Keeping up with current design preferences that attract and retain good tenants is an important task for property managers and landlords. It’s important to establish a budget for design and renovation projects for each unit that ticks all the boxes for your ideal tenants without breaking the bank. This is a crucial part of investment property management that you shouldn’t overlook.

A thoughtfully designed rental property allows prospective tenants to visualize living in the space and making it a home they will want to stay in for a long time. Property managers and landlords need to know what design choices are most important for attracting and retaining good tenants before upgrades or renovations begin. Below are the top five design choices that tenants want and you can easily provide.

Classic Neutral Tones

The rule of thumb for selecting paint colors, floor finishes, and window treatments is to select a neutral color that easily adapts to any décor palette. Most popular in recent years is soft gray, but creams and soft shades of tan are good too. Strive to neutralize the apartment with shades that will complement most tastes, but avoid stark white, which can appear too sterile and inhibit renters’ imaginations when envisioning themselves and their family living there.

Apply the neutral theme to the rest of each unit’s finishes.  Choose simple, timeless patterns, shades and fabrics that will appeal to tenants now and in a few years. The goal is to prepare the unit to appeal to as many tastes as possible. Bold paint colors, unusual countertops or color bathroom fixtues might turn off potential renters.

Kitchen Upgrades

The kitchen is one of the most important spaces for tenants, and for that reason, it should get special attention when preparing a unit to rent.  While a gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances and marble countertops may not be in the budget, there are some less expensive changes you can tackle that will make a significant impact on potential renters.

Storage is big on that list, and there are plenty of creative storage solutions available to incorporate even in small kitchens. Maximizing storage makes the space more useful and visually appealing when all the elements have a designated area. Something as simple as a pot rack or refitting the pantry with smart shelving carries enormous appeal with renters.

A crisp, clean kitchen design is also high on the demand list. If the existing cabinets are dark, repaint them white or have them refaced in white. Install a light subway or glass tile backsplash for polish and to brighten up the space.

Simply replacing dated or worn-out cabinet hardware can provide a modern finish and make a big difference in the kitchen’s appeal without a hefty investment. Rental unit kitchens have to be sparkling clean for maximum renter appeal. Hire a professional cleaning service each time a tenant moves out and before showing the unit to prospective tenants to make the best possible impression. If you have plans to sell the rental property in the near future, bear in mind that kitchen renovations typically bring an 80 percent return on investment.

Working Appliances

While appliances affect the overall design appeal of a rental property, it’s also important that they operate well and efficiently. Tenants will become irritated quickly if they have to call the property manager more than once or twice to repair an appliance. In fact, they may become so fed up with the inconvenience that they decide to move out.

If any of your rental units have problematic appliances, you’re probably better off replacing them with new models. Updated appliances are very attractive to renters and they will make life easier for property managers who will be saddled with fewer repairs. If you need to replace appliances, look for energy-saving options that add extra appeal to tenants. Working appliances also showcases your superior investment property management skills.

Curb Appeal

First impressions of your rental property are always formed by the property’s exterior. Good tenants expect well-maintained greenspaces and outdoor common areas. Extras such a water feature, elegant walkway pavers or carefully tended flower beds are an added plus.

Whether your rental is a multifamily property or a single-family home, curb appeal generally involves the same to-do list. Store toys and recreation items out of sight. Remove dirt and debris, get rid of unsightly weeds or dead plants, and keep trees and shrubs trimmed. Touch up any chipped paint and fix or replace damaged outdoor features, such as porch steps and railings or light fixtures. Taking care of these repairs not only increases the property’s curb appeal but will also help maintain safety standards for your tenants.

Adding individual, homey touches such as placing flowering potted plants at entryways or painting front doors different colors add personality and a fresh, inviting feel that renters appreciate. By following these tips you can create just enough curb appeal to attract tenants.

Staging Units for Viewing Exhibits Your Investment Property Management Prowess

To help potential renters better imagine living in a vacant unit during walkthroughs and to maximize the power of your rental listing photos, consider staging some furniture. Keep it simple—a sofa and coffee table in the living room, a small desk or side table by the front door, a  dining table, a bed with nightstands and lamps in the bedroom all help make it easier for viewers to gauge the size of the space and determine if their furniture will fit.

Design Principles for Rental-Ready Properties

Taking these simple investment property management tips can help you present a functional space that looks and feels fresh and clean to attract your ideal tenants. Your efforts will be rewarded when the right tenant comes along in no time and a vacant unit resumes earning income.