Sunday, January 9, 2011

Inexpensive changes to make before your potential renter sees the property

Has your tenant left and your unit is vacant? Have some time to do some cost effective renovating?

Better yet, are you selling the unit and want to present it in the best light possible?

Try these 10 quick fix solutions to upgrade your property quickly and for a low cost.

1. New light switch plates/plug in covers (and switches)
Switch plates only cost about $0.50 each and are a quick fix item, taking mere minutes per switch plate. This gives the place a really clean look and gets rid of older, cracked and painted on switch plates. New buyers (or renters) look at minor details as indicators of major problems.

2. New Doors
Something else that really spruces up your home is new doors. If you have generic brown doors, you might want to consider replacing them with white doors. If you choose a basic door with a hollow core, it’s about twenty dollars, and it will come pre hung and pre primed. If you spend just ten dollars more, you can get the very stylish coloniol doors with six panels. For a remodel, it’s worth it to spend the extra ten dollars. If it’s for a rental, flat panel is fine, but make sure they are painted a crisp white, like POLAR BEAR WHITE.

3. New Handles
Along with giving the house new doors, it’s a good idea to put new handles on them. After all, what’s the good in putting new doors up if you are going leave the old handles on them? Nice, new chrome handles cost about ten dollars apiece at Rona. Having uniform handles throughout looks more impressive, as a mismash is another indicator of the quality of the property.

4. Current Trim
The inside of the rental house may not need a new coat of paint, but trim can always use new paint. If you use a bright white semi-gloss (Polar Bear White), you won’t go wrong. Of course, if you notice that your trim is the old style 2 and ¼ inch baseboard, going with a newer, more stylish colonial baseboard is the ticket. Don’t just paint it but replace it. Hire a professional to make this happen, and consider crown molding for the living room and entry way to really impresses buyers.

5. Front door
One thing that can be a real turnoff for potential buyers is an unattractive front door, and it throws the whole look of the house off. Taking the time to paint and thoroughly clean your front door is often all it needs. On brick homes, having a contractor put a nice wood trim package around the door can take the entry from drab to fabulous. Remember, tenants and buyers have to get through the door before they can ever choose your property.

6. Foyer floor
Many homes today, have front entry floors that are vinyl tile or linoleum floors. Going to Home Depot, you can take a class on tiling and replace that front entry quickly and professionally for little cash. This will make the place feel more modern. For about a hundred dollars you can cover an area that is 8’ x 8’ with very nice twelve inch tile.

7. Bathroom changes
If you want to make an impression in the bathroom, buy a very nice shower curtain and shower curtain rod, and put it in your bathroom. For a nice curtain and rod, they cost about forty dollars. A must do is pull out all the old caulking and recaulk the seals around the bathroom tub. It is unsightly to look at a black mould trim on a nice bathtub. For a bathroom (and really the whole house remember – CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN)

Replacing an old toilet or at least the seat is a quick fix that everyone will appreciate!

8. Kitchen modifications
Go into the kitchen and look around to see what the cabinets and the faucet look like. You don’t need to replace the cabinets – that can get to be expensive and you are trying to save money. But another good option is to paint them. Consider painting brown cabinets white, and give them plastic knobs in different colors to break up the white. If you are looking to save money, simply new knobs and a new counter top are quick and easy fixes. Since you took a tiling course, consider a backsplash in the kitchen.

You might also want to consider replacing the faucet in the kitchen, to give another great impression of your house. They can cost up to $150, but you also can get lucky and find ones that are on clearance.

Appliances also say a lot about your place. Craigslist and Kijiji have good deals on used appliances. Getting rid of the ancient fridge has a huge effect on the potential buyers.

9. Got mail?
Something that is often overlooked but is an inexpensive way to make a house look very nice is a new mailbox. Have fun choosing one, and be creative with it. Nice mailboxes can cost about thirty five dollars. Buyers will definitely take notice of your house.

While outside, it definitely doesn’t hurt to weed the flower beds, spray wash the front of the house and add some planting.

10. Clean the house thoroughly
I have mentioned it a few times, but there is no substitute for cleanliness. A couple of hours of time, some elbow grease and cleaning products can make a world of a difference. Each room, appliances and fixtures needs to be cleaned. Don’t forget the carpet, a good cleaning can bring a tired old carpet back to life.

Paint your house a nice neutral like CHOCOLATE FROTH, one colour throughout.  Paint all doors, trim and ceilings a bright white (Polar Bear White).  Do not paint the walls of your home stark white.  A bit of colour makes the rental apartment feel like a home, not a rental.  Usually, your tenants will treat the property better, if you show it some respect first. 

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