfaces. “Look for inexpensive materials that can be easily replaced,” says Shanahan. “Vinyl adhesive roll can transform an ugly bench top or old cupboard face in minutes. Kmart carries a good range.” Fixture overhaul

Gleaming new taps, shower heads and door handles are styling no-brainers. “It also lessens any impending maintenance issues,” says Dowling. “Update light fittings where needed, and ensure doors and windows have good quality dead locks. It is an attractive feature for tenants and often required for insurance purposes.”

Avoid decorative hardware styles, aiming instead for simple pieces that will appeal to most tenants. “Take the existing hardware with you when shopping, so you know you won’t have to drill any new holes in the walls,” says Shanahan. “Bunnings and IKEA are great for contemporary styles at low prices.” Bathroom update

Photo: Affordable Style Files

Replace old shower curtains with fresh white ones, add a Roman blind, or frost half a window for privacy and leave the top half clear for harnessing natural light.

“Fresh new tiles, a clean vanity, toilet, shower and bath, featuring good quality tapware, has a huge impact and real longevity,” says Dowling.

Bring the outside in

Keep outside simple, low-maintenance and livable. “Create a real connection between your external and internal, so your outdoor area is perceived as a second entertaining area,” says Dowling. “Before a viewing, organise for communal areas in the body corporate to be cleaned, oil the decks, have all external surfaces gurneyed clean, and put mulch on the garden beds. It will ensure a sparkling first impression.”

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