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5 Things NOT to Splurge on for Rental Properties


As a rental host, it may be tricky putting your finger on where to splurge and where to skimp. While you may want your property to make a statement in the rental market, some renovations really aren’t worth the time and money. They don’t aid in making a solid return on investment and don’t do much to attract more tenants.  Keep reading to learn about the upgrades (and expenses) you should resist as a landlord to get the most return on your rental property investment.

As a rental host, it may be tricky putting your finger on where to splurge and where to skimp. While you may want your property to make a statement in the rental market, some renovations really aren’t worth the time and money. They don’t aid in making a solid return on investment and don’t do much to attract more tenants.


Keep reading to learn about the upgrades (and expenses) you should resist as a landlord to get the most return on your rental property investment.


Major Bathroom Upgrades


Renovating your bathroom may be a worthwhile upgrade where you live, but it’s not the best investment for rental properties. This is because renters are often looking for mere functionality, especially in bathrooms — a high-end bathroom wouldn’t do much in moving the needle for people choosing between different properties to rent.   At the same time, a bathroom renovation can quickly get expensive. Investing so much in a space that would do with just some cleanliness and functionality isn’t a good idea. If your bathrooms need some sprucing up, opt for basic upgrades that won’t cost a fortune, such as: Give it a fresh coat of neutral paint. Remember, neutral colours suit a myriad of different people, and make an otherwise constricted space look bright and open. Increase storage space with floating shelves, cabinetry, wall hooks, and wicker baskets. Ensure optimal ventilation with an exhaust fan. Here are a handful of tips to remember for bathroom renovations — you may want to skip the flooring, but if it's a need of the moment, be sure to avoid expensive options. More on expensive flooring below!

Renovating your bathroom may be a worthwhile upgrade where you live, but it’s not the best investment for rental properties. This is because renters are often looking for mere functionality, especially in bathrooms — a high-end bathroom wouldn’t do much in moving the needle for people choosing between different properties to rent.


At the same time, a bathroom renovation can quickly get expensive. Investing so much in a space that would do with just some cleanliness and functionality isn’t a good idea. If your bathrooms need some sprucing up, opt for basic upgrades that won’t cost a fortune, such as:

  • Give it a fresh coat of neutral paint. Remember, neutral colours suit a myriad of different people, and make an otherwise constricted space look bright and open.

  • Increase storage space with floating shelves, cabinetry, wall hooks, and wicker baskets.

  • Ensure optimal ventilation with an exhaust fan.

Here are a handful of tips to remember for bathroom renovations — you may want to skip the flooring, but if it's a need of the moment, be sure to avoid expensive options. More on expensive flooring below!


Expensive Flooring


As much as laying down expensive flooring instantly adds a luxurious touch to a space, resist this upgrade for your rental property. If you’re in the process of setting up your rental home and need to lay down flooring initially, opt for cost-effective and durable options that are easy to clean.  Tile is an optimal option in this regard; it is easy to clean, durable and sleek. Moreover, tiling costs are lower than those of hardwood floors and come in a range of options.  Insider tip: What if we tell you the flooring in the image above is actually tile? 😉 If you adore wooden aesthetics, consider such wood-effect tiles!  Other flooring options cheaper than hardwood include laminate, vinyl plank, cork, and PVC. If the current flooring in your rental home is in good condition, consider revitalising it instead of replacement: Scrub and buff the tile Clean the floor with steam cleaners Lay down carpets to conceal outdated flooring, or area rugs to cover unpleasant/damaged parts of the floor

As much as laying down expensive flooring instantly adds a luxurious touch to a space, resist this upgrade for your rental property. If you’re in the process of setting up your rental home and need to lay down flooring initially, opt for cost-effective and durable options that are easy to clean.


Tile is an optimal option in this regard; it is easy to clean, durable and sleek. Moreover, tiling costs are lower than those of hardwood floors and come in a range of options.


Insider tip: What if we tell you the flooring in the image above is actually tile? 😉 If you adore wooden aesthetics, consider such wood-effect tiles!


