One of the biggest mistakes I see new Minneapolis duplex investors make over and over again is that of over-improving a property.
What do I mean?
The new duplex owner thinks the only way anyone on the planet will ever rent their property is if they completely gut the kitchen, install granite counter tops and hardwood floors and even, in one instance, move the tub from one side of the bathroom to another.
While many of these improvements are nice amenities, most of the time they aren’t necessary and won’t ever generate enough additional rent to justify the expense.
What’s the most important investment to make?
And I don’t mean just running a vacuum over the carpet.
All trash and personal belongings should be removed from the property prior to making it available. Clean the carpets. Scrub beneath appliances and inside of them, in cupboards and on their doors and sweep out the garage. Freshen the caulk around the tub in the bathroom In short, clean everywhere.
Try to de-personalize the unit by using fresh, neutral colors for paint and flooring.
And here’s an often overlooked detail…change the switch plate covers!
Nothing screams “has been filthy” like freshly painted walls with black marks all over the light switches. It sounds picky, I know, but I notice it immediately. It will cost just pennies to swap them out, yet immeasurably help your vacant unit rent quickly.
What if your vacant duplex is hospital-clean and you still don’t have anyone calling from your Craigslist ads? Lower the rent. Fifty or one hundred dollars a month can price you out of the market, leaving you scrambling to make up for months of vacancy. It’s always better to get $850 a month for rent immediately than hold out for three months to get $900.
Duplex vacancy rates both in Minneapolis and across the nation are at lows not seen in more than a decade. It shouldn’t take being featured on HGTV to fill an empty unit.