Rental Home Renovations to Attract Different Types of Renters

by Cristina Miguelez | Updated: May 22, 2020

Depending on where your rental property is located and what type of property it is, you may find that you have a bigger pool of potential occupants to choose from in one category or another, and want to know how to attract tenants in those categories. For example, in a family-friendly neighborhood with a good school nearby, your property may be of more interest to families than seniors, while a home near a community center or in an area with an older population is likely to see more aging applicants.

In order to maximize profits for your property, it helps to ensure that the house itself is attractive to your target occupant pool. The following rental home renovations have appeal to different categories of renters. Focusing on these projects can help know how to attract tenants specifically for the type of renter you’re after.

Remodeling Projects to Attract Millennials

A group of millenials.

If you’re trying to appeal to millennial renters, there are several subtle tweaks that you can make. The key is to understand what they’re looking for in a home, such as energy efficiency, an indoor/outdoor living space and good connectivity. The following projects are designed to help you learn how to attract tenants by molding your property into something this group of renters tends to be particularly interested in.

Build a Patio

Millennials put a lot of emphasis on having outdoor living spaces, and a patio is a great place to start. This is a good project for attracting both single millennials who want to entertain and those who have young families that need a place to relax outside. Patios enhance your property value as well, so they tend to be a good investment.

To keep maintenance down, look into stamped concrete and other materials that won’t require frequent sealing to look and function at their best. The cost of this project is around $4,000 on average.

Build a Sunroom

If your property is in an area where you won’t get a lot of use from an outdoor living room, consider adding a sunroom to your property. Sunrooms can definitely help add outdoor living space, and they can be more suitable to areas that have four seasons. A sunroom can be plain or fancy and add a lot of value to your property as well. Sunrooms have a wide range of costs. It’s possible to go plain for $8,000 or to have a fully finished sunroom for $55,000. 

Add a Smart Thermostat

Millennials want to keep energy costs down, both for themselves and for the environment. You can assist in this by installing a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can learn the schedule of the occupants and turn off the heat when no one’s home, saving energy. They can also help you prolong the life of your HVAC system, since it won’t be getting as much use. The cost of this project is usually around $300. 

Have Good Connectivity

If you live in an area that has spotty service, consider upgrading your home’s connectivity with an ethernet cable. With more people opting to work from home, having fast internet speeds can be very attractive to a certain set. This project can vary a lot depending on your needs, but adding ethernet costs a little over $1,000 in most cases. 

Remodeling Projects to Attract Families

Parents helping their daughter ride a bike.

Couples with young kids are going to have very specific needs for the properties they rent as well. They’ll be most attracted to your property if it’s in a good school district, has a yard or has a playground nearby. They may also be looking for a place on a quiet street or in a neighborhood with other young families. If your property fits this mold, consider any of the following projects on how to attract tenants that are looking for what your property offers.

Make it Secure

Couples with young families will want to know that the place they rent is safe. Make sure you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Consider installing a security system and building a good quality fence around the yard. Depending on the location, you can also consider things like a video doorbell, security cameras or an electronic gate on the fence as well.

Add a Laundry Room

Having a dedicated place to do laundry and store out of season belongings can be a big plus for growing families. Laundry rooms don’t have to be spacious or luxurious to be a good fit. A room with a washer/dryer, folding table and some cabinetry can add a lot of value and appeal to your property. Have it near the kitchen so it’s close to the hub of the home for best results. Laundry rooms can be added for a cost that ranges around $6,000 – $9,000 depending on amenities.

Finish the Basement

If your property has an unfinished basement, now is the time to complete it. Simply adding a low maintenance floor and a wall finishing system can turn a basement into a playroom for young children or a hang out for older kids. If you’re really invested in how to attract tenants that are couples with children, then this is extremely appealing to those renters who may feel there isn’t enough space in their home, no matter how big the house is. Basement finishing has a wide range of costs, but finishing systems start around $6,000. A finished basement also adds “functional utility” to a home, which can increase its value. 

