Owning rental property comes with plenty of expenses. You’ve got property tax, city tax, and if you live on a private road, you have to pay for road maintenance.
Unless you include all utilities in the rent, your tenants also have expenses, including electricity, gas, garbage, sewer, and water.
Regardless of who pays the bills, you’ll benefit from making the following upgrades to your properties (where appropriate).
1. Better Insulation
Insulation is often underestimated. An uninsulated roof, for example, can make the inside of a home as cold as the outside. Heat rises, so when the roof is uninsulated, all heat produced in the home escapes through the roof.
In an insulated living space, a tenant can run the heater for a while and turn it off when they get warm. In an uninsulated living space, a tenant will have to run the heater nonstop, and even so, the space will still feel cold.
There are many types of insulation to choose from, but you only have a few options when the house is already built. For example, foam boards are great for installing in floors, ceilings, and unfinished walls. Foam boards can be glued in place, or cut to fit snugly between joists.
The best foam panels will have a thin layer of mylar on one side that will reflect the heat. They’re also cheap, and you can insulate the roof in a 12×12 room for just a couple hundred bucks.
2. Solar or Wind Power
Solar power isn’t reliable as a home’s sole source of electricity, but it’s definitely worth looking into. Wind power isn’t reliable, either, but it’s cheap and can help to generate power at night when the sun goes down. Both solar and wind power can be stored in a batter for later use.
Small homes can be outfitted with solar power more affordably because they don’t require as much energy as large homes. However, even a small solar power system will help a large home reduce energy usage and costs.
You might think it’s hard to install solar panels and connect them to the grid. However, solar systems aren’t complex to install. It is advised to hire a professional, but many DIY-oriented people have done a great job.
3. Energy Efficient Appliances
Having energy-efficient appliances will automatically decrease energy bills. These appliances are specially made to use less energy than other appliances.
The most common are the Energy Star appliances, including dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators.
If your tenant’s electricity is included in the rent, you’ll definitely want to install energy efficient appliances in the house. If you don’t pay for your tenant’s electric bill, you’ll still benefit because the appliances will create less of a load on the house.
Once your property is fitted with energy efficient appliances, you’ll have an easier time renting it out. Tenants want to save money as much as possible, and electric bills can be extremely high.
Some landlords supply tenants with equipment to maintain the yard. It’s not common, but many landlords do it to ensure their tenants take care of the land.
If you provide your tenants with gas-powered equipment like lawnmowers and weed whackers, consider asking them if they’d like some manual tools instead. Gas is expensive and it’s getting more expensive by the day. Manual tools will save tenants money on gas and are surprisingly efficient.
For example, using a scythe to mow the lawn and take down weeds is hands down more efficient and faster than using a weed whacker. It’s amazing how old-fashioned tools are actually better than modern tools.
A scythe is also more environmentally-friendly, since it runs on manpower and not gas. You’ll need to sharpen the blade in the field every 5-10 minutes, but that only takes a few seconds with a whetstone.
5. Porous Asphalt or Concrete
Does your property collect puddles of water during a storm? If there are spots on your property that collect large amounts of water, you’re going to have water damage underneath your asphalt or concrete.
A good solution is to install a permeable pavement overlay to create automatic drainage. This special material will drain the water down into the soil and prevent pools of water from forming.
Perform Upgrades that make the most Difference
There are an endless number of renovations you can make to your rental properties. When you don’t have endless money to spend on renovations, perform the upgrades that will make the biggest difference for you and your tenants.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.