There’s never been a more lucrative time to own rental property. With more than 30 percent of all Americans renting their homes instead of buying, you’re not likely to have vacant property for very long.

But just buying a property isn’t always enough to get it rented out. In fact, to make the most of their investments, a lot of prospective landlords buy fixer-uppers at low prices and then renovate them to make them appealing. Here are three ways you can revamp your rentals to make them charming enough to call home.

Spruce Up The Exterior

Depending on what type of exterior your rental property is adorned with, the most effective way to change its appearance may well be by sprucing up the outside. Outdated brick can be painted or its mortar can be repaired. Stucco can be repainted or covered.

And any ugly exterior can be covered by fresh, modern siding. Siding is a great alternative to most exterior surfaces. It comes in several different surfaces, colors, and even material you can paint yourself. Get someone local on your side. Call a someone in your area, like a Southern Cal or northern new jersey siding contractor, for details and pricing to see if it’s an economical choice for your rental.

Update The Kitchen

It is said that a kitchen sells a house. For a rental property, you don’t want to sink all your earnings into any part of the renovation.

However, an updated kitchen could be what causes a renter to rent from you rather than the house down the street. So, compromise by choosing some low-cost updates with big impact.

For example, give cabinets a facelift with a fresh coat of paint. Shades of white and gray are still very popular in the kitchen, but still neutral enough to appeal to a large audience. And adding updated hardware can go a long way toward classing up cabinets of any kind. Also, consider knocking down a wall if the kitchen is closed off and dark. Open concept flows throughout the main living area are still very popular. And lastly, update the countertops.

You may not want to shell out the cash for granite if it’s a large space, but there are certainly some good alternatives. Even laminate countertops come in a variety of looks and colors that can give a kitchen flare. Keep in mind that any large renovations or add-ons to a home might be subject to building codes in your area. Always ask before you build to save yourself from fines or tear-downs.

Redo The Flooring

Flooring can be a big expense, but a lot of cheaper alternatives will give a house just as much class. If the flooring in your rental is outdated or stained, it might be time to look at some changes. First, take a look underneath that old shag carpet to see if there’s a wood floor worthy of refinishing.

It will take some work but could save you money in the end to take advantage of what’s already there. If it’s nothing worth saving, then start to look at floor covering prices. Wood is still the most popular flooring, but you’d be surprised at how real some of the engineered flooring looks. And, usually, it comes at about half the cost. Talk to your local flooring experts to see what your best options are.

Ready To Rent!

Now that your property is renter ready, it’s time to attract the quality tenants that will pay on time and take care of the house. Making quality renovations so you can charge top dollar will help, but it’s also important to screen potential tenants. You can run a tenant screening report free to find out things like credit scores and previous judgments. This will help you determine whether or not a renter is a good risk.

And you can also ask for rental references and check to find out if they took care of previous properties and paid their rent on time. Just don’t be in such a rush to make money that you forget to screen your renters. In the long run, it will save you tons of time and headaches.

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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