After you have purchased an investment property, have you ever encountered the dilemma of figuring out which things should be replaced or upgraded?
Chances are you have already spent so much money acquiring the property, you may be reluctant to spend an extra dime in renovating the place (or at least, delay renovations until the cash flow starts coming in).
According to biggerpockes.com and Che Chiu Wong the top 5 items to replace or upgrade in every rental property include:
You may be surprised how large of a water bill a leaking toilet can cause. The main reason that a toilet is a must-fix item is because leaking toilets can run 24 hours a day. While the potential damage can be immense, the action to be taken is surprisingly easy. You do not need to replace the entire toilet (although for long term holds, it’s not a bad idea). Just “gutting” the toilet by replacing the toilet system inside will help with this issue.
Even if the lock is fully functional, you should always change the locks. You don’t know who possessed the keys before. Instead of coming up with any justifications to convince yourself why it is okay to use the old ones, just change them.
3. Light Bulbs (Including Security Lights)
For common areas such as the hallway, using long lasting, energy saving light bulbs will reduce your electricity bill. More importantly, new light bulbs reduce the number of easily avoidable “Would you please change the light bulb” phone calls.
4. GFCI Electric Outlets
These are special electric outlets that can shut off automatically when electricity runs through unintended paths (body, water). Such outlets run a little bit more expensive, but they are well worth it in certain places for safety reasons. In fact, they may be required by law for places near water, such as kitchen countertops, bathrooms, washer and dryers.
5. Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Alarms
Install a whole new set of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, and you won’t have to worry about them for the next several years (as long as your tenants don’t tamper with them). Of course, if you use the battery operated alarms, you will have to change batteries for the alarms. Instead of viewing replacing batteries as a chore, think of it as a good chance for you (or your property manager) to “inspect” the property as well.
Remember, by doing the small things first, you can minimize headaches and safety issues down the road.