Landlord Advice

8 Home Improvements That Add Value to a Rental Property (And 4 That Don’t)

In today’s competitive market, it’s normal for any landlord to wonder just how to add value to a property they want to let. Increased rent, improved tenant retention and less time in between tenancies are just some of the benefits of adding features that add value to a rental home. But do you actually know which home improvements will achieve that and which ones might do the opposite? Worry not, for we are here to let you know!

In this post, we’ll talk all about what improvements you can make to boost your rental property value, as well as which ones you’re better off without. Plus, we sat down with one of the UK’s leading landlord experts – Matt Baker, author and co-founder of Scott Baker Property – who shared some industry tips with us!

Table of Contents:

So, if you:

  • Are a landlord;
  • Are wondering how to add value to a rental property;
  • Want to know which upgrades to avoid,

Then keep on reading! This post is just for you.

But before we jump right into the home renovations that add value to your rental home, there is one important thing to mention. Before you commit to any redecorating or remodelling projects, you need to…

Know your target tenant group

It probably comes as no surprise to you that different people like different things. There is rarely a one size fits all when it comes to home decor, and an addition that is valuable to one tenant might put off another.

For example, a family with children may be looking for a home with lots of bedrooms and bathrooms, or perhaps an up to date kitchen. At the same time, a student might be more impressed with an en suite and a bedroom door lock. Unless it’s a shared student house, bedroom count rarely matters (however, the more bathrooms, the better). And, let’s be real – most students will say that the fewer bedrooms the house has, the fewer people will be stealing their cup noodles.

It’s often the little things that count the most. So, keep in mind what kind of people you want to rent to. Research your market, learn about their common likes and dislikes, and tailor your property to their needs to the best of your ability.

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Now that you know to pay attention to your prospective tenants’ needs, let’s get right down to business with…

8 home improvements that add value to a rental property

While you may be tempted to go all out and redecorate and remodel the whole thing, stop and think about the things that add value to a home. Often, this will depend on whether you’re looking to sell or rent the place, but some universal renovations can help in both cases.

Nevertheless, this post is aimed at landlords who are letting their properties, so we will focus mostly on renovations that add value to a rental property. So, without further ado, here are eight tips from the experts at Fantastic Services.

Keep your property in top shape

It’s not difficult to imagine that an unkempt house won’t be a potential tenant’s first choice. The state of the home will not only impact people’s opinion of the place itself, but also how they view you as a landlord. After all, if you’re not taking care of the house, your tenants will ask themselves if you’re likely to ignore their needs, too. That’s why you must keep your property as immaculate as you can and make sure it looks its best when you show it.

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So, here are some things you can do to keep the house in good condition:

  • Carry out maintenance in between tenancies.
    Whenever a tenant moves out, you’ll need to clean the property, fix any damages that may have occurred, and touch up the decor and fixtures. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way.
  • Don’t neglect small issues.
    Any problem that seems insignificant at the time can turn into a large and expensive issue if not handled on time. So, don’t put off taking care of them and save yourself time, effort and money.
  • Make sure the house has no underlying issues.
    Always take care of damp, mould, plumbing, structural and electrical problems and the like. No one wants to live in a home with a mouldy bathroom, a leaky roof and a kitchen sink that clogs up once a week.

Decorate wisely

As we mentioned at the start, different people prefer different things. A 20-year-old design student probably won’t like the tacky wallpaper that your aunt Sheila said you simply must cover the living room with.

However, it’s impossible to know exactly what your prospective tenants prefer, and it’s not really practical to decorate the house differently every time a new person moves in. Don’t worry! The key is choosing things that appeal to as wide a range of people as possible. That’s why the best course of action when trying to add value to your rental property is to avoid your personal, or your aunt’s, preferences and keep the decor neutral.

Looking for more landlord decorating tips? Our Landlord Advice category has everything you need!

