Upgrading A Multifamily Apartment Without Flushing Out The Bank Account

Remodeling, Triplex

I don’t have a before photo, but it needed a lot of work. It was dated and worn out.  This one bedroom unit had been rented for many years at $450.00 a month.


When the tenants moved out the owner had asked several people about potential rents and he was given numbers in the $525.00-$575.00 range when fixed up.  The owner had also requested several bids to get it rehabbed, all of which came in high, requiring a several year payback period for the work: meaning that his option was also to keep the rent at $450.00 with minimal work and he would have done okay versus waiting 3 years for a return of this outlay to fix it up, assuming all goes well for 3 years.

The unit needed new floors, paint, shower, kitchen upgrade.  I was called to advise on the remodel. I did.  What the owner got was tasteful, durable and marketable upgrades that will mean a 12-18 month payback and rent at $650.00 per month.

The photo above shows the kitchen with was a disaster, one in which few people would cook willingly.  Here is what was done.

  1. The counter-top and sink were replaced with a simple one from IKEA.
  2. The back splash was added in a mosaic tile. The tile cost $4.95 per square foot in the big box store.  It adds lots of flair to the kitchen and it’s something that potential tenants always point out.
  3. The cabinets were painted in white with new silver handles.
  4. A new light adds lots of lighting to the space.
  5. The walls were painted a different color from the cabinets and the rest of the apartment to separte this space. It’s amazing what paint and color can do.


The bathroom surround was a disaster. Old tile that really dated the place. These were replaced with new while tiles that are modern and smooth, laid out in an interesting pattern.  A small detail of glass tiles is a nice touch for an extra $20.00.  One of the walls was painted a distinct blue color.


All these touches are simple and rather inexpensive to do. The all meant it was easier to show and easier to rent this apartment to a very desirable tenant. It was leased in 2 weeks.

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