10 Affordable Upgrades for Your Rental Property

Upgrades for Your Rental Property

Are you looking for budget-friendly updates with a high return for your real estate investment? We’ve compiled the top 10 affordable upgrades for your rental property, from security cameras to new cabinets. We guarantee that you’ll have some of the most economically friendly rental renovation solutions by the end of this article. Let’s get started:

Simple Damage-free Upgrades Tenants Can Make

Before we get into the changes you can make as a landlord, let’s talk about damage-free upgrades your tenants would love.

  • Nail Alternatives: Try nail alternatives instead of taking a nail to the wall and risking damage. Adhesive hooks and velcro strips are an excellent opportunity for renters to personalize their space with photos and art.
  • Peel and Stick Wallpaper: If you’re reluctant to let your tenants repaint, suggest that they get removable wallpaper. These are an excellent substitute for actual paint. Since they come in various colors and designs, customers have a lot of artistic freedom.
  • Backsplash with Removable Tile: This is an excellent home improvement idea on a budget to protect the wall behind your sink. You can choose to flex your DIY skills with a piece of vinyl or plastic and some glue or get a removable tile from a store.

Affordable Upgrades for Landlords

  1. Updating Cabinets (Estimated cost: $2000)

The kitchen is one of the easiest places to increase your rental ROI. If you have the funds, you could opt for a total replacement. However, experienced local property managers recommend swapping to more stylish hardware if the cabinets are still in good shape. Unique fixtures could give you a more modern look.

  1. Change your Countertops (Estimated cost: $2000 – $6000)

Another change you can make in your kitchen is to the countertops. Durable, water and heat-resistant counters are more attractive and have a longer lifespan. Thus, it might be worth splurging on more substantial materials such as granite or quartz.

  1. Replace your Faucets (Estimated cost: $50 -$150)

This upgrade applies to both your bathroom and kitchen. You might be surprised how a more modern faucet can make your room look trendy. Besides, these new features are sleeker but also more efficient. Thus, you can even save money on your water bill.

  1. Repainting the Walls (Estimated cost: $100 – $2000)

Repainting the Walls (Estimated cost: $100 - $2000)

There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to give a room a new feel. Rental properties tend to take on more wear and tear as furniture moves around. However, you could cover up the unwanted blemishes and make your home look brighter with a few buckets. This idea works well for both indoor and outdoor renovations. Although, it might be worth investing in higher quality paints that are attractive, long-lasting, and protective.

  1. Upgrading to Durable Flooring (Estimated cost: $1500 -$10000)

Upgrading your floors is another excellent idea for your property. Although some flooring options can rack up an exorbitant bill, you have to keep in mind that they tend to last longer. A solid wooden floor can last you up to 25 years with proper care and the occasional refinishing. However, cheaper attractive options like laminate or carpeting work well and have unique advantages. Besides, you can always cut costs by using different floors in separate rooms.

  1. Buying a Washer and Dryer Unit (Estimated cost: $800 – $2500)

For many tenants, an in-unit washer and dryer is an essential checklist. After all, it’s not easy to lug all your dirty clothes to the nearest laundromat every week. A washer-dryer is a convenient amenity that is highly sought after and could reduce your vacancy rates. Further, landlords with multi-family units or apartments could save more by creating a laundry room for the building.

  1. Install a Home Security System (Estimated cost: $200 – $3000)

Investing in your rental’s security is one of the best ways to improve your ROI without breaking the bank. Safety is a top priority for every tenant. Thus, people are often willing to pay more for a sense of security. You can make your home more secure by installing a few surveillance cameras or opting for state-of-the-art home security systems.

  1. Upgrade your Lighting ($50 – $500)

Excellent Lighting is another selling point for renters. A bright room with smart features can transform a space from dull to cozy and inviting. Upgrading your Lighting could be as cheap and easy as opting for an LED bulb. On the other hand, you could go the extra mile by replacing the fixtures or opting for smart Lighting with more control.

  1. Replace your Windows (Estimated cost: $500 – $10000)

Replacing your windows is an excellent budget-friendly option, especially if you experience harsh winters. New energy-efficient windows can help you cut your electric bill while bringing more aesthetic appeal to your home.

  1. Upgrade the Bathroom Vanity (Estimated cost: $500-$1500)

Who doesn’t love a sleek and spacious bathroom vanity? Replacing your bathroom sink, counters, and cabinets with a cleaner, newer one can transform the space. More so, you have the luxury of choosing from multiple styles and colors.

Things Landlords Should Avoid When Upgrading a Rental

When trying to attract or keep quality tenants, simple upgrades can be the ticket to success. Yet, as a landlord, maximizing ROI is also a key factor. That said, while tenants may love your renovations, not every upgrade is profitable in the end. So, along with our ideas for budget-friendly rental upgrades above, consider these tips on what to avoid below.

High Cost Does Not Equal High Return

High-end materials and finishes may be appealing, but as a rental, luxury is not the best choice. Keep in mind that a rental sees more turnover and wear and tear than a typical owner-occupied residence.

The key here is to look at the neighborhood, research rental comps, and price trends. In luxurious single-family homes, renters may expect certain amenities and finishes. That said, this is the exception, not the rule. Instead, stick to quality mid-range materials that offer mass appeal.

Repair First – Replace as Needed

New appliances and fixtures are often easier to deal with and break down less. That said, just because something breaks does not mean it requires an expensive replacement. Landlords have an obligation to keep all aspects of the rental in good working order.

However, to mitigate costs, consider options such as painting the cabinets for a quick refresh. Another pro tip is to create relationships with trusted vendors. That way, when an appliance does break down, you can get an honest and professional opinion on whether to fix or replace it.

Durability is a Must

As we mentioned above, rentals face a great deal of wear and tear. As a landlord, keeping your rental looking great year after year often depends on the materials and finishes you chose. For example, painting a rental is expensive. Walls are bound to encounter scuffs and scratches as tenants move in and out.

However, if you use quality paint in a neutral finish, many scuffs can simply be wiped away. While low-quality options are cheap initially, most will only end up costing more in the long run. Remember, in a rental, durability should be a top priority when choosing finishes.


The bottom line is there are several cost-effective ways to increase the profitability of your units. Of the 10 affordable upgrades for your rental property we listed in this article, you should be able to get started on one or two soon. If you’re indecisive, you could ask your tenants what they want or consult a professional property manager to help you weigh your options.

Thank you for reading!

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