Ready, Set, Renovate: Choosing Materials That Don’t Break the Bank

Break The Bank Materials

With fall just around the corner, we can’t help but think of change and improvement, and that goes for rental properties, too. Managing normal wear and tear on your rental is an ongoing battle, and tenants – especially those with pets or children – can have a big impact on the appearance of your property. You know that a fresh coat of paint can go a long way towards refreshing a space, but if it’s time to do a larger renovation, here are some tips on choosing materials that score points on durability and won’t break the bank:

  1. Laminate, vinyl or tile flooring. What type of flooring you choose will depend, in part, on the value of your property and its location. In most cases, it’s advisable to go easy on the carpet. It takes just one coffee, soda or grape juice stain to make a carpet look horrendous. Further, carpet can be a turnoff for tenants with allergy concerns. Consider limiting carpet to the bedrooms and install laminate, vinyl or tile in the dining and kitchen areas where spills are most likely to occur. These materials hold up well, are easy to clean and can withstand pet messes. Even better? Many of the newest materials are designed to replicate the look of wood or stone, so they’re both beautiful and functional.
  1. Use a satin or eggshell paint finish. A flat finish won’t wipe clean and a high-gloss paint will show every imperfection on the walls. An in-between satin or eggshell paint finish can benefit from a thorough cleaning and potentially save you from repainting entire rooms when a tenant moves out.
  1. Buy renovation materials from a resale store. Some building supply stores specialize in reclaimed material that you can buy at a discount over the cost of new items. Explore whether you can get light fixtures, doorknobs, doors, ceiling fans, toilets, appliances and other items at one of these locations.
  1. Choose an appropriate countertop. The main concern for countertops in a rental is durability, but you’ll want to be sure that your countertops are of a quality and style that complements the rest of the house. Also consider the property value and location when making your decision, and choose a surface that preserves or enhances your potential cash flow.

When renovating, focus on the kitchen and bathrooms, as these are usually the first things potential tenants look at and are also rooms that suffer the most wear.

Of course, the good news for making renovations on a rental property is the tax implications. If a certain task can be classified as a repair (e.g. repainting a room), the full cost can be deducted from your taxes for that year. On the other hand, improvements (e.g. installing carpeting) can be depreciated over a set period of time, with an annual deduction taken. It’s important to understand the difference between making an improvement and making a repair to your rental property, so be sure to discuss with your tax professional.

Last but not least, it’s a good idea to have renovations performed by a licensed, bonded and insured professional to ensure your rental turns a new leaf towards increased longevity.

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