Valuable Inexpensive Renovations

A clean, attractive apartment is more appealing to prospective tenants than one with dirty, smelly rooms, and it only takes a little elbow grease to make it look better. If you spend time cleaning and painting, and making certain inexpensive improvements, you can ask more for rent. In addition you'll be much more likely to attract good tenants — the kind of people who will take pride in caring for their new home.

No-Cost Improvements

It doesn't cost anything except for the collection fees and an afternoon or two of your time to remove trash, clean up the yard, trim trees and shrubs, pull out weeds, cut the grass, and dig out unsightly, overgrown bushes. Edging around a driveway or sidewalk will have a positive impact on a prospective tenant, too.

But don't stop outdoors. Take a good look at what's in your basement. It's probably filled with junk that's been there for years. Toss all of it out. Then clean out any other trash or rubbish that you have accumulated. Install bright lights and consider painting the concrete to reduce dust.

Once the basement is cleared out and clean, look at the front entrance and halls. Cleaning and painting those walls will also improve the appeal of your property and will help make sure that prospective tenants get a good first impression of the property at the moment they step inside the front door.

It should go without saying: thoroughly clean the apartment before you show it. Think of your grandmother when she tackled spring cleaning and turned the house inside out. She scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom walls, baseboards, windowsills, shower, tub, toilet, sinks, mirror, and medicine cabinet (inside and out).

She cleaned under the sinks, washed the fixtures and lights, and turned out closets and cabinets, making sure the shelves were spotless. She cleaned the oven and burners, degreased the hood, and carefully washed all the appliances.

She took down blinds, curtains, and drapes and cleaned them. She spot-cleaned the walls, then tackled windows and carpets. Finally, she scrubbed and waxed the floors before moving on to start working in the entrance, hallway, and porch.

If the apartment and building didn't smell spotless by the time she finished, she might have put out some potpourri, rose petals, or fragrant candles to subtly scent the air. Tenants like that, too. They want their apartments to smell clean and fresh when they move in. But today, a fragrant air freshener can do the job.

Low-Cost Improvements

Cleaning and repainting the entire apartment, hallway, and entrance is well worth your investment and is a low-cost way to spruce up your building so it looks good to prospective tenants. But other improvements will help as well.

Will the building look better if you put low-cost vinyl shutters on the windows? Should you plant a few new low-maintenance shrubs — they're not expensive when they're tiny — to replace those you pulled out? Any effort you make at gardening and sprucing up the property will give prospective tenants more reason to want to come inside and look at the apartment.

Get some new, covered trash cans, the large size. They don't cost much and they'll make your disposal area look much cleaner. While you're at it, don't forget to rake the ground around the trash bins; that can get pretty “trashy” as well.

Some other low-cost improvements might not be quite so obvious, but can save you money. Weatherstrip doors and windows to cut down on heat loss. It will reduce your utility bills. Fix or replace hall lights; lay a new carpet when the old one is ripped or looks worn and shabby.

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