  • Choose your colours wisely.
    A bright red accent wall might put off some potential tenants. So, stick to neutral tones instead. Some popular colour choices are white, cream, light beige, light blue, and light green.
  • Don’t forget the floors.
    What kind of floor is most likely to attract people to your property? Hardwood floors are a universally liked and modern option. Wall-to-wall carpeting is less popular, especially in rental homes, as it has the tendency to trap stains and smells, and requires more maintenance. Most tenants don’t like to put much effort into a rental home, so giving them a material that is easy to maintain is a good selling point. If you already have wooden floors, there’s no need to rip up the whole thing and replace it. Simply sand it down and coat it to refresh the look. And if you are still deciding between carpet floors or hardwood, we have a helpful post on that topic.
  • Don’t go all out.
    Remember that your own tastes won’t always match those of your tenants. Also, keep in mind that they probably won’t take care of your furnishings the way they would if they were the owners. So, don’t decorate and furnish a rental house the way you would your own home. Go for something neutral and practical that won’t break the bank and is easy to replace.
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Now, it’s true that we recommend keeping things neutral. However, there’s one pit you can easily fall into without even realising it – the Beige Box. But what is it exactly? Matt Baker explains:

It’s the mindset of “I’m not going to live in it, therefore I don’t have to think about that so much.”, and the cookie-cutter approach of just painting and doing every property the same.

While it’s true that you should steer clear of “extreme” decor choices, sticking to the Beige Box approach can be highly detrimental to your business. After all, if your property looks the same as all the rest, why should potential tenants choose you?

So, with that in mind, it’s best to try and decorate your property in a universal manner, but still have that touch of uniqueness that makes tenants feel at home.

Upgrade key rooms in the home

When thinking about home improvements that add value to a rental property, you should pay attention to which rooms in the house are the most important. Identify them and make sure they are in top condition. Most often, these rooms are the kitchen and bathroom.


An attractive, up to date kitchen is a great selling point. So, pay extra attention to it when the time comes.

  • Matching appliances.
    Kitchen appliances with a matching finish instantly bring the look of the room together, making the design look cohesive and more appealing.
  • Upgrade the countertops.
    Choose a modern, durable and easy to maintain material (remember what we said about tenants liking low-maintenance).
  • Give cabinets a makeover.
    Unless they are ancient and outdated, there is no need to replace the kitchen cabinets altogether. Simply sand and repaint them. To take things up a notch, you can replace their handles.
  • Add a backsplash.
    An excellent addition to any kitchen, a backsplash looks great, is easy to clean and, most importantly, protects your walls. This makes maintenance that much easier for both you and your tenants.
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The bathroom is another room you need to give some extra TLC to. So, don’t skip it when choosing renovations that add value to a rental home.

  • Upgrade bathroom fittings.
    Make sure the toilet, bath, shower and other fittings are functional, in good condition and up to date.
  • Consider retiling.
    Cracked tiles and old, dirty grout don’t really look appealing. So, maybe it’s time to replace them. Choose a modern, minimalistic look.
  • Small improvements go a long way.
    Even small additions, such as a heated towel rail, a new toilet seat and a new showerhead can add value to your property.

Increase curb appeal

The front of your house is the first thing a potential tenant will see, so make that first impression count!

Repainting the front door and keeping the windows and frames clean and well-maintained will instantly improve the look of your rental property. If the windows are old or drafty, consider replacing them. Even a small detail, such as adding window boxes, can make the place look homey and more inviting.

If you have a garden out front, keep it looking neat and tidy. Trim the grass and maybe add a decorative bush or two. Just don’t go overboard with the landscaping (low-maintenance, remember).

Maintain green space

As for the garden in the back, try to keep it looking well-maintained – a beautiful green space is one of the home improvements that add value to a rental property. Trim any bushes and trees, mow the lawn, just make it look neat and not neglected. If you want to go one step further, add a nice seating area so that your tenants can enjoy the occasional sunny day outside with a refreshing drink.

