We decided to rent out our house when we moved instead of selling it. Here are some of the updates we made in order to make it rental-ready:
Here’s the kitchen:
The kitchen didn’t need much work, in my opinion. Sure, we could’ve updated some things like the countertops and the backsplash to make them even nicer, but we really didn’t think it was necessary at this time and for this market – they are in pretty good shape.
We really wanted to add shelving or cabinets to the one empty wall but we didn’t get around to it this time.
We did need to scrub the grout in the floor tile b/c it had turned really dark. I did this with an oxyclean/water solution that I sprayed in the grout and allowed it to sit for a few minutes, then scrubbed with a hard toothbrush – worked like a charm. Note: You should spot test if this will work for your grout before doing it b/c if you have dark grout or the grout hasn’t been sealed in a while it may not be the best idea.
The biggest problem with this kitchen is that there is no pantry. So, we turned a coat closet that is right next to the kitchen into a pantry, as shown below. My husband used 3/4 inch sanded plywood, cut to size and 1/2 furring strips on the sides to hold them in place. We painted them white. They are all removable so if they would rather have a coat closet, then they can stack all the shelves on the bottom shelf and keep the rod in place (see the brown rod below).
We also got a new 6 panel solid wood door that opens to the left – making it more convenient as a pantry. The old door opened to the right which wouldn’t have been as convenient since the counter top is to the right. We chose solid wood in case later we want to add a spice rack or something to the door.
This is the dining room – no updates here – just scrubbed the grout.
This is the living room. My husband had to replace the carpet. We chose to go with Allure vinyl plank flooring (not Ultra click and lock but the kind that sticks together) – this is a blonde color. It’s really easy to install – we’ll see if it holds up. UPDATE: Our first tenant moved out after a year and it looks good as new. 🙂
Here’s the hallway. It was redone with Allure Ultra a while back and has held up really well through 2 rounds of tenants (now 3 rounds of tenants) which is amazing for a high traffic hallway. We would’ve loved to put Allure Ultra everywhere but it is significantly more expensive than regular Allure Vinyl flooring and a little bit trickier to install since it’s interlocking and the planks are flexible. The regular Allure vinyl plank is peel and stick (sticks to each other so it’s floating still). We figure we’ll try it out and see how it holds up.
There is one bathroom off the hallway. We didn’t do anything to it this time around:
The following 3 pictures are the bedrooms. We chose to do laminate floors in the bedrooms b/c there was a sale and we wanted to try out a few different types of floors to see which holds up the best. Ideally, at some point, we will have consistent floors. There’s still carpet in the master bedroom as you can see b/c it wasn’t too badly damaged. UPDATE: this laminate floor held up really well too through one tenant (1 year) – not a scratch or any problem with it. Woohoo! I think we are permanently done with carpet.
The basement ended up being quite time consuming. We needed to replace the carpet b/c it had been badly damaged. Carpet is probably not the best choice for a basement anyway. However, we had a dilemma b/c we had a french drain and sump pump put in our basement when we lived there. For that they had to dig up around the edges of the basement concrete to lay the french drain and then they poured new concrete over it. For this reason, the basement was no longer level.
The concrete they poured in was not high quality so it wasn’t smooth and it was also higher than the rest of the basement. We had 2 options, we could pour more concrete in the basement to make it level or we could grind down the edges. We decided that grinding down the edges would be easier and less expensive. So, my husband rented a concrete grinder and grinded down the edges to try to make it more even with the rest of the basement.
Then, he laid down some Allure flooring (the color is IronWood – looks blackish gray). I kind of wish we had chosen Allure Ultra for this b/c it’s waterproof but we didn’t. If this doesn’t hold up then we will next time. The ceiling of the basement is a really cool type of drop ceiling that sits flush against the ceiling joists – thereby raising the height of the ceiling. We made this update when we lived there as well as adding the recessed lighting – makes a big difference to the space. This space makes a great second living room/kid’s playroom or recreation room. UPDATE: this flooring lasted great through one tenant (1 year). There’s a couple of places near the stairs where the flooring has a little too much gap in between the planks and it catches dirt, etc but other than that it’s still great.
Basement bathroom. There had been a leak at one point in the bathroom above this one so the ceiling was not in great shape – instead of patching it, my husband replaced the whole ceiling – looks better than the previous patchwork, for sure. Other than that, we didn’t have to do anything else here:
Basement Bonus Room with Closet:
Basement Bonus Room (potential office):
Other than those updates, all rooms had to be repainted and most doors had to be repainted. I’m the official painter so I took care of that. There were lots of holes left in the wall so spackle became my best friend during that time. And I think I’ve basically sanded my fingerprints off so if I ever get in trouble with the law they won’t be able to identify me! :-p So, tenants might not want to mess with me.. j/k – of course!
I’ll include the paint colors here in case you are interested. These are mostly the same paint colors we had when we lived there, except for the living room and bedrooms – I tried to find more neutrals. It’s hard to find a good neutral though – I know many of you out there will know what I’m talking about! There are lots of pink beiges and prison or mental facility grays lurking out there waiting to waste your valuable time! I digress – here’s the colors:
Main Floor Kitchen & Dining Room & one of the bedrooms: Bell Grove Buff (Lowe’s Valspar brand)
Main Floor Living Room & 2 of the bedrooms: Buffed Tan (Home Depot Behr)
Main Floor Bathroom: Au Lait Ole Lowe’s Valspar brand – don’t recommend this color – quite ugly)
Basement Living Area: Gold 3 (Laura Ashley Home brand LA709 at Lowe’s – they don’t sell it anymore but they will make some for you if you ask them for it.)
Basement Bonus Room with Closet: Promenade (Home Depot Behr brand)
Basement Bonus Room (office): Sandstone Cove (Home Depot Behr brand)
Trim and Doors: Polar Bear (Home Depot Behr brand)