If you’re willing to invest in your St. Louis rental property, you’ll find that you’re able to earn more money on it. Renovations increase its rental value and its overall value. Not only that, a modern and updated rental home will be more attractive to residents, which means you’ll attract high-quality residents and keep your vacancy time to a minimum.
As St. Louis property management experts, we have some ideas on when you should renovate and which projects you should focus on. Unless your property is in a state of complete disrepair, a total renovation is unnecessary (and would likely be pricey). By focusing on more long-term, cost-effective updates and improvements, you’ll get the most return on your investment.
Take a look at these tips and check out the before-and-after visuals that will show you what a difference these upgrades can make.
When Should You Renovate Your St. Louis Investment Property
Timing is often just as important to your success as the renovations themselves.
We recommend that you think about seasonal considerations and look for opportunities. It doesn’t make sense to move your residents out of the home just so you can install new floors, for example. However, if you’re turning the property over and the place is vacant, you have a great opportunity to get some meaningful work done.
Seasonal Renovations: Winter in St. Louis
Spring and summer months are typically the most popular times for renovations. The weather is warmer, which allows for outdoor projects to be completed without any delays. Also, schools close during the summer months, which means families are more likely to move during this time. This provides an ideal opportunity to renovate rental homes before new residents move in.
Something to consider, however, is that since this is peak season for renovations, prices can be higher, and contractors may be busier. Plan ahead.
If you want to keep costs down and you can manage the winter weather, scheduling renovations just after the New Year is also a potentially great opportunity. Your preferred vendors and contractors will likely be less busy, and you can probably negotiate better rates. Indoor projects are better during cold and potentially snowy winters.
The turnover period is ideal for renovations. When you have a resident who is moving out, this is the perfect opportunity to make upgrades before the new resident moves in. You minimize disruptions to residents who may be occupying the property, and you get to present a newly renovated and modern home to the St. Louis rental market when you begin advertising your listing. Be mindful of making the work quick. You don’t want to extend your vacancy because renovations are taking longer than expected. Get your contractors lined up to begin work as soon as your existing resident vacates.
Planning renovations is possible at any time, but if you can schedule them in advance, you can be strict about your budget and choose your best vendors and contractors. Whether it’s upgrading appliances, repainting, or tackling a larger project, it’s important that you’re prepared to tackle each step at the right time before you start. This includes considering your budget, timeline, and potential disruptions to current residents. By having a solid plan in place, you can time it right.
What to Renovate: Where to Focus Your Resources
The renovations you choose will depend on your property. If your appliances are decades old, that’s an obvious starting point; upgrade to energy-efficient models that look and operate great.
Here are some general places to start that always make for smart renovations.
Start with Floors and Walls
A fresh coat of paint is always an easy way to make your rental property look brand new. Keep the walls a neutral color. You might love bold and bright colors, but you never know what your potential residents will prefer. Consider shades like eggshell, taupe, and off-white. Cover up any small nail holes and pay attention to the trim and baseboards. Painting those will really make the room pop and give it the clean, modern look you’re hoping to get.
Don’t forget to check your exterior paint. Your property might simply need a power wash to look fresh and clean. However, many owners neglect to consider the outside of their home or building. You’ll want to update the exterior paint every 10 years.
If you want to have carpet on the floors, consider neutral colors as well. Nothing too light should be used, however, because it will show wear a lot faster.
Consider replacing the carpet with hard surface floors, which are incredibly popular with residents because they’re easier to maintain and clean, and less likely to trap dust, dirt, and allergens. Some types of laminate and vinyl look great and don’t cost a lot. Faux hardwoods are also popular.
Kitchen and Bathroom Projects
Start by evaluating your appliances. Are they looking a bit worn? If so, you should consider replacing them with new models that will help the kitchen look and feel modern. Stainless would be great, but as long as all of your appliances match, you’re in good shape. Consider new floors and brighter lighting as well to give the room a clean and bright look.
Inexpensive updates to faucets, drawer pulls, and knobs on the cupboard will also make a difference. Counters don’t have to be granite, but they do have to be clean. Make sure they’re not stained or chipped. Consider a tile backsplash behind the stove or sink.
Bathroom remodels can also make a difference. Your residents will want good lighting and clean sinks. Ensure the floor is intact and replace the hardware if it looks faded or rusty.
Landscaping and Curb Appeal
Don’t forget your first impression. Residents are more likely to rent your property when it looks attractive and welcoming from the outside. If there’s a lawn, keep it mowed. If you have a courtyard or a balcony, ensure it’s swept and free of debris or trash.
Take a look at some of the renovation success stories and projects that our maintenance team managed to bring to life:
These are our general recommendations to St. Louis rental property owners who are looking for ways to earn more money on their investments. If you’d like some specific suggestions that would work best for your unique property, contact us at Deca Property Management. We’d love to tell you more.