Landlords and property managers often think they need to undertake major renovations in order to raise rents. Sometimes that’s the case, particularly if a unit hasn’t been upgraded since the 1970s. More often than not, however, a few simple and inexpensive upgrades can add tremendous value to the property. Small changes can improve the look and feel of an apartment more than you’d expect.
This is particularly true when it comes to bathrooms. Whether you have a closet-sized bathroom or a sprawling his-and-her set-up, simple and inexpensive bathroom updates can make a world of a difference.
Here are 8 inexpensive bathroom updates that can help landlords and property managers increase the value and desirability of their rental properties.
8 Inexpensive Bathroom Updates You Can Do By Yourself
1. Paint the walls. A little paint can go a long way, and this is particularly true when a bathroom hasn’t been repainted within the past five years. A fresh coat of light-colored paint will make the bathroom feel fresh and airy. Try a neutral color like a soft white, or a universally appealing color like pale blue.
2. Re-grout. After years of wear and tear, the grout between tiles and surrounding the bathtub can start to look icky. The simplest solution is to use a bleach solution to scrub the grout clean, but that doesn’t always do the trick–sometimes, the grout will still look discolored.
Instead, consider re-grouting your bathroom. We like this DIY tutorial, courtesy of The Family Handyman Magazine. As the article explains, re-grouting bathroom tile only takes about a day and requires few tools and supplies. The easy, 3-step process will make your bathroom feel like new.
3. Replace light fixtures. Have one of those Hollywood light fixtures hanging above your bathroom counter? You know the type–the kind where the bulbs are staring you in the face in a straight line? It’s time to retire it. Light fixtures can be replaced for as little as $20 and are often on sale at local hardware stores. Even better, light fixtures can be replaced fairly easily–just be sure to turn off the power before you get started!
4. Install a new vanity. Upgrading your vanity can completely change the vibe of your bathroom. They can be expensive, but they don’t need to be. Try looking for a vanity that fits your requirements at a building supply warehouse, where you can find perfectly good pieces for far less than they cost in the store.
This is another one of those projects that can be finished in a day, but we’d recommend having a friend give you a hand, since vanities can be heavy. Here’s a great DIY tutorial to guide you.
If a new vanity isn’t in your budget, consider painting the vanity that’s already there. One of the benefits to painting a vanity is that you can get creative with color schemes. You can even use stencils to add fun accents that would otherwise be hard to come by with generic, store-bought vanities.
5. Replace hardware. There was once a point in time where floral-printed ceramic drawer pulls were considered high-end. Nowadays, those remind renters of grandma’s house. If you haven’t done so already, upgrade your bathroom’s hardware. This includes the drawer/cabinet pulls on your vanity, as well as the toilet paper holder and towel rack. These are relatively inexpensive bathroom updates that will make the space feel more sleek and modern in a single step.
6. Upgrade your showerhead. Rainfall showerheads are all the rage right now; but as good as they might look, they’re not very functional. Try opting for something equally as sleek but more useful, like a dual-head showerhead that includes the removable wand. This is an easy, inexpensive bathroom update that you can make on your own to give your bathroom a spa-like feel that residents are sure to enjoy.
7. Invest in a low-flow toilet. When it comes to bathroom upgrades, the potty talk is inevitable! The All Property Management blog recently published a series of posts about energy-saving upgrades that landlords and property managers should consider, and low-flow toilets made the list. Similarly, low-flow showerheads are an inexpensive bathroom update that can save you money in the process. (For more suggestions, check out the posts: Part I, Part II, Part III)
This is one of the more expensive projects that we’ve profiled given the hardware that’s required (e.g. a whole new toilet). You might also need the assistance of a plumber to install it properly. That said, low-flow toilets are sleeker than ever before and can save you hundreds of dollars each year on your water bill. This is definitely an upgrade to consider if there are multiple people living in your rental unit.
8. Re-glaze the bathtub. If your cast-iron bathtub is starting to look shoddy, consider having it re-glazed. This can cost anywhere from $500 to $800, but it’s a lot more affordable than having the entire bathtub replaced. Use a crisp white glaze to make the bathtub feel brand new.
Renovations can feel daunting, but we’ve learned that small and inexpensive bathroom updates can measurably increase the value of your rental property. These updates can be accomplished much faster than a complete bathroom remodel, which comes in handy particularly if you’re trying to turn over a unit quickly.
Looking for other ways to increase the value of your rental property? Consider hiring an experienced property manager. When you’re ready to get free quotes from property managers in your area, All Property Management will be here to help.
Amanda Maher is a self-proclaimed policy wonk who dabbles in real estate law. Amanda holds a B.S. in Political Science and Sociology from Boston University, as well as a Masters in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern.