By Paul Branton, Director of Investor Services for Home Rental Services
Just last month, we had the privilege of helping one of our clients acquire their second investment property. This property is a wonderful two story home in south Overland Park with a recently updated kitchen, finished basement, four bedrooms, two full bathrooms and two half bathrooms. When buying a property to rent, no matter the condition, there are going to be things that need to be done in order to enhance its performance, limit liability and reduce maintenance costs. We like to identify these items during the mechanical inspection and create a plan and budget to address them as quickly after closing as possible.
Here is what we did with this property
Front Porch: Installed Vinyl Railing – Enhanced Curb Appeal and Reduced Liability
The front porch, especially at the far end presented a potential liability by way of a fall hazard. In order to “eliminate” this liability, we chose to install a railing. When discussing with the owner the options available, we decided to go with a lower maintenance vinyl product. While this came at about a 10% higher cost than wood, this small increased expense upfront will be paid back relatively quickly by avoiding wood rot issues and painting costs.
Kitchen: Installed a 3-way light switch – Improved Functionality
During the home inspection, it was identified that the kitchen lights were only controlled by switches in the front hallway. This was rather inconvenient if you were entering/exiting the kitchen on the other side by the living room or dining room. Given the location of the existing switch and where we wanted the new switch, we knew it shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive but would really increase the functionality of the home.
Bedrooms: Fresh Carpet and Paint – Increased Appeal and Decreased Vacancy
When you are marketing a rental, prospective tenants are typically looking at the same things a buyer would be looking for. For example, if the kitchen and bathrooms are updated… and the condition of the flooring/paint.
Having new paint and carpet goes A LONG WAY in providing a fresh look and enhancing the appeal of your home. Yes, paint and carpet are not cheap but they ALWAYS help the house rent quicker and OFTEN at a higher rate.
Basement: Sump Pump Battery Backup and Radon Mitigation System Installed – Reduced Liability and Increased Peace of Mind
I was once told that there are two types of basement:
1) Those that have already had water in them.
2) Those that eventually will have water in them.
Of course this is meant to be funny, but isn’t the best humor that which has some truth in it?
Is your basement finished? If so, you really should have a battery backup for the sump pump. This proactive investment will provide you with the peace of mind, that in the event of a power outage, you will still have a working sump pump. (And that could save you thousands in prevented water damage!)
Does your property have a radon mitigation system? If it is like this property that did not have a system, it is advised to have the home tested for radon, and if the levels are “high” then you should install a mitigation system. If you’d like to learn more about radon, I would recommend this publication from the Kansas Geological Survey.
It is also worth noting that in recent months, we have experienced firsthand that folks moving here from out of state are especially concerned with radon and want to make sure the home has been recently tested and/or has a functioning mitigation system.
Truth be told… I was a little nervous about closing on this property at the start of February. It is not the best time of year for tenant placement, and it’s certainly my least favorite time to have a house vacant. Thankfully, with the work being done, it wasn’t just sitting vacant and it also turned out to be the perfect timing for the family moving in next week! I was so pleased to inform our client when we had the property leased at a higher rate than we had anticipated and before the work was even completed! I really love it when a plan comes together and puts you in the right place at just the right time.
If you need help acquiring an investment property in the Kansas City Metro, give us a call!