When you are trying to get tenants into your rental properties, it is important that you do everything you can to make the properties seem as attractive as possible. This isn’t to say that you have to invoke the spirit of Martha Stewart or Christopher Lowell to decorate your properties before you show them, but it is important that you present the properties in an up-to-date fashion that will be appealing to today’s rental customers.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five great ways that you can spruce up your rental properties on a budget.

1: Start Where Your Potential Renters Will, At the Curb

How does the outside of your property look when you first approach? Is the grass dry and dead looking, are the trees dying? Are there weeds in the flower beds?

If the front yard of your property does not say boldly and cleanly “welcome home” then you need to tidy things up. You would be surprised how much of a difference a few flowers and shrubs can make to the look of a property. If you are on a budget, then try using purple fountain grass which has a gorgeous deep purple shade and is highly resistant to drought. Snap Dragons can add a splash of bright color, and Morning Glories can help hide old chain link fences with their fast-growing vines, and beautiful flowers that open early morning. The best part about these plants is that they re-seed themselves and require very little water to stay looking great.

2: Grab A Brush

A fresh coat of paint inside and out will do wonders for the look of a place. Head over to the local discount home improvement center and ask about which colors are popular these days and then go with the lightest possible shade of those colors. Popular choices for landlords have always been white or cream, both for the neutrality and for the cost savings. However,  today people want color in their lives, medium gray, tan, rich blues, pink, rose, purple and red are all a great way to add a splash of color as an accent or in a larger space as a breakaway color. Other great colors to try for a brighter and more welcoming look are accent walls done in moss, teal, orange, burnt sienna, yellow, and lime. You can save money here by buying in five gallon buckets, and spreading the paint around more than one property.

3: Light-en Up

Swapping out older lighting fixtures for newer ones can bring a fresh, interesting look to your spaces inside and out. Just make sure that when you start swapping out fixtures, all of the other finished in the house should be swapped out to match (some would say the whole house has to match, but matching in the same room really is good enough). You can get a great price on fixtures at places like the habitat for humanity re-store and other discount retailers. 

4: Spice Up the Kitchen

Here simple things like painting the cabinets, adding a new backsplash of glass or stone tile (which can be gotten very cheap at a home improvement center), and trading out old appliances can make a world of difference. Replace any shiny or dull brass handles and drawer pulls, and add a little bead board under the cabinets and some wainscoting to provide some flare. Finally, some new tile on the floor can give the extra punch that you need. 

5: Freshen Up the Bathroom

Paint the cabinets and add a little beadboard accent around the tub. Finish off the counter top with a nice glass tile backsplash, and install a full wall mirror. Switch out the power outlets for ones that offer USB charging spots. Touch activated light switches, or ones which have motion sensors are popular and inexpensive. Most of all get rid of that ugly Hawaiian wallpaper and retile the floor. The biggest thing that you can do is to redo the shower. Tenants want high end shower systems these days that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot on them, but offer options such as massage hand units, rain or waterfall shower heads, and water shut off switches for soaping up or washing hair and they will love it.

These five simple things can help you get more out of your properties when it’s time to show them. Putting a little bit of investment in both time and money into your properties can make provide you with a faster turn time and allow you to get a higher rental rate, and that means more money in your pocket now and in the future.