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How to freshen up an investment property

By Emma Smith

Article written by Melanie Hearse and published 25 AUG 2017 on Realestate.com

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Is your investment property about to hit the rental market again? That makes it a great time for an inexpensive facelift.

Depending on your tenants, rental properties can take a serious hammering, and often require an update every few years to keep them appealing. A freshly updated property can attract a higher quality tenant – even a higher rental price, says Justine Wilson, director and principal stylist at Vault Interiors.

Try this to-do list to update your property.

1. Do a deep clean
A big clean in between tenants can make a huge difference when it comes to the appeal of a property. Your checklist should include items such as clearing and repairing gutters and downpipes, dusting and washing light fittings and skirting boards, cleaning the exterior walls and fences, and washing windows, both inside and out.

Clean bathrooms and kitchens are especially important to prospective tenants, so have shower screens and stoves professionally cleaned, and if they’re past their use-by date, replaced.

Go for frameless glass in the bathroom for style and ease of upkeep, and hit the seconds stores for cheaper, but brand-new stoves. Expert Cherie Barber, from Renovating for Profit, says while these items are key, avoid spending thousands, as it’s unlikely you’ll see a return on your investment.

2. Repair and replace the little things
A tell-tale sign of where a fitting or fixture needs fixing – or replacing – is if they squeak, rattle or hum, says Cherie.

“Everything from the front gate to showerheads, handles, knobs, towel rails, and hinges are subject to high wear and tear, especially in a family home, so will invariably need a fix from time to time,” she says.

There’s nothing more off-putting to potential tenants than opening a cupboard door that has a hinge missing, or a handle that comes off in your hand.

3. Update the paint and the flooring
These are the two cosmetic fixes that add maximum visual appeal to a potential tenant’s eye, Justine says. She recommends keeping the colour palette completely neutral to appeal to the widest market.

“White paint is the way to go to maximise light in the property and give a fresh look, while dark carpet or floating floors are low maintenance,” she says.

4. Get into the garden
The way the home looks when you rent it out becomes the standard for how you’d like it maintained by your tenants, and this applies to the garden as well. Before the inspections, give the garden a thorough prune and rake – and check trees for overhanging or dangerous branches. Justine also suggests high-pressure washing for decks or patios and exterior walls.

5. Upgrade your storage
Storage is a big drawcard for potential tenants, and Cherie says it can be added in such a way that it contributes to the aesthetic appeal of your house.

“Go for built-in wardrobes in the bedroom, shelving or built-in cabinetry in the nooks either side of a fireplace, and outdoors, bench seating with storage underneath,” she says.

Got older style built-ins in the bedrooms? A cabinet maker can exchange the old doors for shiny new mirrored versions, which will add light as well as the perception of more space.

Finally, Justine suggests using in-built bookshelves, and a floating desk system to create a study nook – popular with tenants.

“Make sure there are ample power and data points, and task lighting,” she says.

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