Kitchen Updates for Rental Property: Spend Here, Not There

One of the toughest decisions that any landlord or property manager has to make is deciding what to spend money on upgrading. It’s challenging to know where to draw the line. In order to keep a property rented, its kitchen certainly has to be functional and appealing,  but there is no need to go overboard to get this accomplished. So what are some good kitchen updates to spend money on and others which should be avoided whenever possible? Here are some budget-friendly solutions that will help make any kitchen more functional and attractive: 

Add an Island to Increase Counter Space

One of the biggest problems with apartment or condo kitchens is lack of counter space. Adding new counter space is expensive and may not even be able to be done without completely changing a kitchen cabinet. Try adding an island in the middle of the kitchen instead. A small or moveable island will increase kitchen functionality, storage, and does not have to match cabinets exactly. You can also extend counter space by building burner covers and adding cutting board extensions.

Refurbish Upper Cabinet Doors

Are the doors on your kitchen cabinets becoming an eyesore so you are thinking about replacing those cabinets? Try removing the cabinet doors on the upper cabinets and doing a little refurbishment on them as an alternative. Because people tend to pay less attention to the lower cabinets, you can make the uppers your visual priority. Just one cabinet with no door can be an attractive shelf and useful, though you must fill in the holes from the door hardware. However, if the kitchen has all upper doors that are unsightly, removing them all will lower the appeal and functionality. In this case, replace them all. By focusing on the upper cabinets as a set, you do not have to match the lower cabinets, as contrasting upper and lower cabinets is a popular design trend currently.

Install Some Backsplash Tiles

One of the dullest and hardest to keep clean wall areas in any kitchen is the wall area between the counter and the cabinets above it. There is an easy solution to this problem. Adding backsplash tiles to that area will improve its looks and make it much easier for your renters to keep clean too.

Replace Fixtures

One of the cheapest transformations is to changing some of the fixtures and hardware. Such kitchen updates as adding a new high-rise faucet on a kitchen sink will cheaply change that existing sink with a low mounted faucet into a more functional and better-looking one. Kitchen cabinet and drawer handle updates can also dramatically change the looks of an existing kitchen. Even something as subtle as changing out your outlet covers actually has a dramatic effect, giving a fresh renovated appearance.

Replace the Existing Kitchen Table with a Fold-Down Model

Here is another idea for rental property kitchens that seem to lack space. You can simply install a fold-down table into the wall or add a table with leaves that fold down when not in use. This will give the renters plenty of room when preparing meals and also still have things covered when it’s time to sit down and eat. Wall-mounted tables and tables with fold-down leaves come in many sturdy and attractive styles these days too. 

Rental Property Kitchen Updates to Stay Away From

Don’t Buy New Appliances

Just a quick trip to your local home improvement center will tell you all you need to know about the prices of kitchen appliances these days. That’s why postponing replacing them is an absolute must.  Appliances that have bad looking surfaces can usually be cleaned up or refinished so they look more than acceptable. 

Refinish Cabinets As Opposed To Replacing Them

One of the highest cost items when doing any type of kitchen update is to replace the existing cabinets with new ones. The question is why go to this expense when many times simply refinishing the existing cabinets will accomplish just about the same thing. Even stripping them down and refinishing cabinets is usually much cheaper than installing new ones.

Rust-Oleum even offers a line of ‘Cabinet Transformations’ products that will help even the oldest kitchen cabinets look significantly better after using it. A complete cabinet coating kit from them usually retails for less than $100.

The Same Goes For Countertops

Countertops on rental property kitchens often take a beating. This is because most renters think cutting on them or putting hot pans directly on them is no big deal. If your kitchen countertops are in bad shape resist the urge to replace them at a high cost. There are companies that refurbish countertops at a very minimal cost. Many kitchen counter types can even be cheaply refurbished by you or your handyman. There are even low-cost kitchen countertop coverings available that only require simple DIY installation.

Always Choose Refurbishment as Opposed to Renovations

Any time you are talking about changing the structure of an existing rental property kitchen, you are talking about a project that will take a big bite out of your budget. The fact is most of the time it’s not necessary even if the existing kitchen is in bad shape. Simple kitchen refurbishment that includes such things as thorough cleaning, redecorating and subtle updates can accomplish many of the same things that you are looking get out of a kitchen renovation.

Consult With An Interior Design Expert

You can usually get a consultation at your rental property from an experienced interior designer for less than $250. Yes, this may seem expensive to some but you have to consider the benefits that design professionals have to offer. The advice they give you on how to update your rental property kitchen in a budget-friendly way will most likely end up saving you thousands of dollars. It will also leave you with a much better looking and more functional rental kitchen than you ever thought possible.

Final Thoughts

Owning a rental property is a great investment. However, it’s important investors make smart decisions when updating their rental property. They need to set personal tastes aside and work off of a budget, if not their profits can go down the drain.

Author Bio:

Peter Evering
Utopia Property Management
Managing your SFH, Multi and Commercial Property

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Kitchen Updates for Rental Property: Spend Here, Not There
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Kitchen Updates for Rental Property: Spend Here, Not There
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Owning a rental property is a great investment as long as investors make the right improvements. Here are some great tips when updating a kitchen.
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