Owning a rental property isn’t easy. Part of the business is maintaining the house, which is (often) most cost effective if you do it yourself. After all, what else are you going to do in the evenings or on a Saturday afternoon? That’s why I put together a few DIY project tips for landlords to keep in mind.
1) Quality Beats Quantity
When you need a certain tool for a DIY project, don’t go with the cheapest one you find. A quality tool is one thing where it makes sense to pay a little more for something that lasts. Assuming you’ll take on similar projects with other properties, it only makes sense to invest in something you can use time and time again.
2) Renovate Between Tenants
Renovating a home while tenants are living there is a lose-lose situation. Tenants get frustrated because you’re invading their privacy and causing a nuisance. Even if they aren’t home while you’re doing the work, they probably aren’t happy with the fact you’re there.
Plus, their stuff is only going to get in your way. To paint the cabinets, you have to move everything off the kitchen counters and put a drop cloth down. To plant flowers outside, you’ll need to get their kids’ toys out of the yard. And bathroom upgrades- which have some of the highest returns of any DIY project- means fidding around in one of the most private rooms of the house.
3) Curb Appeal is Crucial
How does the yard look? Not just the yard, but what about the patio, mailbox and fence? Is the mailbox surrounded by weeds? Is your fence falling apart?
Regularly maintaining and improving the outdoors is a great way to keep your property occupied and profitable. Plant a few flowers to add color to the lawn. Consider adding on to the patio, filling sink holes, or putting up a retaining wall to create a flat space for children and pets to play.
4) Get Rid of Old Carpet
Even though having some carpet is nice, most people prefer hardwood or linoleum throughout the house. It’s easier to clean, won’t stain as easily as carpet when the tenant’s kid spills their Kool-Aid, and is generally seen as a more luxurious floor covering.
Plus, it’s something most DIY landlords can do in a weekend thanks to the ease of the latest hardwood and linoleum flooring products out there.
5) Renovate One Room at a Time
While in-between tenants, it may be tempting to do a complete overhaul on the home. But instead of starting multiple projects, just do one at a time. You’ll finish much faster, plus prospective tenants will be more likely to rent if they only see one room under construction when they visit the home.
Plus, it’s a lot less expensive! Laying hardwood throughout a whole house isn’t cheap. Doing it for just the upstairs or those 2 rooms that needed it the most is much more manageable on your wallet and time.
6) Green is Good
Investing in green products for the home is a good investment both financially and socially. Not to mention they typically last longer than traditional units.
Here are a few examples of what you can do:
- Install low-flush toilets
- Put water-saving shower heads on every shower
- Replace a tub with a shower (if you’re renovating the entire bathroom)
- Install solar panels (your tenants will love the lower energy bills)
- Put in efficient HVAC and water heating systems
Even though you may not directly benefit from some of these, your tenants will! Some will even be willing to pay more, knowing they’ll have lower bills and are living in a greener home than the alternatives.
7) Stick with Areas with High ROI
DIY landlords will often renovate anything they don’t like. While this is logical, it makes more sense from an ROI perspective to focus on certain areas of the home.
The kitchen and bathrooms are the best rooms to work on, as your ROI is normally about 85%. Improving the flooring, as mentioned earlier, also has a great ROI of (usually) at least 70%.
There you have it- some of the best DIY project tips for landlords. We acknowledge that these activities aren’t always the most fun in the world, but they help you stay involved with the property, learn a few new skills and will save tens of thousands of dollars over time.