Every property owner wants to have tenants that are responsible and that care about the rental property. The problem is that some tenants care too intensely, and have the initiative to “improve” the property. Unfortunately, these “improvements” do the opposite – when they try to repair broken things, they end up breaking them even more. And although it’s good to know that your tenants care, it’s also risky to give them free rein over the rental unit.
If a repairman is renting out your single-family home, go ahead and let them upgrade the rental unit. However, if it’s being rented out by a regular tenant, you shouldn’t allow them to alter a thing – they likely don’t know what they’re doing!
In this article, we’ll go over the reasons why you should leave improvements to your property management agent. We’ve also outlined the property “improvements” that you should avoid.
Why Shouldn’t You Allow Tenants to Improve the Property?
Your property is an investment. If you want it to attract tenants, you need to make sure that it can keep up with the competition. For instance, some tenants want stainless steel appliances, an open floor plan, and so on. Hence, every time you improve your property, you need to put a wide pool of tenants’ preferences at the top of the list. You should not only consider what your current tenants want.
If you allow your tenants to “tweak” your real estate investment, they’ll likely pick improvements that they like. For instance, if they like dark-colored walls, they’ll paint the walls in a shade that not all tenants will like. Once that tenant moves out, you’ll have a challenging time getting it rented out again. In other words, your tenant ruined your rental unit.
The truth is that your tenants don’t know what works in the real estate market. Leave the improvements to your property management company – they’ve been in the business for years, and they know exactly what today’s tenants want.
What Compromise Can You Offer Your Tenants?
Some tenants want to improve the property as it doesn’t work for them. For example, if you’re renting out your single-family home to a family, they may want to add new bedrooms down the road. Your tenant may also want to repaint the walls to suit their tastes. The issue with allowing tenants to upgrade the rental unit is that their style is their own.
However, that does not mean you should ignore your tenant’s wants. As a compromise, you can be open to your tenant’s suggestions. They might even have ideas that are genuinely good for your investment! If their suggestions are good, you can allow your tenants to improve the property, but bear in mind that you’ll probably have to reimburse them. As a general rule, if the upgrades add to your real estate investment’s value, you have to recompense your tenants.
What Are the Worst Property Improvements?
Whatever you do, do not add these “improvements” to your property.
#1 DIY Projects
Your tenants may be tempted to DIY the repairs, but remind them not to do this. DIYs rarely add value to a real estate investment. When tenants repair the property on their own, it’ll likely end up with that unmistakable “DIY look” that no one wants to wake up to. For instance, some tenants add a stick-on backsplash to spruce up the kitchen, but it ends up looking bad. Make sure to remind your tenants not to do the DIY “hacks” they saw on YouTube.
If your tenants really want to try DIY-ing, they should agree to restore the unit to its original condition. If they fail to do this, you’re free to use their security deposit to pay for the costs of restoration.
#2 Walk-in Closet
Don’t turn an existing bedroom into an extension of the master bedroom. Your tenants may be able to live in luxury with their expansive (and expensive) wardrobe, but remember that more tenants want more room. If you turn a room into a closet, you’ll limit your pool of potential tenants. You won’t be able to rent it to tenants with kids due to the lack of bedrooms.
Instead of building a walk-in wardrobe, consider creating more storage spaces. For instance, you could add storage to the space under the sink, counters, and the like. You could even get creative and build custom beds that come with drawers underneath.
#3 Bold Wallpaper
Bold wallpaper can spruce up a room, but will your tenants like it? Probably not. Your rental property’s walls should be neutral to appeal to a wide pool of tenants. If your walls have bold wallpaper, your tenants will be forced to embrace a style that’s not theirs. They may need to replace their furniture with pieces that complement the wallpaper’s color or print.
Property management agents suggest painting the walls in a neutral color. This will give your tenants the opportunity to “play” with the space and make it their own. A South Florida property management company can help you choose the appropriate color to attract all types of tenants.
#4 Swimming Pool
Swimming pools look fancy, but they put your tenants at risk. Yearly, there are nearly 4,000 deaths due to drowning – this is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If your tenant were to drown in your pool, and if you’re found to have violated the laws on pool safety (e.g. you didn’t provide a pool cover or you didn’t ensure that the pool’s conditions are safe), you will be held liable.
Pools are expensive, anyway. Don’t waste your money on an “improvement” that will only put you and your tenants at risk.
Leave Property Improvements to the Pros
Luxury Property Care’s experts are here to help you choose value-adding improvements for your South Florida rental property. Don’t leave improvements to your tenants, because they probably don’t know what works in the market. If you want your property to always be profitable, let the professionals deal with it.