Remodeling Projects to Attract Seniors

Grandparents holding their grandchildren.

More seniors are renting than ever before, and are often good renters. They’re quiet, take good care of their belongings and are often fairly reliable with things like rent. If your property is located in an area with other older adults, near a community center or the middle of town, you may want to make some modifications to make it more attractive to this age group. 

Add Grab Bars to the Bathroom

If you need to know how to attract tenants who are seniors with a simple project, then start by adding grab bars which can be life-changing for your renter. Grab bars near the toilet, sink and in the tub or shower can make a person feel safe in their own home. These also allow people to live independently for longer. If you want to be subtle, consider a grab bar that doubles as a toilet tissue holder or designer grab bars for the shower that enhances the style and appearance of the bathroom. Grab bars can be added for around $300 in most areas.

Remove Thresholds

Thresholds or transitions from one room to another can actually become trip hazards as we age. In some instances, they’re unnecessary and are solely for aesthetics. By taking out larger, speed bump-style thresholds and installing simple Schluter strips or other minimal transition strips instead, you eliminate the trip hazard. Now people with canes, walkers and wheelchairs can more easily navigate the property. Removing and converting thresholds costs around $500. 

Swap Knobs for Levers

Another simple project that’s also great for creating a universal home is to swap out all the knobs in the house for lever handles. These include doorknobs, cabinet and faucet knobs. These all need to be grasped, so they can be hard for people with arthritis to use. However, by making the switch to levers, you ensure that anyone can use them — from seniors to visiting grandchildren. These also make a property more attractive. This is an easy DIY project that can often be done in a weekend and helps a property look more attractive. Costs will vary, but expect to spend around $100 for a set of doors.

Remodeling Projects to Attract the Disabled

A woman talking to a disabled woman in a wheelchair.

Making your home universally accessible means that anyone can use it — from the elderly to the disabled. Many disabled people have trouble finding homes to rent that can accommodate their needs. They likely won’t want to move again once they get settled, so you’re likely to have lower turnover. Many properties can easily become more accessible by following the ADA standards for accessibility which can also provide some additional guidance on how to attract tenants that are disabled. Implement the following so you can widen your renter pool.

Add an Exterior Ramp

Exterior ramps are a great way to ensure your home is completely accessible and can be an added benefit for seniors. Be sure ramps have a good turning radius at the top for someone in a wheelchair to enter easily, as well as easy access from the path leading up to the ramp. Ramps have a wide range of costs, usually starting around $600.

Install a Wall Hung Bathroom Sink

Wall hung sinks are easier for wheelchair users to use and are accessible for everyone. Complete it with a gooseneck faucet with lever handles so anyone can use this sink with ease. Make sure that you have a big enough turning radius in front of it to ensure that anyone using the sink can turn easily to access a towel to dry their hands before rolling away. Wall hung sinks can be found for as little as $100. 

Add a Curb Free Shower

A roll-in shower or barrier-free shower with a shower seat can also be a plus for disabled users. This involves making the floor of the shower flush with the floor of the rest of the bathroom, usually by using the same material throughout the room. This makes the entire bathroom feel more modern, as well as makes it slip-resistant throughout the space. Go for a complete wet room to get a European feel. This project can be a big remodel, with new showers starting around $6,000.

Install Resilient Flooring

Resilient flooring throughout the home makes it easier for those who use mobility aids to get around. It also eliminates thresholds and can mean that the floor is more comfortable underfoot. This flooring helps prevent some people from getting injured if they fall, as it’s a little more forgiving. Examples of resilient floors include linoleum, vinyl and cork, which is an environmentally friendly option. Costs will vary depending on size and material, but it’s common to find resilient materials for around $5 a square foot.

Up Your Rental Game

By identifying the group of renters you want to see in your property and making specific renovations catered to them, you can often get more reliable occupants for your home. Consider any of these projects if you need ideas on how to attract tenants by making your property more appealing and taking your rental to the next level.

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