The San Diego rental market typically determines how much your property is worth and what you can earn in rent. There’s very little you can do to control the strength of the market and the competition you face for good tenants and high rents.
One thing you can control, however, is the condition of your property.
You don’t have to be a real estate expert to know that well-maintained homes earn more than properties that are deteriorating and showing signs of excessive wear and tear. Tenants are willing to pay more for homes that have bright kitchens, well-landscaped outdoor space, and updated fixtures and features.
No one wants to invest thousands of dollars in renovations, but if you make some strategic and cost-effective improvements, you’ll find you earn more rent. You also increase the value of your property, helping you drive up your ROI. When it’s time to sell, you’ll sell for more because your home has been consistently renovated to meet market demands.
We’re taking a look at some of the best renovations you can make. Obviously, the best upgrades will depend on your unique property and the tenants you attract. This is a good starting point, however, and we can help you personalize our recommendations to meet your unique needs.
Why Does Your San Diego Home Value Rely on Renovations?
A San Diego rental property that has been recently renovated will earn more rent. That’s an instant boost to your short-term cash flow.
Even better – the rental property that’s been recently renovated will attract better tenants. What do better tenants get you?
- On time rental payments
- Lease renewals
- A resident who helps care for your property
Another benefit to cost-effective renovations is that they’ll keep your vacancy and turnover costs down. Tenants are eager to rent a home that looks new and modern. They’ll stay in place when they feel like you’re providing a comfortable and attractive place to live.
Establish your rental value with recent upgrades in mind. Tenants will pay more for a new floor than they will for old carpet. It’s pretty simple.
Upgrades that increase home values don’t have to be expensive. Assuming your rental property is already in good condition generally, you won’t face a total rehab. There’s no need to gut the kitchen and start from scratch. Most tenants won’t expect you to add a bedroom.
Focus on easy, affordable improvements instead.
Upgrades and Renovations Equal Preventative Maintenance
You know that renovations increase value and attract tenants.
Here’s something you might not have thought of: these improvements and upgrades you’re making will also help you maintain your property. It should be part of your preventative maintenance strategy.
To avoid expensive emergency repairs, you need to continually evaluate the condition of your property. For example – if the refrigerator is breaking down every few months, don’t repair it for the fifth or sixth time. Replace it instead. If you’re not taking a preventative approach to maintenance, those small problems can quickly turn into expensive repairs.
But, when you’re constantly looking for ways to improve your rental property, preventative maintenance will occur naturally. You’ll notice what needs to be fixed and plan for future repairs so there are fewer emergencies and surprise costs.
Best Renovations for San Diego Rental Homes
Now that we’re clear on why you should renovate, let’s talk about how. Which types of updates and upgrades are going to provide the biggest boost for your home value?
Our recommendations are here:
1. Start with Simple Paint
Start simple. Take a look at the walls inside your rental property. Do they need fresh paint?
New paint is one of the fastest and cheapest things you can do to instantly upgrade a rental property. The effect will be immediate and it’s a good starting point from which you can improve the entire property.
Don’t bother with touch-ups. Instead, paint the walls completely during every turnover. Even if you’ve had the same tenants in place for years, offer a new paint job. Your walls may be worn and faded.
Look for a good paint quality so you know you won’t have to do this again in a year or two. Hire professionals who can get the job done in a matter of days. And don’t forget that the walls aren’t the only things you can paint. Put something new on the baseboards and door frames. Paint the ceilings to make every room brighter.
2. Hard Surface Floors Increase San Diego Home Values
Carpet is not as popular as it was 20 years ago. There’s an argument to be made for keeping it in bedrooms, and if you do have carpeted rooms, make sure it’s clean and in good condition.
If you’re not attached to carpet, however, consider an upgrade that includes hard surface flooring. It’s cleaner, easier to maintain, and a huge benefit to attracting tenants and raising home values. Carpet traps dirt, allergens, and pet odors. Tenants will usually prefer a floor surface they can quickly clean.
Wood floors, tile floors, laminate floors are all good options. These floors will also have a longer lifespan, which means you won’t be cleaning and replacing carpet every year.
3. Security and Smart Home Technology
Everyone loves tech, including San Diego tenants.
If you want to charge more rent and keep yourself competitive in the rental market, upgrade what you can offer in terms of technology. A lot of the functions and gadgets tenants want to use at home will have to do with syncing their phones and their apps into every part of their lives.
Tech upgrades don’t have to be expensive. Focus on good Wi-Fi and consider installing a security system such as a video doorbell. Tenants can install a doorbell that shows them who is at the door before they answer it. Even if they’re not home, they can access the link on their phones.
You can also install smart home technology that allows tech-savvy residents to set their lights to turn on at a certain time and control the temperature based on time of day and whether anyone’s home. Tech isn’t always cheap, so choose which smart home upgrades will be most important to your residents, and offer them.
4. How to Renovate Kitchens and Bathrooms
Kitchens and bathrooms are going to get the most attention when tenants visit your property, and that’s where you’ll want to drive up your value.
Most tenants want an open kitchen with plenty of counter space, storage, and matching appliances. They won’t be willing to pay higher rents if your kitchen has faded cabinets and drawers that stick. Think about attention-grabbing renovations like shiny faucets and new hardware. Energy-efficient appliances are a great idea, especially if yours are often needing to be fixed or looking old.
Consider a backsplash against the kitchen wall, near the stove or sink. It looks modern, tasteful, and expensive – even if it’s not. You don’t have to use marble tiles, but something like plain white tiles or glass will not only improve the look of your kitchen – it will also protect your walls.
Bathrooms are generally smaller spaces, but you can do a few things to make them more attractive to your ideal tenants and drive up the value of your property. Change out any mirrors and lighting that make the place look dated. The shower and tub need to be in good condition, and a low flow toilet is not terribly expensive to install. All these things will result in higher rents.
5. Improve San Diego Rental Property Lighting
The right lighting helps tenants feel safe. It also makes your rental home more attractive.
Think about efficiency and energy bills when you’re upgrading the lighting. Look for bulbs that are green and offer a longer lifespan.
Bright lighting outside will help tenants feel safe. Look for ways to illuminate exterior doors, walkways, and parking areas. Motion lights are a great idea, especially on garages or porches.
Inside the home, bright and modern lighting is important and usually fixtures are all you’ll need to replace. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Take a good look at your lighting and make upgrades wherever you can.
6. Renovate your Landscaping and Increase Your Curb Appeal
Improve your home value with better landscaping that invites people into your property. Curb appeal counts because it’s all about first impressions. The outside of your property needs to be clean and look easy to maintain.
When the home’s exterior looks great, tenants will be eager to go inside. Nothing is more inviting than a bright door that’s free of debris and cobwebs, well-trimmed bushes, green grass, and trees. When tenants see a pretty exterior, they can really get excited about living there. This type of curb appeal can also translate to higher rents and better home values.
These are just some of the best upgrades and renovations that we always recommend for owners who are looking to increase their home value in San Diego. We can make some personalized recommendations that are unique to your property once we take a closer look at where you are and what you have to offer. Please contact us at Chase Pacific Property Management & Real Estate Services.