Kitchen Finishes | Rental Properties

I apologize for the impromptu blog hiatus! Our personal life was thrown a curveball, and I have been pre-occupied with some of those things. However, I am excited to share this post with you lovely people today! One role Brian and I have found ourselves in lately is that of Landlord, which is both exciting and daunting. On one hand, it is one step further towards creating future retirement income for us. On the other hand, we are responsible for maintaining the shelter for other human beings. This means that if something unexpectedly breaks, it is on us to fix it, no matter what. Sometimes these repairs can be pricey (such as plumbing problems or replacing an A/C unit), so I think it is important to be proactive and prepare your rental home as much as possible for the wear and tear of renters. In most cases, I think renters are respectful and take care of the space they are renting, but there are a select few out there who don't seem to care about getting their deposits back...

The Sea Spray Condo gets a lot of turnover being a seasonal, weekly rental property. In addition, it is on the beach, which means vacationers dragging in lots of moisture and abrasions. We needed some durable finishes for this place, so when helping my parents update, I did a lot of research. I think the perfect rental property is a combination of pretty and durable, especially rentals at a lower price point. You want the design to be inviting in order to entice potential renters to showings, but at the same time, it HAS to be durable. Otherwise, you will spend thousands of dollars each time a renter moves out making repairs. Not fun, and definitely not profitable.

Below are some basic finishes that I think are right on trend, affordable, as well as durable to keep both you and your renter happy!

Elizabeth Burns Design | Rental Property Finishes- income property, real estate investment, house flipping, shaker cabinets, grey wood floors

Cabinets // Kitchen Faucet // Flooring // Sink // Refrigerator // Chandelier // Countertop // Knob // Pull

  • FLOORING: It gets a bad rap, but I have to confess, it is hard to beat vinyl sheet flooring. This product has come leaps and bounds from the days of mustard yellow vinyl flooring. They now have vinyl that looks like marble hex tile, and actual planks that look, feel, and install just like hardwood. Tile is durable and looks great, but the grout inevitably gets dingy, and if a tile cracks, it is difficult to repair. Plus, the upfront cost is pretty hefty. If you need new flooring for a kitchen or bathroom, please consider this super durable option.
  • CABINETS: Everyone loves solid hardwood cabinets, and depending on your location, they may make sense in a rental. In general, I think a cheaper, white cabinet is the way to go. The one pictured above is a trendy Shaker style, which buyers will appreciate, but it is also a laminated cabinet and super easy to clean. Since they are so inexpensive, it would be easy to swap out one cabinet for a new one were it go get dinged.
  • COUNTERS: Granite is great, and marble is even better in my book, but both of these items still require at least yearly maintenance, which can be tricky to take care of when a renter is in the home. If your property rents for $1200 or more, I might splurge for granite, as most renters probably expect it. PLEASE, do not use marble. I am just as obsessed with marble as the next gal, but one red wine ring on unsealed marble and game over. On the Myrtle House counters, we are using this lovely laminate that has the look of Soapstone. It is super cheap, easy to install, and practically indestructible. We once accidentally set my parents' laminate counters on fire (true story) and it didn't even leave a mark. Hard to beat that. Plus, it is virtually maintenance-free.
  • FIXTURES: One thing not to skimp on, in my opinion, are plumbing fixtures. Water can cause so much damage to your home if not fixed immediately, so investing in quality faucets, shower heads, and toilets is worth it in the long run. If you have a leak in a shower, it can cause wood rot and mold behind the tile, which is a costly repair. I would also recommend going with a matte finish on the fixtures to hide fingerprints and signs of use.
  • LIGHTING: I think lighting is definitely a fairly inexpensive way to upgrade your rental and impress tenants, but I would make sure the lighting fixtures are durable. I would not, for example, install your Grandmother's heirloom crystal chandelier in a rental. Sooner or later, it will probably be damaged or (heaven forbid) could be stolen. The chandelier above looks expensive, but is actually made of acrylic, so it is less likely to chip or break.
  • APPLIANCES: While it seems that just above everyone wants stainless appliances, I am not on board with having them in a rental. They scratch and are kind of high-maintenance to keep that shiny finish sparkling. Also, in all honesty, I am kind of over the stainless craze. Why not try something new? Black appliances are sleek, modern, and will show wear and tear much better than stainless or white appliances.
  • HARDWARE: This probably isn't too important, but I always try to select a satin finish on hardware. I don't want anything too shiny that would show fingerprints. I do look for something that has a slightly distressed/antiqued finish to disguise any imperfections the hardware will get while the tenant is in place.
  • SINKS: My first pick for a kitchen sink would be a sprawling farmhouse sink, but at $1000 a pop, it might not be a good option for a rental property. Porcelain and ceramic sinks can also chip and stain. A budget-friendly option is to go with a quality stainless sink.

I hope this is helpful! Any other fellow landlords have any other suggestions? I would love to hear them!