Want your rental property to stand out from the crowd? You’re going to need to impress people right from the start. From the moment a renter approaches your home, before they’ve even knocked on the door, they’re already considering whether your home is right for them. Curb appeal is crucial, and spring is the perfect season to give your rental a fresh face lift. Read on for my go-to upgrades for crowd-pleasing curb appeal. Scott McGillivray is a real estate expert and host of HGTV Canada’s Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays.
The number one rule of curb appeal is to clean up the yard. Let’s face it, people are visual and they’re going to form an impression instantly. So mow the lawn, hide the garbage bins, and plant a few flowers or shrubs. When potential renters first arrive they should be given the impression that it’s a clean and well-maintained property. Don’t give them any reason to think otherwise.
Focus on the Front Door
The front door is the focal point of a building’s exterior, so make sure it looks its best. If it’s looking a little dated you should think about painting it and upgrading the hardware, however if it’s damaged you’ll want to replace it. The front door is the #1 source of remodelling return on investment, so it’s always worth the expense.
Highlight the Front Porch
At a minimum a front porch should have some lighting, a pot of flowers, and perhaps a welcome mat. If space permits consider adding a seating arrangement. The idea is to create a welcoming space that will appeal to renters and hopefully indicate what’s to come inside.
Paint the Trim
Painting the trim (railings, shutters, window casings, etc.) is one of the best ways to make an impact to the exterior of a house without spending a lot of money. The amount of trim varies greatly from house to house, but generally speaking, it’s not overly complicated and it gets you a great return on investment.
Stay in Sync
When it comes to colours and styles you want to make sure you’re staying in sync with other properties in the neighbourhood. While it doesn’t need to look exactly like the neighbours, things like roof colour, siding, stucco, etc. should compliment the other homes around you. When you venture too far style-wise, your house will stick out like a sore thumb.
Clean and Secure Gutters
Nothing says “neglect” like sagging rain gutters filled with dead leaves. Before you list a property for rent make sure the gutters are secured tightly to the house and clear of any debris. When they’re properly cleaned and installed they both look and function better.
Power Wash the Porch
Every now and then you should power wash the front porch, steps and walkway to remove mould and mildew. Not only will it look better, but keeping it clean will help it last longer. There’s also a safety consideration. Surfaces that get mildew can also be slippery and the last thing you want is for someone to slip and fall.
Replace the Hardware
If you’re looking for a quick fix, consider replacing your mailbox, doorbell, handle set, and house numbers. These are all relatively low cost items that will improve the building’s curb appeal significantly.
Windows are obviously important for light and ventilation, but they also play an aesthetic role and contribute to curb appeal. If you’re looking to make a bigger type of investment, replacing the windows with something to better suit the style of the property could be worthwhile. Renters will notice!
Paint the Siding
It’s a big job, but if the property looks like it’s seen better days you’re not going to get the calibre of renter you want. If replacing the siding isn’t financially feasible, consider a coat of paint. Just make sure to do your research ahead of time and get the right kind of paint for the material.
Upgrade the Lighting
As a general rule exterior lighting doesn’t get you a great return on investment, however there are two reasons why landlords should include good lighting. One is for safety reasons (as it is for everyone), but the other is to improve the look of the property at night. If potential renters have to work during the day and then drive by the property at night to check it out, you want it to look as appealing as possible. Good lighting will allow them to get a good look at the property.
Don’t Forget the Garage
When it comes to curb appeal it’s not all about the house. Any garage, shed or other type of out-building should be given just as much consideration. Clean, paint, and do whatever you have to do to make these buildings look their best. When you’re renting a property it’s all about the whole package.