Mike's Blog


So You Want to be a Landlord? Make it Stand Out...

So you want to be a landlord? Ok now it's time to make it stand out.


See the other posts in this series:

1. So You Want to be a Landlord? Pick a Niche...

2. So You Want to be a Landlord? Analyzing Potential Properties...

3. So You Want to be a Landlord? Finance It...


Congratulations! You're an investor!! You found a home... did your homework to make sure it cashflows... then you bought it! Now comes the fun part...getting it ready to rent...quickly...and to the best possible tenants.  It doesnt matter how much or how little work needs to be done to the home....there are lots of ways to make your rental property look like the home of some lucky tenant's dreams.


As a fulltime real estate professional...I have the luxury of seeing hundreds of homes a month all over the price spectrum. But if you don't have that luxury- spend a Sunday afternoon going into the open homes in higher end neighborhoods around you. What you're looking for is the look...the look that screams... luxury.... expensive... comfortable. Place close attention to the details and the materials used.

Then...we need to recreate that look in your rental home... cheaply. I'm a huge fan of trying to make my $100k rental property look like a $500k rental property. Everyone wants some luxury... let's give it to them in a cost effective way. Here's a few tips for for upping your bling value:


1. Replace vinyl flooring with inexpensive ceramic tile. Check out the "end of rack" specials at Home Depot or Lowes. Both have specials were you can buy ceramic tile for cheap money....sometimes as low as $.50 -$.85 a sq ft!  The look in a house you wouldnt normally find tile.

2. If you're replacing cabinets...use a darker wood like a cherry. Home Depot has a great off the shelf cabinet that's cheap but looks incredible when you pair it with a nice tiled backsplash.

3. Get the stainless appliances or atleast black. They are normally only a hundred $ or so more and the looks screams bling

4. Always replace toilets in your homes... no matter how hard you try...toilets are used...and disgusting. Replace them.

5. Add crown molding to the living room. It's inexpensive and it's immediately noticeable when you walk through the front door.

6. Add landscaping...curb appeal doesn't just apply to homes you are selling. Make your home look amazing.

7. Make the exterior color stand out from the neighbors... if the neighbors home are full of light colors...paint yours a tasteful darker color. If the homes are older and filled with grays, browns and faded blues...paint your yellow with a bright red door. Make it stand out. Everyone wants to live in the nicest home on the block.

8. Add some detail...add a fence section with some landscaping...you know alot of women dream of that white picket fence...give it to them. For a few hundred $ you can add a fence and paint it white. It doesn't have to be functional...it's just for the bling value.

9. Stage it...that's right. We normally think of staging as something you do when you're trying to sell a home. But you can create the luxury in someones mind by staging the home. Staging doesn't have to be expensive... at the very least add a few pieces of inexpensive furniture and some art, lamps etc that you can pick up at Target. Even a few $2 hand towels and a $10 shower curtain from Walmart goes a long way to go from Blah to Spa in a bathroom.

10. Don't forget Green. There is an entirely new niche of renters out there looks for ecofriendly rentals. Do your homework...there are tons of inexpensive ways to make your home greener.

Mike Hogan

Associate Broker

RE/MAX Commonwealth





Comment balloon 3 commentsMike Hogan • August 21 2009 09:12AM


Cutting BACK current overgrown bushes from windows and entries actually makes the dwelling appear LARGER, allows more light into the home (WOMEN LOVE LIGHT) and helps with security issues.

I task departing tenants with replacing burnt out light bulbs....if they do not replace them, I replace them with the new ones....and charge the departing residents' security deposit.

Younger tenants may have the "green" mind-bent; however, older residents don't know the options available to them..

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 9 years ago

Hi Mike, Most people don't think of staging a rental property. You are right, ceramic tile doesn't cost much more than vinyl flooring but it does make a great impact. It also can't get torn, chewed by puppies, burnt by a careless smoker etc. Longterm it could be cheaper than having to replace the vinyl several times.

Posted by Jen Bowman, Realtor - Anna Maria Island & Bradenton FL (Keller Williams on the Water) over 9 years ago

Wallace- I like that idea of tasking outgoing tenants with changing lightbulbs...Im adding that to my lease right away


Jen- Its funny how cheap it is. If you can lay it yourself it's crazy cheap.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago