Designing for Renters: The Renovations Guide for Landlords and Multi-Family Property Owners

At M&O Property Solutions, we understand the value and pride landlords take in multi-family properties. This is why we put together this comprehensive guide, “Designing For Renters: The Renovations Guide for Landlords and Multi-Family Property Owners”.

With careful planning, condo and apartment renovations can provide an impactful return on investment (ROI). For either whole-unit renovations or unit-by-unit remodeling, below is a guide on designing for renters.


Before you begin an apartment renovation

Assess: Create “nice to have” and “need to have” lists. The “need to have” will include structural issues and safety concerns. The “nice to have” list may include aesthetic changes like cabinet refacing or backsplash tiling.

Budget: What is the current market value of the property, and will the market tolerate a rent increase? Knowing the answer to these questions will help determine how much to invest in apartment renovations.

Regulations: Learn the local building codes and regulations and obtain permits to avoid fines.

Prioritization: What is the feedback from tenants? So, your tenants feel heard, focus on renovations based on their feedback. Also, consider what remodeling projects will attract new tenants. This might include kitchen remodeling, bathtub replacement, bathroom remodeling, interior painting, adding washer and dryer hookups, or improving outdoor spaces.

Communication: Give plenty of notice of any disruptions or temporary closing of facilities. Let tenants know what days of the week and times apartment remodeling will occur. If the unit is currently occupied, communicate openly with tenants about the renovation plans. Consider offering incentives for tenant satisfaction during the remodeling process.


Create the feel of a high-end apartment on a budget

Curb appeal: Consider the first impression of your multi-family unit or condo. This first impression matters. Exterior painting, updating entryway hardware and lighting, and keeping the landscaping fresh are all great, easy ways to improve curb appeal.

Common areas: With fresh paint, updated lighting, and landscaping, common areas such as lobbies, hallways, and outdoor gardens can feel brand new.

Amenities: Would adding a gym, a community space for co-working or games, outdoor seating, bike storage, or pet-friendly areas appeal to your target tenant demographic? These amenities could differentiate your multi-family unit from competitors and justify a rent increase.

Storage: Storage solutions in the unit like built-in shelves and closet organizers can make smaller units feel more expansive and therefore appeal to more tenants. Consider storage outside of the unit like a closet or a communal storage space.

Painting: A fresh coat of a neutral color can go a long way in your apartment renovation ROI. When painting also address any drywall repairs.

Flooring: While hardwood floors have great appeal, vinyl plank flooring or laminate are durable and low maintenance.

Kitchen remodeling: Begin with quick fixes like painting or refinishing cabinets, replacing worn or outdated hardware, and updating lighting fixtures. From there consider installing new countertops or backsplashes, ceiling fan installation, dishwasher installation, and garbage disposal installation.

Bathroom remodeling: Like the kitchen, create a functional bathroom aesthetic that will appeal to the mass market by replacing outdated fixtures and accessories, like towel racks and shower curtains, upgrading lighting, and refreshing the caulk around the tub and sink.

Energy-efficient upgrades: Consider installing energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, and low-flow fixtures to appeal to eco-conscious tenants and reduce utility costs over time. Many tenants are willing to pay a premium for energy-efficient features.

Quality: Invest in quality materials and energy-efficient fixtures to attract tenants and reduce maintenance costs. Updating cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, faucets, and light fixtures can create a high-end look on a budget.

Smart home technology: Smart technology can increase the perceived value of the property.

Consider programmable thermostats, keyless entry systems, and security cameras for tenant security.


During remodeling

Monitor: Stay actively involved in the renovation process to ensure that work is progressing according to schedule and budget. Quickly address any delays, miscommunications, mistakes, or increased costs that risk putting you over budget.


Once the apartment renovations are complete

Marketing: Invest in professional photography and videography to showcase the partially upgraded or fully renovated apartment units. Highlight the fresh cabinet painting, kitchen countertop installation, and flooring. Always stage a unit with simple, modern furniture to give the tenant a feel of what it would be like to live there.

Pricing: Based on the apartment remodeling and renovations and potential amenity additions, reevaluate rental rates. Be sure to compare your pricing with your competitors.

Maintenance: Have a proactive maintenance plan to preserve your investment.

We hope this renovation guide for landlords and multi-family property owners has been helpful when thinking about enhancing the value of your property. M&O Property Solutions is available to handle all your apartment rental needs, such as repairs and renovations, apartment turns, electrical services, and HVAC and water heater maintenance needs. Give us a call today. We are here to maximize your ROI on apartment turnover and maximize rental income for years to come.