Although this article is primarily written for income properties, it applies equally to homeowners who want to get maximum bang for their buck with home remodeling. To generate more rental income, or to give your soon-to-be-listed property the edge, it is sometimes necessary to put in a little bit of work. A full scale remodel rarely pays back even $.30 on the dollar. All other factors being equal (such as size and location), most renters and most buyers will select the unit with the better bathroom and kitchen. These are the areas you should concentrate your efforts, along with flooring (especially if the unit is vacant).
A one-bedroom rental in Honolulu that has a remodeled kitchen and bath will usually command about $175 – $300 extra in monthly rent. But the cost of a full remodel can easily cost more than $30,000 for a simple one bedroom. Much of that cost is in demolition, cabinets, and counter tops. Instead of a full remodel, consider “rejuvenation”. By this we mean, eliminate the most expensive aspects of a full renovation:
- Resurface or restore the bathtub instead of replacing
- Leave cabinets in place, and instead replace the pulls. You can also repaint the cabinets, or if the doors are laminated, you can replace the doors only
- Consider resurfacing the counter tops. If they aren’t too big, and you have the money, this is one thing you might consider replacing. Believe it or not, we recommend granite because it isn’t affected by heat, and is actually cheaper than Siltstone or Corian. Formica is cheap, but not durable. It is usually better to have us refinish an existing Formica counter top than replacing it.
- If your existing flooring is grungy and can’t be brought back to a “near-new” state, we recommend replacing with laminate. We can refer you to some excellent installers, and point you in the right direction for product – just contact us.
- Replace basic fixtures like faucets and lighting. Track lighting often shows well, is inexpensive, and is easy to install yourself.
- Replace old appliances. This will be a bigger expense, but will be worth it. We recommend getting lower mid-range appliances in most cases. For example, you can buy a new refrigerator for $600, and you could easily spend $3000 or more. Instead go for a stainless steel model in the $1200 range.
- CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN. Nothing will make a bigger improvement than putting in some elbow grease (or hiring someone to do it for you)