Top 10 Upgrades for Quality Tenants and Better ROI On Rental Property

Osprey Property Management   |   date September 2023

If you're a property owner looking to improve the return on investment (ROI) on your rental property, the right upgrades can work wonders. With a desirable rental home in excellent condition, quality tenants are more likely to pay a higher rent and stay longer, reducing your turnover costs. 

So, what makes a rental property appealing to the best renters in the Virginia Beach area? Today, our property management experts have compiled a list of top ten thoughtful upgrades that can make your property a renter's paradise and improve your ROI on rental property — without doing too much rehab!

Paint tools and colors, Virginia Beach property management services concept1. Add Smart Home Technology for Modern Appeal

Incorporating smart home technology is an excellent way to attract tech-savvy tenants. More renters look for these features as smart technology becomes an increasingly accessible part of everyday life. 

The installation of smart thermostats, keyless entry systems, and security cameras adds a layer of convenience and security. These features not only make life easier but also elevate your property into the modern age. 

If you're not sure about the best features to add to your property or how to get them up and running, property management companies often provide support in sourcing and installing these tech upgrades, making the process hassle-free for landlords.

2. Improve Lighting for a Brighter Living Space

The importance of good lighting in any living space cannot be overstated. A poorly lit environment often comes across as gloomy and unwelcoming, significantly reducing the perceived value of your rental property. In contrast, well-designed lighting can transform an otherwise dull space into an inviting, vibrant living area that potential tenants will find hard to resist.

So, how can you make this critical change to your property? The answer lies in upgrading the property's current lighting fixtures and opting for energy-efficient LED lights. 

Unlike older, incandescent bulbs that often produce a yellowish hue, LED lights emit a brighter, whiter light. Spaces look cleaner, larger, and more attractive. Even smaller areas like hallways or compact kitchens can feel much more open and airy with the right lighting choices.

Beyond aesthetics, there's also the functional aspect to consider. LED lights consume significantly less electricity compared to traditional bulbs, which is a selling point for cost-conscious tenants. The reduced energy usage will reflect favorably on utility bills, which can be a significant concern for long-term renters. 

3. Install Water-Saving Fixtures for Lower Utility Bills

When tenants look for a rental property, they're not just considering the rent; they're also thinking about the total cost of living, which includes utility bills. This is why installing water-saving fixtures in your rental property can be such a strong selling point. 

Reducing water consumption isn't just good for the environment; it directly translates into savings on utility bills, a benefit any tenant would appreciate. As a rental property owner, this is a strategic move that can contribute significantly to your bottom line by making your property more appealing to quality tenants.

The introduction of water-saving fixtures like low-flow toilets, aerated faucets, and water-efficient showerheads can make a substantial difference in the amount of water consumed. Unlike conventional toilets that use up to six gallons per flush, low-flow toilets can accomplish the same task with as little as 1.6 gallons. 

The impact of these upgrades isn't limited to just utility bills. You also appeal to environmentally conscious tenants by making your property more eco-friendly. People who value sustainability and are willing to pay a premium for living in a property that aligns with their values are often reliable, long-term renters. 

4. Choose Modern Flooring for Durability and Style

Flooring is one of the most noticeable features of any rental property. Outdated, worn, or damaged flooring can instantly make even a well-maintained property look neglected, severely affecting its appeal to potential tenants. 

In contrast, modern and stylish flooring can elevate a home's aesthetic and serve as a significant selling point. In today's market, the trend leans heavily toward low-maintenance yet stylish flooring options, and materials like laminate and luxury vinyl planks (LVP) are at the forefront of this shift. 

These materials offer the visual appeal of natural wood or stone but come without the associated high maintenance requirements or costs. Their resistance to stains, spills, and wear and tear makes them highly desirable for families, pet owners, and busy professionals alike.

High-quality laminate can last up to 25 years, and luxury vinyl planks can offer similar longevity. This long lifespan means that although the initial investment might be higher than sticking with older, outdated flooring options, the long-term savings in terms of maintenance and replacement costs are significant. You won't have to deal with frequent repairs or replacements, making it a wise investment for any landlord aiming to increase the ROI on rental property.

A home with excellent curb appeal to improve ROI on rental property5. Boost Curb Appeal for a Lasting First Impression

First impressions matter, especially in the competitive rental market. When potential tenants pull up to view your property, the exterior is the first thing they'll see, and it sets the tone for their entire experience. 

A neglected yard, peeling paint, or a disheveled entrance can be immediate deal-breakers, no matter how stunning the interior might be. On the other hand, a property that boasts a well-maintained exterior and an inviting entrance stands a far better chance of catching the eye of quality tenants.

One of the most effective ways to boost your property's curb appeal is through thoughtful (yet low-maintenance) landscaping. The addition of simple yet functional features, like a stone pathway or a small patio, can add character and utility to the outdoor space, making it more attractive to prospective tenants.

