Purchasing a rental property has the potential to help build, shelter, and grow your wealth throughout your life. The more you buy, the more this idea holds true. When purchasing these properties, however, it is always important to understand that there will be money that needs to be set aside each year, not only for any unforeseen mishaps, but also for updates when needed.

When determining if it is wise to make any updates on your rental property, remember that you should be able to increase what you charge for rent, attract better tenants, and help to ensure the integrity of the property for as long as possible. Before making any updates on your rental property it is important to consider these 5 factors, beyond the cosmetic appeal of the home.

5 Smart Investments for Your Income Property - tips, property management, investment, home

1. Flooring

One of the best ways to help decrease costs over time on a rental property is to invest in durable and timeless flooring. The best recommendations for flooring in an investment property include laminate flooring or tile.

To add a more aesthetic appeal for tenants, try to make it a wood look-a-like, as it is more traditional and timeless. It is also important to make the flooring neutral, as it will attract multiple tenants with an array of different styles. This helps them to picture their own things in the space and decorate it to their own tastes.

2. Paint

Paint goes a long way and is one of the easiest and cheapest updates that can be made on any home. It is also a safety hazard, as older homes tend to contain lead in their paint. For many people, especially landlords, it is often the cheapest paint that is used. When determining your pain it is important to understand different paints, and their quality.

Cheap and flat paint is easy to scuff up, damage, and can make your home look dingy after just a few months of living in the home. It is important to assess the sheen level of your paint, as it helps to determine wipe-ability, helping your tenants to keep the home looking nicer longer. It is also important to choose a basic neutral and light color throughout the home as it is more versatile. Stay away from pure white walls, as it can come across as sterile.

When you understand the sheen level of your paint it can be easier to determine what is best to use. Flat is dull, hard to clean and easy to scuff, it is typically only recommended for ceilings. Eggshell is the next sheen level, and is recommended for low traffic areas. Satin is a higher sheen level that is recommended for bathrooms and kitchens, as it is easier to clean. Gloss and High-gloss are recommended for baseboards and doors.

3. Energy Efficiency

A great selling feature for any home is its energy efficiency. This can be achieved in a number of different ways. First, assess whether the windows need to be replaced. Depending on the age of the income property, this can be a vital upgrade. Another consideration is the HVAC system. Make sure that you are getting maintenance done on it on an annual basis, helping to prolong the life of the system, and cut down on any emergency and often expensive needs. These smart updates will help make property management happy as your rental will be more automated.

Additional energy efficient items that you should invest in include appliances. This includes your fridge and freezer, dishwasher, stove and oven, and even the washer and dryer if you include this in your amenities.

4. Landscaping

Create simple, yet appealing landscaping. It is ideal if there is limited weeding that needs to occur, especially if you have an HOA that charges a fee if your property is not up to a certain standard. It can also be beneficial to put in an automated sprinkler system, this helps to  keep the plants and grass alive, maintain and prolong your curb appeal, and make your home more appealing to tenants.

5. Cabinetry

Having quality cabinetry is important to help appeal to tenants, and also decrease the need for repairs on your home. Replacing your cabinets is especially important if your rental is old, as some cabinetry begins to disintegrate from old press board, and also malfunction due to old hardware. Cabinetry applies to both your kitchen and bathroom vanity. An added consideration beyond cabinetry is durable countertops that are not easily damaged.


When you take into consideration all of these repairs and upgrades, remember your investment is a long term investment. You do not have to make all of these changes all at once, but should prioritize the most important, and make plans and set aside money for each. By doing this you are helping to ensure a more valuable and reliable asset.