If you’re a rental landlord, you’ll want to earn as much from your property, or properties, as possible. You’ll also want to keep your tenants happy.
You don’t have to make expensive improvements to increase the value of your rental property. In fact, there are a lot of basic improvements you can make yourself, without having to pay for a skilled tradeperson.
Unless you know what you’re doing, you should avoid making electrical, plumbing, or gas repairs.
With a little effort and investment, though, you could increase rental yield while reducing tenant turnover.
Always consider the type of tenants that you want to attract, and what they are looking for. Student flats don’t need the latest appliances and increasing rental value through the addition of expensive furniture will price a lot of your target market out of the property.
Family properties will benefit from the inclusion of as much storage space as possible.
Whether you operate as a private landlord or use a letting agent, the following are some simple DIY improvements that you can make to increase rental yield.
Tidy Up The Garden
Kerb appeal really does make a difference because first impressions matter.
The front garden is the first thing tenants see when they visit. At the very least, you need to ensure it looks respectable and tidy, but a little effort can go a long way here.
If there is a problem with local parking, consider opening up the drive, but remember that you will need permission to convert the driveway if it isn’t already used for parking.
Gravelling the driveway can have a big impact on the exterior of a property. It is impactful, easy to maintain, and you can add potted plants to brighten it up.
- Remove existing tarmac and hardcore, ensuring that you are left with a decent earth base. Once clear, buy aggregate consisting of different sizes of rubble. This compacts nicely and gives a suitable base for carrying the weight of cars.
- Use a compactor to compact and flatten the rubble. Try to ensure that the surface is as flat as possible, because this will prevent pools of water from collecting.
- Once you have a flat surface to work on, add weed liner. This prevents weeds growing through the gravel, so will minimise the amount of maintenance that’s required.
- Spread the gravel, and use a rake to evenly spread it across the area. Compact the gravel to prevent it from slipping around.
- You should add a camber to the driveway, so that it is slightly higher in the middle than at the edges. This allows rainwater to run off.
Prospective tenants will really appreciate rear outdoor space, and regardless of which way the garden faces, you can consider adding decking or patio space to enable your tenants to make the most of every inch of outdoor space. You could build a shed to give external storage, create a fire pit or other socialising area.
A Fresh Coat Of Paint
Some tenants may want to personalise the property by painting rooms or redecorating and, unless they want something truly outlandish, it is a good idea to let them. A tenant that has redecorated will be less inclined to move out because they’ve invested in your property, and they have a design they’re happy with.
Painting the outside of the property is a good place to start. Drainpipes, doors, window frames, garage doors, and other highly visible external surfaces can be prepared, cleaned, and painted to really brighten up the external face of a home.
When painting the interior of a property, buy more paint than you need. When you need to refresh the paintwork, you will have the paint needed and won’t have to update a whole room just to cover up a few scratches. It is likely you will want to paint all of a property in the same colour, enabling you to buy in bulk and potentially save even more money. Neutral colours are preferred, not only because they work with any décor and furnishings, but because they will work in any room of the property too.
Painting is one of the most affordable DIY improvements you can make to a property, and really gives a bang for your buck. It will make it much easier to successfully market your building. If you don’t like decorating, you can pay for a professional decorating service and still enjoy the cost benefits of improved rental yield.
Update Kitchen Appliances
There are several reasons to consider updating the appliances in the kitchen. It is very difficult to maintain an oven and hob when you aren’t in the property, and if you have a tenant that doesn’t regularly clean them, they will quickly look tired and dirty, even when they have been thoroughly cleaned.
Older appliances tend to break down more often than modern ones, and professional families and individuals will be put off by the inclusion of old appliances.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on new appliances. Ensure that items like the washing machine, cooker, and any other appliances are new and in good condition. This will prevent the new tenant from having to consider getting their own upgraded versions.
Replace Battered Doors
Doors are easily damaged, and they are overlooked by landlords. If there is no major damage, you could just update them with a coat or two of paint. However, nicks and potmarks, holes and scratches, will make the doors look tired, and new internal doors are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace.
- Allow approximately 2mm of clearance around the sides, the top, and bottom of the door, allowing clearance room for carpet or laminate.
- Reuse existing hinges if they’re in good condition, or buy new ones that match the existing size.
- Hold the door up to the frame using 2 pence pieces for the gap around the door and small wedges under the door.
- Chisel the hinge recesses, ensuring that the bevelled edge of the chisel is over the waste wood.
- Place your hinges in the recess, and mark holes where the screws will go. Remove the hinges and drill shallow holes using a bit that is slightly smaller than the screw. Screw the hinges into place.
- Hold the door in place, using wedges underneath the door to support the weight, and then add the top screw on each hinge. Once all hinges are placed, you can add the rest of the screws.
Reface Cabinet Doors And Replace Handles
The kitchen is a high impact room; one of the areas that potential tenants will first look at. It tends to be a busy room, and a decent kitchen can be multipurpose. Rather than buying brand new units you can update existing ones by replacing or even refacing doors.