Paint is another powerful tool in your curb appeal arsenal. A fresh coat of exterior paint can significantly uplift the look of a property, making it appear well-cared-for and updated. Choosing a neutral but modern color scheme can make your property appealing to a broader range of tenants. 

Don't overlook the basics, either. Ensuring that pathways are clear, the front door is in good condition, and that any front-facing windows are clean and in good repair are small details that can make a big difference. 

6. Offer Energy-Efficient Appliances for Cost-Conscious Tenants

Offering modern, energy-efficient appliances in your rental property makes the property more appealing to potential tenants and positively impacts both the environment and utility bills. 

Given the rising cost of energy and increasing public consciousness about environmental issues, energy-efficient appliances are quickly becoming a must-have feature for renters who are savvy about their budget and their ecological footprint.

Switching out older, energy-guzzling appliances for Energy Star-certified models provides immediate benefits. For example, Energy Star-certified refrigerators are about 9% more energy efficient than only meet minimum efficiency standards. Similarly, energy-efficient dishwashers can save up to several thousand gallons of water over their lifetime compared to traditional models.

Cost-conscious tenants, particularly those who have the choice between similar rental options, are likely to be swayed by the long-term savings that energy-efficient appliances offer. Lower utility bills are a strong selling point, and many tenants are willing to pay a slight premium in rent for a property that will ultimately save them more in monthly expenses. 

7. Update Countertops for a Fresh Look

Countertops often serve as the centerpiece in key areas of a home, like the kitchen and the bathroom. Outdated or damaged countertops can significantly detract from these spaces, affecting the overall appeal of your rental property. 

Replacing old countertops with modern, durable materials such as granite or quartz can make an immediate difference in how prospective tenants perceive your property. This simple upgrade can give your spaces a fresh, revitalized look that speaks to both luxury and practicality.

Upgrading to premium materials might require a significant upfront investment, but it can pay off in multiple ways. Alternatively, choosing a high-quality laminate that looks nice and offers long-term durability can be a more cost-effective choice without sacrificing an improvement in quality and aesthetics for the property's kitchen. 

8. Expand Usable Space for Added Value

The desire for extra space is almost universal among renters, whether it's a young family needing an additional bedroom, a professional looking for a home office, or someone who desires an extra room for recreational purposes. 

If your property has underutilized areas — be it an unused basement, an attic, or even a large closet — you have an excellent opportunity to increase both your rental income and your ROI on rental property.

In today's remote working environment, converting an unused space into a home office has become an especially appealing option. A home office adds incredible value because it meets a pressing current need, allowing you to attract a demographic of remote workers searching for such features in their rental property. Given the potential for higher rent and increased tenant retention, the ROI of creating a functional, well-designed home office can be substantial.

9. Freshen Up With Paint (Inside and Out)

The impact of a fresh coat of paint on the atmosphere of a rental property is often underestimated. A newly painted space can feel cleaner, brighter, and more inviting. It's one of the most cost-effective ways to instantly revamp your property, making it more appealing to prospective tenants and thereby increasing your ROI on rental property. 

While it may seem like a simple upgrade, the choice of color can make a significant difference in how your property is perceived. Neutral colors like whites, beiges, and light grays have broad appeal. They serve as a blank canvas that allows potential tenants to visualize themselves and their belongings in the space. 

Neutral tones also make rooms appear larger and brighter, which is a big selling point for many renters. Furthermore, these colors are timeless, ensuring that your property remains contemporary and appealing for years to come.

10. Modernize the Bathroom for Greater Appeal

The bathroom is often a determining factor in a tenant's decision-making process. An outdated bathroom with aging fixtures and a lackluster design can easily turn potential tenants away. 

On the flip side, a modern, spa-like bathroom can be a significant draw, adding considerable allure to your rental property and increasing the ROI on your rental property.

Upgrading bathroom fixtures is one of the quickest ways to modernize this critical space. Sleek, contemporary faucets, water-efficient showerheads, and stylish mirrors can instantly elevate an average bathroom to a luxurious sanctuary. 

Choosing fixtures that offer both style and functionality is key. For instance, opt for faucets with a high-end finish like brushed nickel or matte black that look great and resist fingerprints and water spots. For showerheads, consider models with various spray options for a customized shower experience. 

The Best Virginia Beach Property Management Can Help You Upgrade

Upgrading your rental property with these enhancements can attract quality tenants and increase the ROI for your rental properties. However, making the right decisions on which updates to tackle first can be challenging without experienced insights. 

Osprey Property Management helps rental property owners simplify the upgrade process. Our team can advise you on the best way to upgrade a property while watching your budget dollars and improving your bottom line! 

To see better returns, reach out to our team. Or, start with a free copy of our resource for property owners, "10 Things You Should Do To Increase the ROI for Your Rental Property."

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