To do that, you’ll have to look at your property with fresh eyes--not as someone who's seen it regularly but as someone who’s never seen it before.
What jumps out at you?
That’s likely what someone will see the first time they ever lay eyes on your home as well, and that’s what you should change first.
1. Suggest New HOA Policies
If you live in a homeowners association (HOA), there are specific rules and regulations you can push for or enforce:
- Too many cars on your street? Bring it up at a meeting.
- Unsightly flags? Suggest a no-flag policy.
- Are all the homes’ facades and decorations lacking a discernible theme? Discuss setting up some rules that promote uniformity.
All these changes will add up to a more presentable property.
Landscaping can make a big difference while requiring relatively little investment. See if you can get some members of your HOA to coordinate some suggestions to improve your curb appeal. Bonus points if someone has a knack for landscaping.
Keep in mind the timelines of projects relative to costs. Planting seasonal flowers is a short term, low-cost investment, whereas a perimeter wall made of decorative stone may take years to finance.
A pressure-washing can make a huge difference. It can make your home, driveway, front steps, and curb all look shockingly new. If there’s enough of a need for it, your HOA can even purchase a pressure washer and rent it out for free or for a small fee that eventually pays for its cost.
Or, if you own multiple rental properties, owning a pressure-washer of your own may be worth it.
If you can re-tar and repaint the roads in your community, it will look and feel new. After all, when you’re in a car, chances are you’ll be able to feel the road’s imperfections. And if repaving is outside of your community’s price range, re-striping will suffice.
6. Upgrade & Repair Irrigation Systems
If you’re going to invest in landscaping, then irrigation may also require your attention. A fresh lawn and other plant life won’t last long or look great if they’re not adequately watered. Besides, nothing says, “white picket fence,” like sprinklers going off around the neighborhood at the same time.
This may be a long term investment for your HOA to consider.
7. Reconsider Grassy Areas
In many ways, lawns are a thing of the past. Consider alternatives like rock lawns, extra parking, tennis or basketball courts, storage units, outdoor gathering areas, or even indoor meeting spaces for your HOA or community.
8. Weed & Mulch
Weeding and mulching are perfect examples of low cost and low time-consuming changes you can make that will make your home and community more attractive. No more overgrown fauna, mulch around trees, and well-manicured shrubs and bushes make a big difference.
Proper lighting can go a long way. When night time comes around, you want lights that accent as well as illuminate. Consider lights as guides along walkways.
They provide a sense of familiarity in otherwise darkened areas, making people feel at home even when they’re not in one. Lights above your entrance also make your property feel welcoming.
A fence is yet another visual indicator of care. If the fences in your community require repair, fix them up. You may also consider a longer-term investment in vinyl fencing, which requires less maintenance overall, is easier to clean, and is less liable to be infested by bugs.
11. No Litter
One of the easiest ways to make your property look more beautiful is to pick up any loose trash. The days before or after trash collection are particularly susceptible to loose debris because trash spends the most time getting jostled around.
12. Color Coordination
A uniform color scheme will make every home look more beautiful. When coordinating your colors, make sure to research color theory and trends so that your choices end up adding to your overall aesthetic rather than detracting from it.
13. Numbers & Addresses
Make sure that it’s easy to identify the numbers or addresses of every unit within your community during the day and at night. Nothing gets an open house or tour off to a bad start like the frustration of being unable to figure out where you’re supposed to go.
14. CC&R Enforcement
All of these repairs and forms of upkeep will be moot if your HOA doesn’t enforce the community’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). Without proper enforcement, property values can still be dragged down.
Your town also likely has its bylaws that can be enforced with a phone call to the proper authorities.
15. No Strays
Cats and dogs may be cute, but you don’t want them wandering around your neighborhood. If you notice any strays, contact your town’s animal control department to see if they provide spay and neuter services.
If your city doesn’t offer such services, search for a charity in your county or state that traps, spays and neuters, and releases animals. Possums and raccoons may also be trouble animals.
16. Smart Thermostats
With a smart thermostat, you can control your home’s temperature when you’re not even at home. And when you are home, your thermostat, so long as it has this feature, can study your behavior patterns and set the temperature to fit your activities.
Smart thermostats can also be activated using personal assistant devices like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.
17. Smart Bulbs
Smart bulbs have a long life span and can be programmed to approximate several types of natural lighting, such as sunrises, sunsets, etc. They’re also more energy-efficient.
18. Smart Locks
Smart locks can grant entry using various methods, whether it be alphanumeric codes or even biometric data. You never have to change the locks when a new tenant moves in because you can just reset the code.
You’ll also never have to worry about being locked out because you forgot your keys.
19. Motion-Sensing Lights
Motion-sensing lights make people feel safer, more welcome, and they’ve got tremendous aesthetic appeal.
20. New Kitchen Appliances
The wow factor for new kitchen appliances is pretty high. They make your kitchen look nicer while also increasing your kitchen’s utility. An ice dispenser, garbage disposal, dishwasher, and microwave might not seem like a lot, but when you add them all up, their convenience makes a significant impact.
Having your own washer and dryer is hugely convenient. You can do your laundry any time of day or night. You can wash the one shirt you just spilled food on that you were hoping to wear in the evening with zero effort.
The benefits of a washer/dryer can’t be understated. For individuals used to having to go to the laundromat or even a washer/dryer elsewhere in the building, this in-unit convenience goes a long way.
Bottom line - A few changes can minimize your vacancy rate.
Whether it’s on your own or in cooperation with your community or HOA, these changes can make your property far more appealing and minimize your vacancy rate. These are also changes you can take pride in. Making any visit to, mention of, or thought about your property is something that’ll put a smile on your face.
These changes can be implemented by you, the property owner, or with the help of a property management company. Here at Mynd, our team members have years of experience in 19 local markets, where we know which of these property updates will give you the biggest bang fore your buck. Learn more about scaling your rental property portfolio, reducing vacancies at your rental homes and much more in through jour investors knowledge center!