Other flooring options cheaper than hardwood include laminate, vinyl plank, cork, and PVC.

If the current flooring in your rental home is in good condition, consider revitalising it instead of replacement:

  • Scrub and buff the tile

  • Clean the floor with steam cleaners

  • Lay down carpets to conceal outdated flooring, or area rugs to cover unpleasant/damaged parts of the floor


Advanced Technology


If the appliances in your rental property are worn out, replace them with new ones that offer functionality and durability, but don’t create a hole in your pocket. This is because advanced technology (that is also more expensive) doesn’t add much value to your property. Simultaneously, renters don’t pay more for higher-tech appliances, as they’re usually looking for mere functionality, and not luxury, in their temporary home.  Moreover, smart technology, such as security cameras and appliances that can be controlled remotely, may also pose privacy concerns. Plus, if your renters aren’t educated on safely using advanced technological gadgets, they may end up damaging them. And the cost for repairs will be pulled right from your pocket — yikes.

If the appliances in your rental property are worn out, replace them with new ones that offer functionality and durability, but don’t create a hole in your pocket. This is because advanced technology (that is also more expensive) doesn’t add much value to your property. Simultaneously, renters don’t pay more for higher-tech appliances, as they’re usually looking for mere functionality, and not luxury, in their temporary home.


Moreover, smart technology, such as security cameras and appliances that can be controlled remotely, may also pose privacy concerns. Plus, if your renters aren’t educated on safely using advanced technological gadgets, they may end up damaging them. And the cost for repairs will be pulled right from your pocket — yikes.


Features That Are Desired But Not Standard


Central heating is one of the standard features in a UK home, so it makes sense to invest in improving the central heating system of your rental property. HVAC systems are also integral to standard US rental properties.  However, going beyond the standard necessities of rental homes and investing in desired features is another upgrade to avoid. For example, installing a new fireplace in a rental home located in an area with mostly warm temperatures could attract homebuyers, but isn’t worth adding to a space you intend to rent out.  The same applies to other luxury elements, such as swimming pools, aquariums, and home cinemas.

Central heating is one of the standard features in a UK home, so it makes sense to invest in improving the central heating system of your rental property. HVAC systems are also integral to standard US rental properties.


However, going beyond the standard necessities of rental homes and investing in desired features is another upgrade to avoid. For example, installing a new fireplace in a rental home located in an area with mostly warm temperatures could attract homebuyers, but isn’t worth adding to a space you intend to rent out.


The same applies to other luxury elements, such as swimming pools, aquariums, and home cinemas.


High-End Kitchen Renovations


Kitchen renovations are one of the most expensive upgrades in homes, falling somewhere between £5000 and £14,000 (and over $20,000 in the USA). This means they are a massive investment to make, and may not be able to recoup their price over years of renting.  If the kitchen in your rental property needs an upgrade, consider remodelling the space on a budget with these fun ideas. The trick is to add functionality and create aesthetic appeal with upgrades that don’t break the bank.

Kitchen renovations are one of the most expensive upgrades in homes, falling somewhere between £5000 and £14,000 (and over $20,000 in the USA). This means they are a massive investment to make, and may not be able to recoup their price over years of renting.


If the kitchen in your rental property needs an upgrade, consider remodelling the space on a budget with these fun ideas. The trick is to add functionality and create aesthetic appeal with upgrades that don’t break the bank.


Final Words


Sprucing up your rental property is an exciting project; it promises more leads, happier tenants, and higher returns on your investment. However, it is helpful to remember that certain things (that add functionality) are worth spending on, but anything beyond that may not attract better-quality tenants or contribute to higher rents.


In that regard, the 5 things discussed in this blog post are NOT worth splurging on for rental properties. If you wish to upgrade these parts of your rental home, be sure to plan beforehand and stay within budget!


If you’re struggling to choose where to splurge and where to save as a landlord — or need help devising budget-friendly renovation plans for your rental property — connect with one of our Home Design Gurus for personalised and expert advice!



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