How to update the bathroom in a rental unit

Along with the kitchen, the bathroom makes a big impact in the mind of your potential tenants. Tenants want a nice bathroom in the rental. But, as an investor or property manager, should you remodel a rental bathroom? Yes, you should renovate a dated bathroom and make the rental unit look better for prospective tenants. You can read about the pros and cons of renovation here.

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Along with the kitchen, the bathroom makes a big impact in the mind of your potential tenants. Tenants want a nice bathroom in the rental. But, as an investor or property manager, should you remodel a rental bathroom? Yes, you should renovate a dated bathroom and make the rental unit look better for prospective tenants. You can read about the pros and cons of renovation here.

Pros and cons of renovating rental properties

Bathroom renovations can be expensive. Depending on the age and condition of your bathroom, it can require minor updates on a small budget to a complete redo.

Let’s look at what you can do to remodel a bathroom on a budget.

Make the bathroom look like a spa

At a minimum, the renters want a fresh-looking bathroom. While a complete spa experience may require an expensive renovation, a nice coat of paint can make the space look and feel fresh. This calming effect can at least get the renters closer to a spa feel.

Use paint to freshen up the space for a spa like feel

We don’t recommend wallpaper for the bathroom even though there are vinyl and water-resistant versions available in the market. Any small tear will require you to redo the walls. Painting is cheaper. We recommend gloss or semi-gloss paint for the walls. Use white for trims and doors, including vanity cabinet doors.

Avoid wallpaper for rental properties

Make the rental bathroom brighter

Lights

Update the lights. Light fixtures go out of trend every few years. Pick something with clean lines and white metal that will remain neutral for years to come. Update the light bulbs to 2700K to make an impact in the brightness. This adds a lot of oomph to a small bathroom.

Mirrors

Mirrors help to make a small bathroom feel large. Plus, they serve a function in the bathroom. Provide good looking mirrors. You can go beyond the builder basic and provide a mirror with a frame or a beautiful design to make a nice impression.

Think both form and function with mirrors. Framed mirrors are a cheap way to add some punch.

Medicine cabinets

Medicine cabinets give extra storage for space-constrained small bathrooms. Replace them as and when they rust or when the tenants break the mirrors. A small dose of regular upkeep and maintenance will help your place to look clean instead of rundown. Just go with builder basic as tenants tend to chip the mirror.

Hidden storage is effective in small bathrooms

Vanities, sink, faucet

Vanities can either be updated with a fresh coat of paint or be replaced, depending on its condition and age. If the vanity sits on top of the tiled floor as opposed to subfloor or concrete directly, vanity replacement doesn’t trigger a flooring job. Updating the bathroom vanity improves the décor and appeal of the investment property.

Alternatively, you can just update the cabinets with a nice coat of paint to get a fresh and clean look. This is usually one of the less expensive upgrade ideas for the rental bathroom that makes the bathroom look new.

Changing faucet is a minor upgrade, while sink can take some work. It may be cheaper to buy a complete set with new faucet, sink, countertop and vanity to makeover the rental bathroom.

Toilets

Toilets can be easily improved by changing the toilet seat. It will immediately make the toilet look better at a low budget.

Showers and tubs

Showers and tubs can get dirty and lose their shine. While a replacement acrylic tub with shower walls is cheap, the labor cost adds up quickly. You can remove tub stains and make it look clean with tub and surround refinishing kit. This transforms your rental bathroom at a lower expense. Replace the shower head if it is damaged and ensure that it has good pressure.

If you have tiles that are dated or popping out, consider a replacement. Water damage caused by these things can cost you significantly more in the long run. Use large format tiles with fewer grout lines to makeover a rentable bathroom.

Hardware

Shower curtain can make a big impact in decorating a small bathroom. It can also cover outdated pink or green tiles in the shower. While curtains are something that the tenants can change to their decoration tastes, we recommend that you provide curtain rods. Otherwise, the tenant is likely going to make holes in the wall on their own and then take the rod with them when they leave. You are left with a hole that needs to be repaired and repainted, only to have the process repeated by the next tenant.

Landlord can determine where the main holes are going to be instead of leaving it up to the tenant

The same holds true for toilet paper holders and towel bars. It is best if you manage where the holes are going to be placed and back them up with appropriate screws to bear the weight. If you are updating the toilet paper holder, just put one with a phone stand – let’s face it, that’s where reading news and reddit happens.

If you are wondering ‘how do I update my rental bathroom’, adding a few shelves / niche helps to improve both function and decorate a small bathroom. Bathroom doesn’t have to be utilitarian. People want to live beautifully. Home is the resort and bathroom is looked at as the spa.

Update switch plates

This is a cheap replacement that can quickly make your kitchen look less dated. Ensure the outlets are GFCI compliant.

We have seen a few bathroom remodels at HomeKasa in small to large budgets. It’s always a challenge to balance budget, time and impact. Whether you want to do a cheap remodel or make an investment in renovating your bathroom, it is possible to do so with some thought and planning. We always recommend picking durable materials that will last a long time and handle the abuse of multiple tenants.

Remember to take photos and do a move-in walk through checklist with the tenant. You can easily do this with HomeKasa, the best property management software. HomeKasa allows you to track all the engagements between renters and the landlord / property manager. You can store all your documents, photos and communications in one place. You put all this effort to update and remodel your bathroom. Ensure that you get a good return on investment (ROI) and your many tenants can benefit from it for years to come.

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