Do’s and Don’ts for Renovating Your Toronto Rental Property
Property Renovation and Maintenance in Toronto
How much money do you need to sink into renovations before you rent out a property? Some landlords overspend, some landlords barely do anything – but how do you draw the line on your budget?
Keep your goals in mind
You have two purposes for renovation – functional ones to ensure everything is working properly, and cosmetic touch-ups to attract potential renters to the property. Functional renovations are necessary, but cosmetic touch-ups are where many landlords can get bogged down in expensive details. Do just enough to stage the property for renters and no more. Today’s rental market is a landlord’s market, so you don’t have to bend over backwards to attract renters with expensive items like granite countertops and a new paint job unless you are dealing with a luxury property.
Room priorities: Bathroom and Kitchen
The two rooms you want to focus on are the same ones you would focus on if you were selling the home – bathrooms and the kitchen. Both should be clean, free from pests such as mice and silverfish, and be easy to keep clean for your tenants. If there is evidence of pests, have an exterminator in to ensure a pest-free experience.
This is where you want to spend your renovation budget – if the bathroom and/or kitchen look like they are from the 1990’s, they’ll need updating. You don’t have to go high-end as mentioned before – fixtures and cabinets from IKEA or a similar place will do the job. Don’t try to do the work yourself if you’ve never renovated a kitchen or bathroom before – hire a professional to do it right.
Make the property a blank slate
If your goal is to attract long-term renters, they may want to paint and do other cosmetic enhancements themselves. You can go two ways here – paint with neutral colours where paint jobs are required, or wait until you find a renter and ask them how they want it painted. You’ll only want to do the latter if you have a tenant with a long-term lease of at least a year. Make sure you have final approval on all paint jobs and renovations in your rental property contract – you don’t want a tenant exiting their lease with black walls in the apartment. If you are going to paint, consult this article on colours which attract renters.
Renovate for durability and update old appliances
When renovating and refreshing a rental property, keep in mind that even the most fastidious renters aren’t going to treat it with the same care that they would treat a home that they owned. This means getting rid of fixtures that will break easily such as sticky door handles, replacing carpets with hardwood flooring where feasible, and choosing durability over appearance for materials such as tiles and cabinets. As far as appliances go, remember that if they break down you are responsible for repair, so replace appliances older than 10 years such as washers, dryers and refrigerators. If your rent includes hydro, make sure you are choosing energy-efficient options.
How much should I budget for renovations?
This really depends on the property, but if you have a detached home that needs updated appliances and updating in either the kitchen or bathroom, start with around $10,000 for a budget. Before you buy retail, check out Habitat for Humanity’s Restore – you’ll often find high-end fixtures and cabinetry here for a fraction of even the cost at IKEA. They also occasionally get in appliances, although you probably want to buy these new.
If you’re looking to renovate your rental property, Highgate offers renovation services – and we know what to renovate and what to leave alone, which makes our advice very valuable. We can also manage your rentals with our property management services, but we offer the renovation services on their own if you choose to manage your own property. Get in touch with us to arrange for an estimate.
Image Credit: Bill Wren, Flickr