Increase Rental Value Without Blowing Your Budget

Once you own your first Lehigh Valley rental property, you’ll soon find yourself exploring new ways to improve its value. There's no shortage of advice out there either. But you have a budget to be mindful of, and you know a complete makeover just isn’t in the cards right now. So, what can you do, maybe more creatively or in smaller increments, to help improve your bottom-line NOI and rental property’s value? Keep reading. These are the budget-friendly upgrades and updates you can add to your to-do list. Taking these small steps can increase value now and allow you the time you need to properly plan and budget for any major renovations later.

Going Green Adds Value

Upgrading your rental property to include environmentally savvy and energy-efficient options will always make your property more valuable. You can start small by swapping out energy-saving light fixtures or adding insulation. Explore water conservation options with fixtures and appliances. Look for ways to use daylighting and drapes to control light and heat in various spaces. These types of green updates are feasible for almost any budget. And you can plan ahead for more extensive updates, like replacement windows later.

Customize Curb Appeal

Don’t worry if you can’t afford to sew a new lawn or asphalt the drive. And it can be expensive to redesign a porch and invest in professional landscaping. But there are still creative and affordable ways to improve curb appeal, which directly affects the marketability of your rental property. Sometimes a solid weekend of yard maintenance is all that’s needed to trim up low-hanging tree limbs, rake leaves, and trim edges. Remove any dead or dying plants from flower beds. Spread a fresh bag of mulch or two. And introduce some inexpensive flower pots to spruce up the look of tired steps or porch settings. Window boxes are also affordable adds, great for introducing color and personality to the first impression.

Flooring Can Make All the Difference

You can typically negotiate great pricing for carpet and flooring remnants. And while you may not always be able to upgrade to high-value flooring materials, you can still make a space look brand-new without breaking the bank. Keep neutral colors that you can easily match, and be mindful of high-traffic areas that might require more substantial materials. Sometimes, a fun area rug is all you need to bring an open space to life, too.

Get Out the Paint Brush

From touch ups along baseboards to the bright-colored front door, spending a day with a paintbrush can help you add significant value to your Lehigh Valley property. Paints and sealants will protect surfaces over time, as well. But potential residents will always appreciate a fresh paint job, too. You don’t have to do every room and ceiling. Tackle one room at a time and stick with neutral shades that you can easily match and repaint later. If a deck area looks worn, a fresh coat of sealant could make it look new again. If there’s a small interior room, a fresh coat of off-white paint can make the room seem bigger. Get creative and keep track of those paint codes, so you can always have replacement gallons on hand for light touch ups.

Kitchen Updates on a Budget

One area of your Lehigh Valley rental property that presents the most opportunity for increased value could just be the kitchen. But, as you know, complete remodels could run anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. If you’d prefer to keep it well below those estimates, consider smaller upgrades instead. For example, replacing a countertop or adding an island could revolutionize a kitchen space. And if you need to go even smaller, start with knobs, handles, and light fixtures first. A new backsplash can introduce new personality into a tired-looking kitchen, too. You can then budget for a more gradual approach to replacing kitchen appliances and other major updates.

Bathroom Improvements

Right behind the kitchen remodel, the bathroom redesign is the next big-ticket room worth updating. But if you don’t have the budget for a complete makeover, much like the kitchen, you can explore smaller improvements first. Knobs, lighting, and paint touch ups are an affordable first step. New pedestal sinks or fresh mirrors in a bathroom can transform the look entirely, too. Replace the bathroom rugs, faucets, or window treatments now while you save and plan for the tub surround, plumbing, and other bathroom overhaul items later.

Exterior Upgrades to Improve Value

Curb appeal upgrades can be helpful in improving the marketability of your property. But there are also other outdoor improvements worth considering that also add value. You can explore inexpensive touches like colorful shutters or hanging a porch swing. Depending on your budget, a fenced-in backyard is a significant update that can translate to higher rent rates. Replacing railings, adding small storage sheds, and investing in a new mailbox can also add value-driven aesthetics.

Improve Storage Options

Another valuable addition is more storage. And you can get creative with your rental property’s layout by creating useful storage spaces. Maybe there’s an open area under the stairs worth framing in with shelves for more storage. Small nooks and crannies can also present smart opportunities for storing things. Some property investors will take a small bedroom and turn it into a walk-in closet or home office, both of which are highly desirable among potential residents. And any opportunity to create more pantry space is always a great investment.

Consider Smart-Home Upgrades

If you really want to add value, get smart with your property. Consider making small additions over time to introduce technology to your rental. Doorstep cameras, motion lighting, and smart thermostats have incredible benefits for you and your residents. Smart thermostats can harness the best of both worlds, green and tech. As your budget allows, smart lighting and appliances are also great additions to add value and marketability to your property.

Added-Value Extras

Improving your NOI also means exploring ways to generate new income streams from an existing investment property. So, while you’re making those upgrades to the space itself, you can also add value by introducing new services and value-driven extras. For example, if you own a multi-family unit, adding or updating a laundry room area is a huge plus. It’s a marketable feature that will also allow you to increase rates. If you’re not already providing pet allowances, it's worth looking into with pet deposits, fees, and terms to protect your interest. Residents won’t mind paying for Fido or Felix either. Consider offering additional parking, additional off-site storage, or cleaning services to your residents for a fee. They’ll pay for the convenience, increasing your opportunity for better NOI.

As a Lehigh Valley property owner, you can appreciate these tips and suggestions for improving your rental’s value and marketability on a budget. Yes, the major upgrades will always be helpful. But when you’re looking to stick within your means, these small adjustments can make a big difference in your bottom line. For more ideas about increasing property value, let the professionals at Axel Property Management help! We can take all the property management guesswork out of growing your investment portfolio, along with helping you stay on top of the day-to-day operations. Contact us to learn more!