One thing that is often undervalued and often overlooked by Property Mangers in Hawaii is the condition of the property. Many landlords look to cut costs on repairs as much as possible which ultimately sacrifices quality. Granted, a unit that rents out for $1,500 per month does not need a GE Profile refrigerator or a Viking cook-top, but consideration must be made when selecting the proper materials.
Things for every house
To appeal to a high quality tenants that would be attracted to a home on Oahu, the house needs to give the tenant a feeling that it is both clean and well maintained. The biggest items that play into this is paint, flooring, and the overall cleanliness to the property. Paint and flooring extend throughout the home and dingy walls or worn flooring can make a house feel dirty and poorly maintained. For each and every house, the paint and flooring must be in good condition regardless. It is always best to have a maid service and carpet cleaning company come through once all the work is done to give it that nice clean appeal. This not only helps the property lease more quickly, it also sets a standard to which the tenant now must uphold.
The best way to determine what to put into the property is to look at the neighbors houses and get an idea of what they have. If half the homes have granite counter tops and the other have tile, you do not want to be the only one with laminate. When it comes to condition, the home should be slightly above average to make it more appealing than others in the neighborhood. For light and water fixtures, be sure not to choose the cheapest thing you can find even if it’s a lower income property. A cheap faucet is poorly built and generally will not last very long. For fixtures, try to get mid quality unless the home demands something more. While it may cost $20-30 more upfront, it will save you from having to send out a repairman and replace the faucet sooner.
When choosing appliances, consider how much the tenant is paying in rent. Naturally, the higher the rent, the better quality the appliances are. Be sure to match what others homes in the area are coming with. A property owner does not want to have the only house on the block without a dishwasher because this gives a bad impression to the tenant. In terms of color, bisque/almond/tan is outdated and should be avoided. Black is modern, but it shows everything making it difficult to keep clean and scratches show easily. Stainless steel looks very nice and usually does not scratch, but it also shows everything making it hard to keep clean. White is very neutral, tends to hide some dirt and scratches do not show as easily, however some people feel white looks plane. In general, chips in appliances are noticeable, although black appliances usually do a better job at masking them. For homes in Hawaii, I recommend either white or stainless steel appliances depending on where its located on Oahu.
Long term tenants
To secure a tenant for a longer period of time, they have to like the home and feel that it is being taken care of. No one wants to stay in a home that is falling apart and things are not working, unless of course they are renting out the property at a low rate. Choosing quality products and investing in the neighborhood tells that tenant that you care about the property and what goes into it which establishes a level of respect and trust.
Final thoughts on the condition of the property
Overall, what you put into is is what you get out of it. However, if your management style is to rent out to low quality tenants and minimize your expenses focusing mainly on short term cash flow with the intentions on selling the property very soon, then it makes sense to cut back. Conversely, if its your goal to hang on to a property for more than 5 years, its worth taking the time and money to invest into the home. Not only will it help retain its value, it will also help increase your chances of finding a good tenant.
When in doubt, its always good to consult an expert property manager who can help guide you to make the best decision for your rental unit in Honolulu or on Oahu. Certified Property Solutions specializes in preparing a home for tenant occupancy. Learn more about our property management services and contact us today!
December 16, 2013