Let's face it: Tenants care less about your property than you do. It's just true. Sure, they pay monthly rent and cover the utilities, but as far as the home's long-term value and condition goes? Most won't give it a second thought (or even a first).
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your rental investment property from excessive wear and tear -- and the costs of it -- without ever involving the tenant. So if you want to reduce the wear and tear your property sees, as well as the time it takes to turn over between tenants, here are five ways to do it.
1. Install more durable flooring
Some floor materials are just more durable than others, so think long and hard about which ones you put in your properties. Hardwood, of course, is beautiful -- and could help you fetch a higher rent in some locations -- but it's also hard to care for and prone to scratches. Tile is similar and is easily cracked.
Instead, opt for materials like vinyl or laminate. These are hardier and can be more easily (and affordably) replaced. Engineered hardwood can also be a good option and can give you that more "expensive" look you might be going for. Here are some other flooring ideas.
2. Stick to glossy paints
Repainting the walls isn't just expensive; it's a hassle. And though spot-correcting is technically an option, too much cover-up could leave potential tenants worried about what lies beneath.
A better option? Invest in a high-gloss paint from the beginning. These paints are easier to clean than flat and semigloss ones, and they stand up to smudges and scuffs better, too. (A win-win!)
3. Avoid carpet
Carpets are like a death trap in rental properties. They hold on to smells and odors; they fill up with dirt, pet fur, and bacteria; and they can pose a major problem in moist areas (hello, mold and mildew!).
Steam cleaning between tenants can definitely help address some of these issues, but it's hardly a cure-all. Plus, you'll have to do it between every tenant in perpetuity -- and probably replace the flooring sooner than other materials as well.
4. Install door stoppers
Wall damage due to doorknobs, locks, handles, and other hardware is pretty common, and it can be a real pain to fix and repaint. Fortunately, there's an incredibly fast and easy fix here: stick-on door stoppers.
These are simple, easy-to-apply plastic rounds that go right on the wall. You just place them about where the door handle hits, and your wall is protected from damaging nicks and holes for the long haul. The best part? They only cost a few bucks.
5. Add a backsplash
With all the moisture, heat, and food in the area, kitchen walls can take a lot of damage. Areas surrounding the sink and oven are particularly prone to damage and usually need a good amount of attention between tenants.
A smart way to protect this area is with a hardy backsplash -- ideally one that stretches the full length of the countertop (and any prep areas). Material-wise, ceramic tile is a good choice, as it's durable and easy to clean. Porcelain and granite can be smart options as well. There are even peel-and-stick backsplashes.
The bottom line
Taking steps to make your properties more durable can mean easier turnover and fewer long-term repair and maintenance costs. And if you want more help reducing your costs as a landlord, try these tips.