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5 DIY Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $3,000 Total

Is your rental property looking a little tired and ready for some TLC? If so, then there's good news. With less than $3,000 and some elbow grease, you can complete five high-impact, do-it-yourself improvements. Each will help attract potential renters and add to your property's value.

Costs shown here were estimated based on a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with approximately 1,700 square feet. While not exact, they should provide a good feel for budgeting.

For simplicity, we sourced widely available products from home improvement stores. YouTube also offers a rich library of DIY tutorial videos to help you can gain confidence and get moving.

1. Paint the kitchen cabinets

Tired wooden cabinets can be reborn with a few coats of paint. Start by cleaning them. If they're badly worn, lightly sand the old paint until it's smooth. It's also a good idea to rub them down with a sander deglosser so the new paint will adhere well to the finish.

Total: $349

2. Install a new kitchen backsplash

A new backsplash is an inexpensive way to bring extra color or light-reflecting shine into your kitchen.

The figures shown here are based on a common sized U-shaped floor plan. If you're not especially confident, there are plenty of attractive peel and stick backsplash options, too. These may not wear as long as a standard tile installation, but they provide a lot of visual impact for the money.

If you have 24 linear feet of 16" backsplash, the job requires roughly 32 square feet of tile. There's a huge range of tile patterns, colors and price points to choose from. This estimate assumes a $10 per square foot planning figure, which covers the cost of white subway tile.

Total: $649

3. Paint an accent wall

It's no secret that paint is a thrifty landlord's best friend. Select a wall in the living or dining room and paint it a deeper or brighter shade than the other walls in the room.

Total: $51.42

4. Replace the bathroom cabinets, tops and faucets

If the bathrooms are looking dated, it may be time for a remodel. Avoiding any changes to the plumbing will help control costs.

For roughly $1,600, you can replace two bathroom vanities with tops, add new faucets and replace bathroom lighting. Keep things simple by using the same fixtures in the guest and master bathrooms.

Total: $1,565.68

5. Paint bathrooms and install new towel bars

Nickel or polished chrome are popular finishes that will bring new energy to the space. Select towel bars in these tones for an instant update. It's a good idea to buy extras of these so you can replace items that renters break or lose in the future.

Total: $174

Overall project costs

  • Paint the kitchen cabinets: $349
  • Install a new kitchen backsplash: $649
  • Paint an accent wall: $51.42
  • Replace the bathroom cabinets, tops and faucets: $1,565.68
  • Paint bathrooms and install new towel bars: $174

Grand Total: $2,789.10

*Note: Prices are subject to change for each item.

Ready to get to work? Inspired to cost out other wish list projects for your rental property?

If your DIY aspirations also include installing new appliances, review our tips on buying appliances for your rental home.

Categories: Landlords

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About the Author
Melanie Merrifield

30-year landlord and freelance marketing writer, Melanie Merrifield has decades of experience as an advertising, UX content strategist and digital marketing professional. Her work supports companies such as AT&T, SCANA Energy, Bally’s Health and Fitness, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Synchrony Financial and other global brands. Off the clock, Melanie enjoys over-eating, collecting vintage vinyl and taking hip hop classes.