As any experienced landlord can attest, renovating rental properties can prove beneficial in a number of ways. In addition to ensuring that properties are safe and up-to-date, certain renovations can help improve residents’ quality of life and increase property value. However, landlords who are approaching renovations for the first time are liable to have their work cut out for them – especially if they don’t have the right information at their disposal. So, if you’ll soon be making renovations to a rental property, take care to heed the following tips.
Obtain Estimates in Advance of Beginning Work
Commencing work on large-scale renovations without first obtaining estimates from relevant contractors is liable to result in a major case of sticker shock once the work is completed. Unless you know how much you can expect to spend, properly budgeting for rental property renovations is likely to prove impossible, and you may ultimately come to discover that the project is considerably pricier than you initially expected.
With this in mind, reach out to relevant contractors and request estimates in advance of green-lighting any property renovations. In the interest of forming a clear picture of how much the work should cost, obtain detailed estimates from numerous contractors. Should you find that one contractor’s estimate is considerably cheaper or pricier than the others’, you have every right to inquire about their pricing.
Furthermore, while estimates can be extremely helpful, it’s important to understand that they aren’t always flawlessly reflective of a project’s final cost. As such, it’s recommended that you set aside additional funds in anticipation of emergencies and the final bill being slightly pricier than the estimate.
Work With Licensed Contractors
The renovations are likely to go a lot smoother if you work exclusively with licensed contractors. Individuals who are properly licensed, registered or certified to work as contractors in your jurisdiction will provide you with a greater level of professionalism, reliability and general expertise than people who couldn’t be bothered with the licensing process. Licensed contractors are also able to easily pull a wide assortment of permits, which is particularly helpful in municipalities in which high-quality building permit software is utilized.
Given the comparatively low rates unlicensed contractors tend to offer, you may believe that working with them represents a smart way to save money. However, an unlicensed contractor doesn’t have as much incentive to stick with jobs until the end, budget properly or guarantee their work as someone who’s licensed. This can result in subpar work that can only be fixed – or fully redone – by a licensed contractor. So, in the interest of preserving your financial resources and avoiding copious headaches, take care to stick with licensed contractors when renovating your rental property.
Provide Tenants with Advanced Notice
If the renovations being undertaken stand to inconvenience or create problems for a property’s tenants, make a point of providing them with as much advance notice as possible. For example, if you’re renovating a parking area or laundry room, your renters’ daily routines are liable to be impacted to some degree, and they deserve to know when work is set to commence. Furthermore, if your contractors provide you with a detailed time-line for the project, take care to make your tenants aware of the project end date, as well. Additionally, depending on how much these renovations are likely to bother tenants, you may want to consider enacting a temporary rent reduction.
Make Sure Work Areas Are Properly Sealed Off
To help ensure maximum safety for everyone involved, make sure that your contractors properly seal off any areas in which they’re working and secure any equipment that isn’t in use. If tenants accidentally wander into a work area, they’re liable to injure themselves or create problems for the contractors. It’s particularly important to make work areas inaccessible to children, so if any of your tenants are parents, make sure to properly warn them about the many dangers construction zones hold.
It’s no big secret that renovating rental properties can benefit both landlords and tenants. Renovations help landlords add value to rentals and provide tenants with a more comfortable living experience. However, this isn’t to say that all landlords approach renovations in the proper manner – especially landlords who are relatively new to rental property ownership. Fledgling landlords who are looking to undertake renovations the right way would do well to consider the advice outlined above.
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