This is the first of a two-part series. For the rest of our excellent tips on long-term rental maintenance investment, check out part two!
Let’s face it:
Constant maintenance on your rental properties can cost you a lot of time and money. If you’re like most small to mid-sized landlords, owning rental properties is more of a part-time job. That being said, converting your properties to low-maintenance while keeping them comfortable, homey, and durable for your tenants can be tricky.
So what can you do?
There are many improvements you can install in your rental property to enhance its durability. The more durable the upgrades, the more time and money you save in the long-run. While the initial cost may be hefty, the conversions will pay for themselves multiple times over with low-effort, long-term rental maintenance. Sounds good, right?
We’re going to share with you 5 durable improvements for your rental properties that will help minimize maintenance effort in the future.
1. Types of Flooring Which are Durable, Look Great, and are Easy to Install
Carpet in a rental property is susceptible to stains, discoloring over time, and is a breeding ground for dust and bacteria. Keeping carpet means that, if you’re trying to attract new tenants, you will need to replace it frequently. Stains in your carpets are unattractive and can cause a potential tenant to avoid renting. If you’re an attentive landlord, cleaning and replacing carpets is probably one of your most time consuming rental maintenance needs.
Hardwood floors, on the other hand, can look very attractive. But if they are not taken care of properly, they can wear down over time and replacing them is costly.
Upgrade your flooring to a material that will withstand the wear and tear from multiple occupancies to ensure less maintenance for you. Here are two types of flooring which are durable and look great:
Laminate Flooring: Unlike hardwood flooring and carpeting, this option is resistant to stains, impacts, and scratches. Laminate flooring is significantly cheaper than hardwood floors and carpet and also cuts the installation time in half due its tongue and groove system; you literally snap it together. Laminate floors also benefits tenants with allergies because it’s quick to clean and doesn’t absorb dust like carpet. Even though the connection from the tongue and groove system creates an airtight seal, if a piece were to get damaged somehow, replacing it is as easy as unsnapping the broken section and sliding a new one in its place.
Vinyl Flooring: This option is water-and stain-resistant, versatile, and provides good durability. The cost is similar to laminate flooring, but is still less expensive than hardwood floors and carpet. Even though this is offered in sheet flooring, we recommend the tiles because of the snap together installation. Vinyl flooring stands up well to heavy foot traffic, a big plus in properties with high occupancy. In addition, it is very comfortable under your feet and absorbs noise.
2. Include Practical Light Fixtures
Now, you probably think the light fixtures you use aren’t that important and can skip reading this part.
Hang in there (no pun intended).
You want to avoid using pendant lights. These are light fixtures you see hanging down from the ceiling at eye level. Avoid using these because they’re very fragile and if someone were to break one from running their head into it, you would be dealing with more than a rental maintenance problem. They’re also impractical due to the low amount of light they produce and small area they actually light up. Here is a suggestion for what you should be using:
Dome Lights: This easy to install option is usually what you’ll see. Dome lights come in all shapes and sizes, and can provide a whole room with light. Very inexpensive for you and your tenant, if paired with LED light bulbs, this can be a very practical option. These durable lights do not require constant maintenance since they’re up and out of the way..
Track Lights: Now, these used to be really bulky and unattractive a few years back. They’ve since been reduced in size, and made more durable and versatile. Being able to choose which way these lights face is great for kitchen lighting. Tenants who like to cook can easily adjust the lights so that some are facing over the oven and the others over the kitchen table.
3. Make Sure Your Doors Are Updated
Replacing the doors and windows won’t be as easy as installing new light fixtures, but ensuring they’re made of durable materials will make this a one-time ordeal. If any of your current doors or windows are damaged, I would suggest taking this opportunity to replace them immediately.
Doors: Depending on which door you’re looking at replacing; the front door or the bathroom door, you would choose different types. Exterior doors need to be made of a durable material, like steel or fiberglass, so it will withstand weathering and other potential damage. A simple coat or two of paint will make these doors look as attractive as a door made of wood. The difference is how indestructible the steel and fiberglass doors are compared to a door made of wood.
What about the interior doors?
For this, you want to adopt the famous KISS formula (keep it simple stupid). A hollow-core door will do the trick. Since this door is likely for a bedroom or bathroom, it won’t be necessary to install something that can hold up against a rogue Hulk. Hollow-core doors have a fiberboard honeycomb structure on the inside which makes them durable, light weight for installing, and very cheap (usually around $50).
Windows: Windows have come a long way. We recommend avoiding windows that have cranks or breakable handles (which you typically see on old windows). Simple vertical or horizontal windows will do the trick. They will also provide more security due to their locking mechanisms which are made of metal.
That’s it for the first half! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss part two of our rental maintenance series when it comes out next week. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and let us know what you think in the comments!