Interior Love: Easy Tips for Your Renovation

Sprucing up the inside of your investment property will make your home more attractive to potential tenants. You might even be able to charge more rent. Here are some quick and easy ideas for renovations on a budget.

#1: Security sells

While you legally need to ensure your property is safe and secure, bumping up security can be an inexpensive way to please tenants and lower their insurance premiums. Key locks on frequently used windows are a good choice, as are lockable security doors that allow in fresh air. A night latch or door chain can offer extra protection on a front or back door. Many people appreciate lockable bathroom and toilet doors. A simple slide lock is easy to self-install. Position locks out of the reach of young children, so parents don’t have to worry that kids will lock themselves in.

Costs:

  • Window locks start around $45 for a key-lockable option.
  • Night latches start at $24.
  • Door chains start at $5.
  • Lockable security doors start at $139.
  • Slide locks for interior doors start at $4.

#2: Maintenance is important

If you’re renovating for profit, anything that’s in poor condition should be a priority. Potential tenants will notice loose electrical points, flaking ceiling paint, dripping taps and loose door knobs. If your rental includes appliances, make sure they're clean and in good working condition.

Costs:

  • Plumber from $78.40 an hour.
  • Electrician from $74.61 an hour.
  • Handyman from $30 an hour.

#3: Cost-efficient heating and cooling

Australia has some pretty extreme weather conditions, so ‘plug and play’ cooling and heating appliances can be expensive for a tenant to run. A split system is the most cost-effective way to temperature control your rental property. Installation must be done by a licensed tradie – you can’t do this yourself. As this can be a significant cost, you may prefer a system that costs more upfront, but lasts a lot longer. Talk to an air-conditioning expert about your options. You’ll need to consider the room size, expected use and maintenance.

Costs:

  • A single split system starts at $500.
  • Installers often charge by the hour. It could be around $600 to $750 for installation. 

#4: Modernise and open the kitchen

Nothing says 'rent me' like a nice kitchen. As the hub of the modern home, it's one of the most important rooms in the house. The key elements are maximum bench space, plenty of storage and as open plan as possible. Before doing any serious work, check with your rental agent about the possible return on investment. If it adds up, move cupboards or walls to improve the layout. Clean and fresh is also good – wash down all surfaces and inside cupboards thoroughly, and repaint anything worn or dated. Replace chipped or damaged cabinet doors. If you’re short on time or energy, a professional cleaner can get the oven in tip-top shape.

Costs:

  • Cabinet doors start from $18 each
  • Cabinet door handles start from $20 for a pack of ten.
  • Paint costs from $15 per litre.
  • A professional oven cleaner starts at $125.

#5: Update your bathroom

Tenants are not excited by dirty or old-fashioned bathrooms. Have the tiles and grout professionally cleaned – redo the grout if it’s damaged. You can DIY, or use a professional if you’re not confident. Dated tiles can be resprayed to a neutral colour as a cheap way to update the look. Replace the old or shabby toilet (you’ll need a licensed plumber). Revamp your cabinetry with paint or new doors and door handles. If the bathroom is seriously out of date, check out auctions for a new vanity – you can pick up a bargain. Another quick fix? Update the taps - it can totally change the style of a sink or bath.

Costs:

  • A complete bathroom resurface can take two to three days, and will usually cost between $1800 and $3000.
  • A new toilet starts at $97.
  • Plumbers can charge by the hour. The toilet replacement could cost between $300 and $400.
  • New taps start from $50 and head upwards.
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