Property Management Blog

4 Secrets To An Easy Condo Rehab


The CL3 Team - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Here Are The  Upgrades That Will Guarantee the Highest Returns

Part 1 of our blog series where we explore maintaining and updating your investment property

If you've been pondering the idea of remodeling your rental units but haven't been able to pull the trigger, we are here to tell you that it doesn't have to cost as much as you thought. Plus it will pay for itself in just a short amount of time. CL3 Property Management just finished a 3-unit rehab project in the West Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, and we're ready to share some of our secrets to giving your properties a new makeover that will enable you to demand a higher rental rate while not going over on your budget.

Stainless Steel: Worth Its Weight In Gold

Most people know that stainless steel looks great on kitchen appliances. It adds depth, doesn't suck up light like darker appliances (looking at you, black fridge), and doesn't have the dated look of all-white. Now, we don't have a problem with white appliances, but they can get dirty easily and, if you don't buy a quality brand, they can yellow over time. And with stainless steel, you don't necessarily have to buy a fully stainless steel appliance. 

Many respected manufacturers make appliances that have a stainless steel front-wrap while using less costly materials on the rest. When it comes to stoves, dishwashers, and microwaves, they are most likely set within the cabinet area, so you won't be seeing anything but the face anyway. Look for a company that has a great reputation for appliances and they most likely will have a line of products that utilize the stainless steel wrap. GE, Frigidaire, and Kenmore all make great-looking appliances that are easy on your wallet but look stunning when installed. Plus, with names that have been around for as long as they have, you can trust that the appliances are built to last. 

Hardwood Brings in Hard Cash

Not only is hardwood flooring popular in Chicago, it's extremely popular in other parts of the country as well. But because Chicago is such an old city,it has hardwood floors in many residential units. And you have carpet throughout your home, you might be surprised to find that there is beautiful wood just underneath it. But, please, make sure you have reason to suspect there is wood flooring underneath before you start pulling up corners of your carpet. Carpet was generally extremely cheap to purchase and install in the 70's and 80's and added a nice clean feel to your feet when you came home, so many people decided to have it put in. In the Midwest, this also added some warmth for when you got up on those freezing cold winter mornings and didn't want to hassle with finding and putting on slippers. But today, with more efficient insulation along with double-paned windows, wood floors don't get cold or let in drafty cold any longer. The great look of wood can absolutely make a room. It comes in many different grains so you can match your style with whatever depth of color you prefer. One of the most popular woods that CL3 uses is a red oak that’s 3 ¼”  in size and comes directly from a local flooring warehouse. Try not to get your wood from a liquidator if you can help, as often times you are getting substandard floors and you don’t want to skimp on something that will help you boost your rent for the foreseeable future.

Fans Are Cool 

Do you have a globe light in the middle of your living room that brings good light, but looks out of place and a bit dated? The good thing is that, because it's running electricity to it, you can replace it with a stylish fan that also offers ight. This takes care of a few things: it visually heightens the room by bringing your eyes to a nice fixture on the ceiling, it has a light, and, most importantly, it will help cool and even warm a room, saving you on energy costs.

We're sure you understand how a fan will cool you when it's hot, and thus you do not need to run your air conditioner as much. But did you know that many manufacturers have a built-in setting from which you can reverse the fan's rotation? Switching your fan to run clockwise helps push the warm air from the ceiling downward, helping it circulate more evenly throughout your room. This means your heating system won't have to work as hard or run as long to warm your home. Even better news is that fan blades come in many different styles! If your preference is a dark wood versus a lighter wood, you can find them. Maybe you prefer a larger palm-style fan that matches your décor? They make those also. CL3 has specific vendors that we use; however, definitely take a look at your local Menards or Home Depot to get a good idea of what you want, and then go from there.  

Get the Spa Treatment

When we do find time to go on vacation, one of the things we look for in a hotel is that they have a nice, spa-style bathroom where you can get away from getting away from it all. Besides all the great accessories that you can add to bathroom countertop; L'occitane soaps, scented candles, framed photos of old rail cars, etc., one of the things you can do to make the bathroom have a fresh look to it is adding subway tiles and backsplash. The latter has many options out there, so we suggest that you head to your nearest hardware store or design center and browse the countless choices. Glass tiles are extremely popular right now due to its price point and the various colors and looks that it comes in.  We suggest you also ask the contractor for any suggestions, most of the time they'll have some great ideas of what looks and works best. With their simple classic look ceramic subway tiles are an excellent addition to your bathroom. While they do cost a little more than most tiles, the return you will get on your rehab will make it well worth the cost. Installation can be tough, but as long as you have the right contractor to do the job, it shouldn't be much of an issue.

These are just a few tips to updating your unit in order to increase your profit from rent.  Contact us for further information on full remodeling, from start to finish, and we can also suggest the best in contractors for any work that needs to be done.




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