All real estate investors want to get the most from their properties. Adding value can be directly to the structure or adding additional revenue streams
If you have a mulitplex and extra room on the property consider storage units and rent out at the going rate. Be sure and set your rules if you don’t want them using it as a garage to rebuild cars.
Take time to speak with furniture rental companies and include a pamphlet or flyer of theirs with your tenant’s Welcome packet. And make sure you get a portion for any of your tenants that rent from them.
Okay, this is one to be careful – if you have an unattended area then it’s prime time for theft. I once had candy machines in the laundry room and I removed them after too many attempts at getting quarters kept damaging the machines. If you have an attended desk or host – either buy your own machines (small candy dispensing – like m&m) or make arrangement for larger machines which a company can come and restock. Don’t forget to have small supplies like laundry soap, dish detergent, and cleaning supplies
Coin operated Machines
I have mixed feelings about coin-operated washing machines and dryers. If you have apartments without their own washing machines and dryers then consider earning extra money by having them installed by companies that have specifically coin-operated machines. They will split a portion with you and you don’t have to buy the machines. There are a couple drawbacks so read your agreement with them carefully.
Pay particular attention to how long you are obligated to have them and if there is a trial period. Additionally, who is responsible for damages.
If you do decide on coin operated washers/dryers ask a few apartment owners for recommendations. I have heard there are some unscrupulous companies and I once inherited one. The coin operated machines came along with the apartment I bought and I don’t think I ever got a penny from them. For some reason they always said there was no money when they collected- or there was some sort of damage I needed to pay for. I found that hard to believe or else I had a really good theif that never pried anything apart.
Eventually I got rid of them; I do believe, if I recall right, that they didn’t want to leave because they felt I was under contract even though it was the past owner that signed a contract with them. I will have to check with my lawyer, hypothetically, if they actually could have held me to that contract. Lucky for me they found another sucker….er…landlord so all ended well.
Pay Attention to Curb Appeal
Obviously, you want your whole apartment (house) to look spectacular, but don’t forget curb appeal. Even though you are scrubbing the interior don’t forget to trim down bushes and mow the lawn. Never give a tenant a discount for mowing the lawn or picking up. They will think that a trashed house is how it should look and will return it back to you the same way, even though you gave them a discount. (Ask me how I know).
By having a nice curb appeal you will have more potential renters targeting your properties and that means more money in your wallet. Ask yourself, would I want to live here? Is it clean – do the bushes and lawn look tidy? Are the trees trimmed?
Edging a lawn does not take that long and a professional lawn care person can do this quickly and inexpensively. An edge to the lawn just makes the rental look polished.
Adding curb appeal is like the cover of a good book – if the cover is ugly who wants to read it? It might be a good book but your chances of someone being attracted to it are slim.
Consider using higher-end fixtures- no not expensive – just higher end. Use S-type doorknobs in either pretty chrome or brass. So they sparkle. Any run-of-the-mill rental can have cheap doorknobs and faucets. But if you spend a little extra it will add character. Do your upgrades between renters – I never upgrade with them in there without a good reason.
An exception would be when you have a really long-term tenant.
Nice Light Fixtures
I am not talking about chandeliers here, but get clean nice light fixtures. Not those stupid square glass things that cost 5 bucks. Yuck. While we are at it, make sure the rental is well lit and nice and clean for show.
This may seem like a no brainer – duh, raise rent so you’ll have more money. But that is not what I am talking about. What I’ve found is real estate investors don’t want to fuss with raising rent so they will just leave a tenant in there and whoa! I’m not charging enough -and then will raise the rent all at once.
Be consistent in two areas – always raise your tenants rent – just a little when their contract comes up for renewal. Not enough to scare them; but it’s just business; you know, inflation. They should expect the price of renting should increase each year so it’s better to increase by just a small nuisance than an insane shock to their money parts. They are less likely to leave if you don’t do that big massive rent hike.
And then secondly, always raise the rent when a tenant moves out. The tenant moving in should almost always be paying more than the person who just left (usually).
With that being said, of course, we live in the real world – if the real estate bubble explodes and you have to lower it to match others in your area then you need to do so. Just don’t be the cheapest in your area – just the nices, cleanest and most desireable.
This kind of goes along with the nicer fixtures – consider clean white trim in the vacant rental (never with a present tenant). One of my pet peeves is sloppy painting and invariably the brunt of that sloppy work is the trim. Consider new white trim- you can buy it on sale in bundles – try Homedepot.
If you find good painters and repair people – keep them! Pay them on time and treat them well. The cost to you by chintzing them will be way more in the long run – you need good people and let them know by paying them on time and the going rate or a hair more. You are looking for a painter that won’t let paint drip (or paint onto the trim when they shouldn’t!) and a repair person who knows you will pay on time so you will be their number one client.
For obvious reason, good repairs and painting will increase the value of your property.
You don’t have to change the carpet and other floorings every time a tenant moves out – but for Pete’s sake – if the colors are hideous 1960’s burnt orange – can we replace it with new color? Color will add appeal to your property but don’t over due it – you need your color palette to be more on the nuetral tones so a perspective tenant can visualize their furniture in the property before they move in.
Keep a List of Potential Tenants
If someone wants to rent from you and you don’t have one available – take their name and number and add to a list. Better yet, email – and blast them a notice when you have a rental coming up.
Keep before pictures – but after cleaning – and include these in your blast so they know what the place is going to look like (hopefully) when it becomes available. Do this before the rental is vacant. Note – in most states you have to give a set amount of time before you can have access to an occupied rented apartment and show it to prospective tenants.
Make an arrangement with your tenant to go for pizza while you show their apartment if they will clean it tip top and be gone when you show it. Have your prospective tenants come at the same time or only stagger a few minutes so you can get them all in at the same showing.