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The DIY Landlord: Renovating a Rental Property to Increase Income

These Simple Projects Deliver High ROI on Rental Properties

Are you a DIY landlord? Many landlords tackle rental property maintenance projects themselves, rather than hiring a contractor, to generate the highest possible return on investment and to cut costs along the way. When renovating a rental property, it’s important to allocate your time and money on projects that will pay off in the long run. If you find yourself in-between tenants, now is the perfect time to try these easy, budget-friendly DIY projects with high ROI for your rental property.  

1. Refresh the Entry Way

Welcome prospective tenants with a freshly painted or updated door to make the best first impression. It’s a quick rental property maintenance project that makes a big difference. Choose the color with your target tenant in mind. A vibrant, unique color might be appealing for some, but neutrals are most commonly chosen to appeal to renters.

“By updating their unit, landlords can ideally raise their rent price to better reflect the increased value of their unit. They can also find more interested tenants if the unit is updated (new floors, new appliances, new curtains, etc.).”
Kasia Manolas | Rentalutions

2. Landscape Simply

Throw mulch down now to save yourself time on weeding later. Plant low-maintenance plants that live well without routine watering to save on summer water bills. Consider hardscaping with stone or gravel to cut down on grassy areas, limiting the need for routine rental property maintenance. Quick, cost-efficient landscape additions will spruce up the curb appeal and make a good first impression on potential renters.

3. Upgrade Kitchen Appliances

When renovating a rental property, keep in mind that the kitchen is one of the biggest selling points, but often packs the most powerful punch to your wallet. New, energy-efficient, stainless steel appliances will satisfy eco-conscious tenants and help modernize the kitchen. But if updated appliances aren’t within your budget, make your appliances look as good as new with Windex and a little elbow grease. 

4. Resurface Cabinets

Instead of installing new cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom, make the most of what you have. Continue to stick with neutral tones for a sleek, universal style. Lucas Hall, Founder of Landlordology.com from Cozy.co, warns DIY landlords that one of the worst returns on investment is a full kitchen remodel. 

“Most kitchen cabinets are very functional, although they might be dirty. You can reface, resurface, and install new hardware to make old cabinets look new again.  Paired with some updated appliances, most tenants won't realize you didn't do a full remodel, and yet you saved upwards of $10,000.”
Lucas Hall | Cozy.co

5. Replace Worn Flooring  

Rip out carpets and replace with hard surfaces to save yourself money on carpet cleaning services down the road. If there are visible cracks or scuffs in existing flooring, it’s time for an update. Opt for inexpensive, long-lasting laminate or wood-look vinyl planks to freshen up the space. 

6. Retile the Bathroom

Next to the kitchen, the bathroom is the room that will receive the highest ROI on rental property maintenance. Missing or cracked tiles are a big turn-off for would-be renters. Retile the bathroom with a classic subway tile to prevent long-term water damage and to create a more expensive, even spa-like appearance.

“Stick with the ‘classic’ styles, and your property will look updated for many years to come.  If you use the super-modern/flashy tiles, your bathroom and backsplash will be ‘dated’ in just a few years."
Lucas Hall | Cozy.co

7. Paint, Paint and More Paint 

Although the simplest rental property maintenance project, there’s a lot of power in just a few gallons of paint and primer. Prospective renters expect the space to appear clean, fresh and ready to move right in. Paint walls, trim and doors in neutral tones and be sure to caulk and seal any cracks, nail holes or any other traces left behind from previous tenants.

“The item that has the highest return on investment is a single can of paint. They typically cost $30-$60 each and will make your rooms look brand new and clean. Always repaint when you need to add some value to the rental.”
Lucas Hall | Cozy.co

Planning for Rental Property Maintenance

Many landlords choose to rent a roll off dumpster to expedite the waste removal process, thus bringing new tenants in the door faster. Whether you’re tackling one of these DIY landlord renovations or disposing of debris left behind from previous tenants, a roll off dumpster helps to get the job done faster. 


Know of any other DIY landlord projects with high ROI? Let us know in the comments.