Refacing essentially means replacing the veneer on the front of doors, drawers, and exposed frames. Self-adhesive veneer is very easy to work with, but if doors and other elements are hanging loosely, and it can’t be fixed by replacing hinges and other hardware, you can buy replacement doors. This still negates the need to replace the whole unit and will give the kitchen a fresh new look.
If the doors are in good condition, but you still want to refresh the kitchen, consider cleaning and repainting them, or simply adding new unit handles. You will be amazed at the difference that some new cupboard handles can have.
Update The Countertops
Countertops are vital to a good quality kitchen, but even the best quality surface can become worn and tired looking, especially if they aren’t cared for properly. Take precise measurements of the surfaces and take these to your local hardware supply store. They will be able to cut the countertops to your exact measurements, which will make it a lot easier when it comes time to fix them.
There are a lot of different materials that can be used to create a beautiful kitchen worktop.
- Laminate is an affordable option, but it won’t last as long as more durable materials like granite or quartz.
- Hardwood offers a beautiful and long lasting surface, but it will need regular treatment. Hot pans can scorch and damage the surface.
- Granite is a natural rock formed by the cooling of magma. Different granite has a different natural colour, enabling you to choose a surface that matches your kitchen décor and style.
- Marble has a very distinctive look and, like granite, comes in a variety of colours and shades to match kitchen décor. However, it can easily stain, so you will be reliant on tenants to quickly clean up any spills.
- Quartz has a distinctive look and is hardwearing and durable. It is also very heavy, so may require specialist installation. Man-made variants of quartz can come in any colour.
- Stainless steel has a clinical look, but it is durable. It is also a lightweight material, easy to clean, and resistant to heat and acidic spills.
Another area of the kitchen worth the modest investment required is in the installation of a backsplash. A backsplash protects the wall and potentially makes it easier to keep the kitchen clean. It can also be used to add an extra design feature to the room. The area covered by a backsplash is only small, which means that even higher priced tiles can be used without breaking the bank.
- Ensure the area behind the sink is clean and level. You don’t have to add waterproofing, because this is not considered a wet area. You are protecting against splashes not running water.
- Screw a temporary board into the wall with the top surface aligned with where you want the bottom of your backsplash. This will be removed once the work is complete, but will serve as a convenient and efficient means of ensuring a straight installation of the tiles you use.
- Clean the walls, degloss if necessary, and sand the surface so that it is as smooth as possible, before filling holes and scratches. Allow for a 1/8-inch gap around the perimeter of the tiles, for expansion of the tiles.
- Find the centre of the area where tiles will be installed and mark a vertical line here. If you have a sink or hob in the area where you are tiling, it might be better to centre the tiles over this focal point, to give a better looking and more uniform finish.
- Lay the tiles on the worktop below the wall. This enables you to make sure that you won’t be left with cut tiles that are too narrow. If this is the case, move the tiles so that you can cut wider pieces for the ends.
- Mix adhesive and apply it to a small section of the wall. Tile adhesives dry quickly, so only apply it to small sections of the wall at a time. Comb the adhesive with a notched trowel, this will add texture to the adhesive and allow the tiles to get a purchase.
- Add your first tile, using horizontal and vertical centre lines as your guide. Use a rubber float to apply some pressure to the tile.
- Use tile spacers between each tile and continue to lay tiles according to your design and plan.
- If you need to cut tiles, use a set of nippers for small sections, or score the surface of the tile and use a tile cutter for larger cuts.
- Mix tile grout and apply diagonally across the tiled surface, once the tile adhesive has had chance to dry thoroughly.
- Once the grout has dried, apply a grout sealant before filling gaps with sealant and allowing everything to set and dry.
Built in wardrobes are a great addition to a property because they mean that your tenants do not need to buy or move their own wardrobes.
Built-in wardrobes are convenient, and relatively easy to install. They are also ideal in smaller bedrooms, because they utilise every inch of space, compared to free standing wardrobes that do not fully utilise the space available. They also allow you to utilise space above the bed and above where freestanding wardrobes would normally come up to.
You can add mirrored doors which will also negate the need to have separate, freestanding mirrors, saving even more floorspace in the room.
Replace Light Fittings
Light has a big impact in a room and the appeal of a property, and so too do the light fittings that provide that light. Light fittings don’t cost a lot, and there is a huge selection of styles, colours, and types of light fitting. Simple fittings can be bought for around £10, and they don’t clash or compete with the décor of the room.
Alternatively, you can pay a little extra and install light fittings that become a major focal point in the room. If you need to rewire, ensure that the power is switched off at the mains, or get an electrician in if you aren’t comfortable doing the work yourself.
Improve Rental Yield With Simple Changes
Some small changes can have a massive impact on the look and appeal of your rental property, and if you want to optimise your rental yield, it is these changes that will help you. A little investment, and some DIY work, can really have a big impact on your bottom line, and it may not be necessary to pay for things like extensions or a total renovation of the property.