There are two legal ways to increase your wealth.
1. Keep more of what you have (eg, tax strategies, rehabilitation efficiencies, cost savings)
2. Add value to something (eg, a real estate investment, stocks, bonds)
Let’s focus on adding value to your rehabilitation investments.
The most obvious is undoubtedly to bring it back up to standard. We HAVE to do the obvious things like:
– Make sure there are no plumbing leaks and that the entire plumbing system is in good working order, including the drinking water and sewage/septic water and the water heater.
– Ensure that the electrical system is safe and working. This may require an update. This includes all outlets, switches, heating and air conditioning.
– There can be no leaks in the roof! Obvious, but sometimes this is difficult to determine if it is not a rainy season. You may have to run a garden hose to the roof to be sure. Post someone in the attic with a flashlight.
– Get rid of any rotten wood or termite damage, repair walls, etc.
Those items I have listed and others like them are obvious. But how do we really add value to the view? We make it pretty!
– We paint all the walls and ceilings (usually bright white)
– We replace the flooring, or if there is acceptable carpet or tile, we professionally clean and refinish it.
– We hang mini-blinds on the windows.
– We prune trees and bushes, we paint the exterior so that the exterior looks fresh.
Now, to get the sale, or to rent it out right away, we do some of these things that really make a difference (notice the emphasis on the kitchen and bathrooms!):
– Replace or refinish kitchen cabinets, sink, and countertop.
– Replace toilet, vanity and resurface or replace tub.
What if we really want OUR property to stand out in the market? What if we want there to be NO question about what a great home this is in the buyer’s mind? What if you want TOP DOLLAR? Try these cheap upgrades!
– Put a decorative fence in front. Plant a few shrubs along the front of the house with attractive garden bark around for color.
– Replace the front windows with something more attractive.
– Install lighting along the walkway.
– Plant a tree
– Install a new mailbox
– Build a platform in the back.
– Increase outdoor lighting. Motion sensor lights are a nice touch.
– Install a security system. Sometimes the system is installed for free with a year of monitoring. Make the first year of free monitoring (prepaid by you) a selling point.
– Install a garage door opener
– Install a used hot tub. You’ll be surprised how many people don’t want their hot tub anymore!
– Include a microwave.
– Purchase of new appliances. A bit pricey, but a deal maker. Try to make this an incentive for a full price offer.
– Lay ceramic tile instead of vinyl.
– Opt for snap-in hardwood floors instead of rugs, especially in a large living room.
– Upgrade the faucet to something sleek and modern. There are hundreds to choose from. Go with an extra large sink.
– Replace your cabinet and drawer hardware with something fancier. This can do an average POP kitchen for a little extra cost!
– Add ceiling fans instead of just new ceiling light fixtures.
– Add chair rail moldings in dining room and living room.
– Buy attractive switch and outlet covers instead of basic, contractor-quality covers.
We, as investors, must make rehabilitation fit our strategies. If we want to rent the property, it probably won’t add as many improvements. If you are looking to sell and need to make the property stand out, you should add as many upgrades as possible within your budget, especially visual upgrades.
I hope this list has got you thinking creatively about how to increase the value of your next project!