When long term tenants move out, it usually means there will be some work, especially in an older property build in the 50’s. In this fourplex in Central Phoenix I had already remodeled three other units and this one was left. The tenant had been there for about 6 years when he moved out.
During his stay I had once painted the unit, replaced the flooring and put in a pedestal sink in the bathroom to give him more room for a wheelchair, but once he moved out it was time to update it with some light colors, some modern style, newer fixtures and on a budget that will make business sense.
Most of the work was cosmetic, but we did replace some plumbing, especially valves. Valves need to be operational. To keep them operational they need to be replaced every few years because of the hard water here in Phoenix. It’s not easy to replace them with a tenant in place, but once vacant I think it’s a must. In addition we replaced all the light switches and electrical contacts. These are inexpensive, but help make everything feel new.
I’ll try to go down each photo and tell you what I did and why.
The kitchen cabinets stayed original in this unit. They were build well and in good condition, so we decided to paint them in a white flat enamel to make it easy to clean, the handles were replaced and lots of drawer bottoms. Of course the formica countertop probably put in sometime in the 80’s was replaced with a durable one from Ikea, along with a new sink, faucet and all connecting pipes were replaced.
To tie it all together we tiled the back-splash top to bottom in a nice glass and stone tile which cost about $6 per square foot. The light above the sink is attractive and similar in color to the handles: it cost only $20.00.
The well made hood stayed, but with a refresh in color.
The door leading to the small backyard was replaced with one you see below. I was going to put in a full door, but this space needed light and a little big of extra cost was worth it for the extra natural light it provided. Instead of painting it white, at the last minute, I decided to stain the wood on the inside to a dark walnut to match some of the dark accessories in the kitchen: it’s white from the outside. I think it looks rather nice this way, especially if the tenant puts a few accessories and plants outside. The window can easily be covered with a multitude of choice window coverings.
The tile in the bathroom tub stayed, but the floor was redone with the same tile as in the kitchen. The wall with the water handles was shortened about 4 inches to allow better access to the toilet and sink. Both the sink and toilet were replaced. This is a small bathroom so the sink had to be a small depth: it’s 18″ deep. The toilet was a great deal: it did not cost very much, came as a complete set, had a super nice flush and uses about a quarter of the water the last toilet used.
I would have liked to replace the tub with a shower and new tile, but this was cost and time prohibitive and unnecessary.
Except for new paint and ceiling fans the living room and bedroom are the same. I don’t put in the cheap $25.00 white crap fans that look the cheap part. These cost $79.00 which is not expensive, yet they look much more appealing and will last longer. I find that potential tenant like to see ceiling fans: this helps lease the property. I don’t use glossy or semi glossy paint. I use a flat enamel: it’s more attractive!
The complete remodel took 2 weeks and we actually had it leased before it was finished so on the same day it was done the keys were handed over. That’s not a bad turnaround and very short vacancy time. Well cared for apartments attract better tenants that stay longer: they also have less issues which require less time spent managing the property. A little extra effort can go a long way to make a property profitable and less management intensive.