Savvy real estate investors and landlords know that you make your money when you buy. And if you want to purchase a property below market value, it typically means you’re going to be investing in properties that need a little TLC.
The real deals are often found near the bottom of the market with properties that seem to be in bad shape. Most people will shy away from these properties because they assume it’ll take weeks or months to rehab them back into shape. However, if you’re picking properties that have good “bones,” there’s no reason why you can’t have them turned around within a weekend. Seriously.
How to Transform Your New Rental Property
If you close on a house on Friday morning and want to have it ready to rent by Monday morning, that gives you roughly 72 hours to perform an overhaul. While this doesn’t leave you much room for error – and you can’t afford any big, unexpected surprises – it gives you plenty of time to cosmetically transform what appears to be a dated and run-down property.
Here are the seven things you need to do:
- Replace the Carpet
In a dated property, you’re usually going to find cheap flooring materials – like carpet, linoleum, or vinyl. Occasionally, you’ll find original hardwood, but this would be rare (and would require considerable time and money to refinish).
For the purposes of this conversation, let’s assume you’re dealing with old carpet that’s seen better days. Removing the carpet is as easy as going around the edges with a pry bar and pulling it up. You can then roll up the carpet and toss it in a dumpster.
Now, installing new carpet is a little more difficult. If you don’t have any experience installing carpet, you’ll probably want to call a professional to handle the job. A small house can be carpeted in just a few hours. That means you can go from old, ragged carpet to fresh, clean carpet by Friday night.
- Paint the Walls
The next step is to paint the walls. Not only will this give the house a fresh look, but it’ll also make the property smell brand new.
For a rental property, it’s best to paint the entire house one neutral color. Whites, beiges, and grays are ideal. And if you aren’t picky about the exact color, you can probably find some cheap options at your local hardware store. Depending on how big the house is (and how much help you have), painting can be done in just a few hours.
- Address the Kitchen
With fresh flooring and walls, your transformation is well underway. Now you need to focus on the kitchen, which is one of the first things prospective renters will consider.
If you’re going to pay a premium for any renovations, this is where you want to spend your money. Some of the easiest and most cost-effective renovations include: painting cabinets, replacing cabinet hardware, installing new backsplash, and updating appliances.
While this may sound like a lot, it’s actually not that difficult. Painting the cabinets is perhaps the most difficult step (but this is only necessary in certain situations). Cabinetry hardware can be replaced very quickly with a power drill. The backsplash products they sell at the big box stores often come in rolls that can be glued in place with relative ease. Buying appliances is as simple as clicking the “order” button online.
You aren’t going to perform a luxury home kitchen remodel in one afternoon, but that’s not what you’re going for. All you’re trying to do is update an out-of-date home and make it look presentable for your renters.
- Pressure Wash Outside
If the home is dated on the inside, then chances are pretty good that the house has been neglected on the outside. Now that the interior has been updated to your liking, it’s time to think about curb appeal.
One of the first things you should do is pressure wash the outside. Pay attention to siding, porches, decks, driveways, and walkways. You’ll be amazed by how much better the property will look when you remove the dirt and grime that’s accumulated over the years.
- Clean Up Landscaping
The next step is to address the landscaping. This means pruning bushes and branches, pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, planting flowers, and getting rid of trash and debris that’s gathered. You don’t need an HGTV-worthy lawn, but you do want it to look nice.
- Have the House Professionally Cleaned
At this point, the house is looking pretty good. All you’ve done is replace carpet, repaint the walls, update the kitchen, and address the curb appeal, but the property probably looks 10-times better than it did when you purchased it.
At this point, you’re essentially done. However, do your hard work justice and go ahead and pay for the property to be professionally cleaned. This will save you time and ensure that every look nook and cranny is dealt with.
- Hire a Property Manager
At this point, you’re probably feeling optimistic. In just 72 hours, you’ve purchased a rundown property below market value, fixed it up, and can rent it at a competitive rate. In fact, you’re feeling so encouraged that you think to yourself, “Why can’t I repeat this process a few more times?”
In order to ensure repeatability (and maintain your sanity), it’s a smart idea to hire a property manager to handle the rest of the process for you. From property marketing and tenant screening to collecting rent and handling future maintenance issues, a property manager will do the heavy lifting so that you can focus on stretching your dollars further.
Contact Green Residential Today
At Green Residential, we have an intimate understanding of the Houston real estate market and have helped hundreds of our clients manage their rental properties over the past 25-plus years. If you’re interested in making your experience as a real estate investor and landlord as easy as possible, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today and we’d be happy to walk you through our comprehensive property management services.