No landlord wants to spend more time or money than they need to on property maintenance. If you’re planning to renovate a rental property, here are some handy rental renovation tips to help you transform your rental into a low-maintenance house that’s easy to take care of for years to come.
Avoid painting your interior walls in stark white paint. Not only does it mark and scuff easily, it can also make a home appear washed out. Instead, use grey or beige paints and opt for durable and washable paints such as Dulux Wash&Wear Low Sheen or, if your walls have imperfections, Dulux Wash&Wear Matt.
Invest in quality
Kitchens and bathrooms will get a lot of use, so invest in quality fittings and fixtures—cabinets, drawers, taps, shower heads, handles and so on. While it is tempting to go for the cheapest option, chances are you’ll spend more time and money replacing them in the long run.
Tip: don’t buy from a range that’s slated for discontinuation. It might be cheaper, but it may be difficult to find a suitable replacement later should you need it.
Go for bigger tiles
Larger tiles mean less grout and less opportunity for dirt, grit and mould to get a foothold. Just like interior paint, avoid whites and light coloured tiles and grout, it’ll show up dirt and stains faster.
Say no to wood benchtops
Wood benchtops and vanities are a recipe for rot and mould unless extreme care is taken with them. Avoid the hassle entirely and install a stainless steel benchtop, or, if your budget is small, go for laminate. Both options are durable and lightweight, ideal if you are installing it over existing cabinetry.
Mould-proof the bathroom and kitchen
Mould is a major problem in New Zealand and some types can have serious health implications. And let’s face it, having mushrooms growing out of your walls is not a good look. Kitchens and bathrooms are prime areas for mould to take hold, so to ensure your rental stays healthy and mould-free, we recommend:
- Painting bathrooms and kitchens with mould resistant paint.
- Adding extractor fans to avoid mould build-up.
To help make these areas easier to clean and longer lasting, opt for large tiles (if you’re planning to use them) and floating vanities, which will create less of a dust trap.
Opt for energy efficiency electricals
Choosing energy efficient electricals, such as LED bulbs and four or five star appliances, can increase the lifespan of your rental, as well as reduce the figure on your tenant’s electricity and water bills. In fact, you can pay up to 400 per cent more with standard light bulbs than you do with LEDs.
Installing a heat pump is another great way to save energy in your rental. In terms of energy efficiency, they outperform electric heaters, most four-star gas heaters, and wood burners (including pellet burners).
Tip: do your research on heat pumps, some are not as energy efficient as others.
Grass is gold
When it comes to your landscaping, simplicity is key. And nothing is more simple than grass. It’s great for controlling weeds and best used in flat areas where mowing is easy. There is a huge variety of grasses in New Zealand, but opt for a hardy variety such as kikuyu.
If that still sounds like too much work, there’s always synthetic grass. It’s green all year round and there’s no mowing or watering involved at all. Most products are also designed to drain well after a deluge of rain.
Tip: use paving stones in high traffic areas of your lawn to prevent your grass turning into a slushy mess in winter.
Cover up your garden beds
Don’t leave dirt beds exposed, that’s just asking for weeds and shoots to pop up and overtake your garden. Using a weed mat is one way to control weeds, however, they can be more of a hindrance than a help—especially if you want to do any additional planting later. For a more flexible solution, use mulch or ground cover plants.
Gravel and/or rocks are another ground cover alternative, however, be aware that it’ll mean more work if you want do any extra planting after it’s down.
Go for all seasons plants
On the topic of gardens, native plants, flaxes and succulents (think agave and aloe vera) are best for rentals. There’s less leaf litter to manage and you’re guaranteed green foliage year round. When picking your plants, it’s also worth considering:
- Climate suitability—for example, a coastal shrub is unlikely to take to alpine conditions.
- Speed of growth—a fast growing plant may require additional pruning, or could take over the garden.
Tip: if drainage is an issue in your yard, plant fruit trees to help absorb the water.
Add another living space
Not only does adding an outdoor living space cover more ground, it’s also one of the best ways to increase the value (sale and rental) of your property. Whether it’s a patio, deck, backyard rumpus room or shed comes down to the type of tenants you want to attract and your budget.
Want more top tips? Uncover some of our best professional advice on how to renovate a rental property for maximum return in our free guide.