Also, make sure you write into the tenancy agreement who is responsible for maintaining the garden, as well as precisely what is expected of them.

Consider an extension

There is some debate on whether house extensions actually add value to your rental property. It really depends on the planning, the materials used and the purpose of the extension. Adding an extra bedroom can greatly increase the value of the house. With more bedrooms, you can increase the rent, let to larger families, and even turn the property into an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation).

How about an en suite?

A private bathroom is every shared house occupant’s dream! So, if the size of the bedroom and your budget allow it, an en suite is one of the great rental home improvements that add value. It’s also a great selling point to students, and basically, anyone looking for shared accommodation. Building an en suite is not too complicated and is a renovation project that doesn’t need to take up much space to be functional.

Think about extras

Any other selling point that will add value to your rental property should be considered, especially if it’s worth the investment in the long run. Some features that you can think about are:

Now that you know what upgrades add value to a home, it’s time to look in the opposite direction and talk about…

4 home improvements that do not add value to a rental home

Not all investments are worth it in the end, and we want to help you save your time, effort and money so that you can put them toward something that matters. So, here are some home improvements that do not add value to a rental property:

Expensive redecoration

A pricey wallpaper and luxury wall paint are pretty much pointless in a rental home, as most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway. The same goes for furniture – you don’t need to put in expensive leather seating as you’ll probably need to replace it sooner rather than later – remember what we said about tenants not taking that much care of rented furniture?

What’s more, going all out on fancy, high-class furnishings might do more harm than good. Most tenants want to feel comfortable and cosy in their rented home. And sometimes, a luxurious interior can have the opposite effect. As Matt Baker puts it:

A lot of people will look at HMOs and co-living in particular, and design it really, really high-end, where it feels like they’re living in a hotel. People don’t want to live in hotels, they want to live in homes. They want to live in a place where they can make it their own.

A swimming pool

If you really want a swimming pool in your own backyard – treat yourself! However, in a rental home (or even in a house you’re trying to sell, really), pools don’t add value at all. They can even put off some people. They’re difficult to maintain, a pain to heat, and, let’s face it, they won’t get much use in the UK, apart from the few glorious sunny days we get in the summer.

Luxury landscaping

Yes, we know, we mentioned this about a thousand times, but tenants really don’t like high-maintenance homes. A super fancy and expensive tree, shrub or other plants may look good, sure, but they probably won’t receive the care they need unless your tenant is a green thumb. Not to mention that people might not want thousands of pounds worth of needy plants in their garden. Let your prospective tenants use the green space just to relax and don’t pile more responsibility on them.

A repurposed bedroom

Just leave your bedrooms be! The more of them you have, the more they add value to your property. You may not think your tenants need the extra bedroom, that they’d rather have a fancy study instead, but maybe they’d like to keep it in case their grandmother comes down to visit from Yorkshire. Would they rather have the study and let Nanna sleep on the sofa? We don’t think so.

Increase your rental property value with help from the experts

If you’re wondering where to start, what to do and where to find a reputable tradesman, you need not look further than Fantastic Services!

The experienced and professional handymen we work with can help you with any home improvement project you have in mind! From painting and decorating to full renovation and refurbishment, the tradesmen can handle it all with ease.

Looking for help with garden maintenance? We’ve got you covered! Is your property in need of a good clean? The expert cleaners can take care of that.

For all your rental property needs, rest assured you can rely on Fantastic Services!

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  • Know your target tenant group before carrying out any renovations.
  • Taking the time to maintain your rental property properly can increase its value.
  • Decorate and furnish the home in a neutral style to appeal to a wider range of people.
  • Pay extra attention to the key rooms, such as the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Curb appeal increases rental property value.
  • Keep your garden well taken care of.
  • Consider an extension if you want to add an extra bedroom.
  • Any other practical extras you can offer will add value to your rental property.


Did you find this post useful? Do you have any tips of your own on adding value to a rental home? Share them with us in the comments!

Image source: Shutterstock / New Africa

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