23 Totally Awesome upgrades for Landlords

23 Totally Awesome upgrades for Landlords

  • Posted: Jul 12, 2015
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1. Never Forget a Paint Color Again This hack comes from my good friend, who suggests writing the exact paint color/brand used for every rental lease agreement. This way, you will always know what paint was used when the tenant moves out and the property needs touching up! In a related tip (and something I also do,) use the same color paint in all your units. No need to remember what color each place is painted that way, and no partial gallons of leftover paint sitting around – it just gets used on the next rehab.  I also use the same color on both walls and ceilings, which allows the painter to “spray” the entire unit rather than roll, cutting down the costs significantly (tip: choose a very light color if you are going to do this. No one likes a dark ceiling!)   2. Save Money on Mini-Blinds We like to make sure all units have clean, white mini-blinds in every window. When buying those miniblinds at Walmart or Home Depot, they typically cost around $4 for blind up to 36″ in width and $20 for blinds that are wider than 36″. Rather than spending $20.00 on each window for blinds, we simply use 2 blinds, side by side. Not only does this still look great for half the cost, it also makes it cheaper to replace just one side in the future if a blind gets damaged.   3. Forget the Mini-blinds Altogether While I love using mini-blinds, they do get destroyed easily by kids and pets, plus they are a nightmare to clean.  – Put up a 99-cent curtain rod and some cheap curtains from Goodwill or eBay (like $4). This way, there are multiple benefits: Cheaper than the $8 mini-blinds for every window. Makes the place look nicer and more of a home feel. When the tenant departs they can be washed and rehung – no more throwing away damaged miniblinds that wind up in a landfill.  Then you don’t have to buy more mini-blinds either. Better for the environment and saves money on turnover. 4. Easy, Low Cost Carpet I’ve tried a lot of different methods for getting carpet installed – from doing it myself to hiring contractors on Craigslist. However, for me, nothing has come close in terms of cost or convenience to just have Home Depot install it. In my area, Home Depot’s contractors will usually install a whole house of carpet for $37 (flat fee) if you buy the carpet through them. Carpet prices vary, but I typically spend under $1.00 per square foot for the carpet and choose the “72 hour guaranteed install” option. It is easy, simple, and cheap. Plus, I can order it, schedule it, and do 90% of the work online.   5. Angry Tenants+Hollow Doors=Easy Fix Maybe I just live in an angry part of the world, but I have a real problem with holes getting punched in hollow-core bedroom doors. Maybe it makes them feel more powerful knowing they can punch through 1/16″ thick piece of cardboard.  However, I’ve discovered a great fix for this.  Rather than replacing (or trying to patch… which never works), just buy a $6 mirror at Wal-Mart or Home Depot (they are about 4 feet long and 12 inches wide, like this one) and screw it to the door. Not only does it hide the hole, it makes the hallway look larger and ads some decoration to a boring space! Another similar suggestion: If you have a bad spot on the bottom half of your interior doors just go buy 2 cheap square metal vents (look like hvac return covers) and cut out the square almost the same size to fit one on each side of the door. It also helps airflow in the home.   6. Replace Flooring the Quick and Easy Way If you have ugly vinyl flooring in a kitchen bathroom, or anywhere else, the demo can be expensive and messy. Instead, just install a floating vinyl right over the top!  My favorite flooring is called “Allure” made by TrafficMASTER and it comes in both a wood design and tile design. It works in the kitchen, bathrooms, or anywhere and anyone can install it in just hours. I can’t recommend this stuff enough! I actually have actually begun to install it through entire homes, both for aesthetic reasons and because it lasts forever. This stuff can withstand kids, pets, spills, and anything your tenants throw at it.  It runs about $2 a square foot at Home Depot.   7. Appliances Looking Bad? Don’t Replace, Repaint! I learned this trick from a local appliance repair company.  If you have a stove or refrigerator that is showing signs of age, usually with small rust stains shining through, a $5 can of “appliance paint” from the hardware store can make your appliances look as good as new. I always keep a can of this handy when turning over a unit and am continually amazed at how great it works!   8. No More Slippery Stair Treads If your rental properties have wood steps, it is easy for those steps to get slippery after rain. For the safety of your tenants (and to reduce your risk of being sued!) nail down strips of roofing shingles on your stairs with roofing nails. Trust me – it actually looks great (no one will know it’s a shingle) and is extremely cost effective.   9. Appliance Sale! Appliances go on sale at the big box stores around Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the Fourth Of July, so take inventory each year of what you need and plan your purchases around those holidays. (The same is true for paint!)   10. Quick, Easy, Cheap Lock Changes Several BiggerPockets members recommend using either KwikSet Smartkeys, which allow you to quickly change a lock in just minutes, which allow you to change the lock cylinder easily and for around $5 each time.   11. Use Apps to Simplify Your Life Use those portable scanners that can quickly take receipts, leases, invoices, checks, etc and turn…

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