When it comes to remodeling a rental property, most real estate investors and landlords focus on the kitchen and common living areas. However, if you want to get some really good bang for your buck, you should consider upgrading and remodeling the bathrooms. For a very small price tag, you can significantly enhance the appeal of your property and attract more prospective renters.
The Benefits of a Bathroom Remodel
A bathroom is a refuge. It’s a place where you can shut the door and care for and pamper yourself. It should feel luxurious and indulgent. Yet, if you look at most rental property bathrooms, you get the exact opposite. They’re old, outdated, and dingy. Updates are typically afterthoughts.
As a landlord, the overarching neglect for bathrooms in rental properties gives you a chance to make your property stand out. All it takes is a simple remodel project and you’ll reap benefits such as:
- Instant appeal. Pictures of a gleaming new bathroom are sexy. If nothing else, you can tout these images in a rental property listing and garner additional interest and attention.
- Cost-effective. A bathroom remodel doesn’t have to be expensive. While it all depends on the size of the bathroom and the finishes you want, you can perform moderate upgrades for just a couple of thousand dollars.
- Easy to DIY. Unlike a lot of house projects, a cosmetic bathroom remodel is something that handy landlords can do on their own. This makes it much less expensive and gives you all the control.
- Increases property value. Considering selling your property in the near future? Upgraded bathrooms will certainly enhance the property value. This means you get value both now (increased rents) and down the road (sale price).
Tips for a Cost-Effective Bathroom Remodel
If you’re going to invest in a bathroom remodel, you need a plan. Here are some tips to ensure you generate maximum return on investment:
Set a Budget
It doesn’t matter if you’re gutting the entire bathroom to the studs or just upgrading a couple of cosmetic items – you need a budget. A firm budget guides your decision making process and ensures you don’t enter into negative ROI territory.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to include a 10 percent cushion in your budget. This means if you’re planning to spend $3,000, you should really anticipate spending $3,300. This extra amount protects you against unforeseen issues.
Many people make the mistake of researching ideas and planning their remodel prior to setting a budget. However, this leads to project scope creep and makes it easy to overspend. The better strategy is set your budget first and then gather ideas that fit within this budget.
Websites like Pinterest and Houzz are great for collecting ideas and inspiration. You can also work with a designer (or even a friend who has good taste) to get some additional opinions.
Old, dated tile is the telltale sign of a bathroom that’s in dire need of a remodel. Upgrading the flooring is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to modernize.
While you can always rip up the old tile and retile the floor with a sleeker option, you might not even have to go this far. Removing old tile is by far the most time consuming part of the job. Why not install luxury vinyl flooring directly over top? It’s quick, easy, and cost-effective.
Painting walls a clean white or crisp neutral can make the space feel bigger and cleaner. And considering that most bathrooms have minimal paintable wall space, this is something that won’t cost you more than a few dollars.
If your bathroom currently has a tub and shower, consider combining them into one upgraded walk-in shower. Tubs are pretty much just for looks these days and you can do a lot better with the square footage they take up. A nice frameless shower door with two or more showerheads creates a luxury look that leaves a lasting impression on prospective renters.
Dated looking bathroom vanity holding your bathroom’s appearance back? Thankfully it’s fairly easy to replace a vanity with a newer option. And with many big box retailers selling complete sets with the vanity, countertops, sink, and faucet, it’s a no-brainer! (Just make sure you remove the old vanity prior to redoing the floors so that you don’t run into any surprises if your upgraded vanity has different dimensions.)
Who says you have to make massive changes to a bathroom to give it a fresh look? Sometimes the most interesting visual tweaks are the simplest. Bathroom hardware is a great example.
Bathroom hardware – which includes faucets, drawer pulls, towel racks, and showerheads – is extremely simple to upgrade and only costs a few dollars. And with so many different options available, you can go any stylistic direction you’d like.
Upgrade the Mirror
Is your current bathroom mirror a cheap, frameless option that’s original to the house? Upgrading the mirror can make a huge visual statement (and doesn’t have to cost very much).
One option is to simply frame out the mirror. This involves measuring the mirror and cutting wood at 45-degree angles to form a frame around the mirror. You can stain or paint the wood any color you’d like. (You may even choose to use decorative crown molding for a unique, ornate appearance.)
The second option is to remove the existing mirror and buy one or two standalone mirrors that can be hung above each sink. This option may require some drywall repair and painting, depending on how the previous mirror was attached.
Green Residential: Houston’s Property Management Leader
You should never take occupancy for granted. As a landlord, you must constantly think about how you can enhance your property’s appeal and value to ensure low vacancy rates, higher rents, and greater profitability. And at Green Residential, we’re happy to help. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive property management services.