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Upgrades That Make Your Cape Cod Property More Attractive

Interior of modern kitchen in luxury homeWhen you list your Cape Cod property for rent online, you’re not doing so in a vacuum. In reality, you’re competing with many other properties in your area, and your price range over the same pool of renters. These renters, as it turns out, have choices: just like anyone else, they’ll choose to live in the nicest-possible place, all other things—rent, utilities, commute time—being equal. Unless you take steps to make your property more attractive to them, you could find yourself on the losing end of this competitive process.

The key is to make strategic upgrades that improve the attractiveness of your property while also increasing its long-term value. In this article, we’ll review several potential attractive property upgrades and how you can best get started.

Remodel the kitchen and bathrooms

If you’re looking to reinvest in your rental property while simultaneously making it more attractive to local renters, it’s hard to go wrong with a kitchen or master bathroom remodel. Each of these projects carries a high return on investment, which is precisely what you should be aiming for any time you spend money on your rental property. But, more than that, a remodeled home will catch the attention of prospective renters. After all, everyone loves a remodeled kitchen.

In the property’s kitchen, opt for practicality and usefulness over luxury. You’ll want to go with high-quality stone countertops and long-lasting cabinets since these have the longevity and durability to stand up to wear-and-tear, year-over-year. However, to limit your costs, try to avoid significant layout changes or replacing otherwise-functioning appliances. A better upgrade might be in-cabinet storage features, such as slide-out pot and pan racks. These are typically inexpensive, increase the storage space in the kitchen, and reduce the stress put on the cabinets over time.

Replace aging cooling and heating systems

Your future renters will appreciate a remodeled kitchen or bathroom. In contrast, they need functioning cooling and heating. If your property’s air conditioner or furnace is nearing the end of its lifespan, now is the time to start thinking about replacing it. No renter—or property owner, for that matter—wants to deal with having to swap out an old furnace on a cold winter morning. Depending on where your property is located, and the state or municipal laws it falls under, any procrastination in fixing a non-functional cooling or heating system might be grounds for your tenant to vacate the property legally.

Our recommendation? Call a local HVAC company and schedule a fall or spring tune-up for your rental’s heater or air conditioner, respectively. This preventative maintenance appointment accomplishes two things: first, a certified technician will get your older system ready for the season ahead, helping prevent a breakdown. Second, it gives them a chance to thoroughly inspect the system and give you an honest opinion about how many winters or summers it has left. This allows you to plan for replacing it.

Once the property does have a new cooling or heating system, that is something worth advertising to prospective renters. Most tenants—especially those that have previously dealt with a malfunctioning or untrustworthy HVAC setup in prior rentals—will appreciate the seasonal reliability and energy savings that comes with a new air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace.

Make energy-efficiency upgrades

Unless you include their utility bills in their rent, your tenants are likely paying for water, electricity, gas, and sewer out-of-pocket. In essence, this means they’re the ones impacted by how efficient—or inefficient—the property is. If your rental property features single-pane windows, drafts coming in below doors, or imbalanced rooms, prospective renters are going to pick up on that right away. After all, they’re the ones who ultimately pay for all the inefficiency that’s baked into the property.

Taking your rental’s energy-efficiency into the 21st century is worth the upfront cost. You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars to get started, either. Work your way up: start by caulking around the property’s window frames and adding weatherstripping around doors. This will help reduce drafts and lower energy waste. Next, add more attic insulation and talk to a local home energy specialist about having the ductwork sealed and repaired. This reduces heating and cooling costs. If you want to impress—or it’s about time to replace them, anyway—upgrade the single-pane windows to efficient dual-pane ones. 

Advertise any of the efficiency upgrades you make so that renters know what you’ve put into the property. There’s a bonus for you: a more efficient property is also one that puts a less long-term strain on its cooling and heating systems. This means the air conditioner and furnace are more likely to last longer and run better as they age.

Start planning with a professional

If you’re ready to start making positive changes to your Cape Cod rental property, a great place to start is by speaking with a professional home remodeler or contractor in your area. When searching for companies or specialists, ask about their prior experience working with rental properties. An experienced contractor is more than just someone who knows how to remove drywall: they can help advise you on what attractive property upgrades would work best for you, what different things might cost, and how you should proceed. Working with a pro is the right move to make.

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