Cleverly Affordable Ways to Upgrade a Home

Jul 31, 2019 | Mortgage


Not every home is perfect. Every home has it’s quirks, a squeaky step or a flickering utility room light. Some homeowners actually make a habit of investing in damaged houses, known as ‘flips’, in order to ‘flip’ them into profitable rental homes. All it takes is a few renovations that the previous owners were not willing to do. However, unlike improvements you might make to your own house, there are certain strategies that are actually better for rental homes than personal ones. And what’s even better is knowing how to make these changes as affordably as possible, without denying your tenants any quality of life.

And today, that’s exactly what we’re here to share. Check out these cleverly, useful, and affordable ways to upgrade a house in need of some tender loving care.

Wood-Grained or Faux-Tile Laminate Floors

Floors are one of the most frequently wrecked parts of a home, especially rental homes. From stained carpets to cracked tiles, there are many ways to ruin a floor. Our best solution is classically designed laminate that is easy to install, clean, and repair.


When it comes to rental homes, hard moppable floors are usually a better investment than carpet. Hard floors are easier to clean, maintain, and don’t wear out the way carpet does. It also doesn’t hold allergens and can’t (usually) be ruined by pets. If you do install carpet, consider limiting it only to bedrooms.


However, not all hard floors are equally effective. Wood is nice and will draw tenants, but it chips and scratches easily. Even when properly sealed. Stone and pottery tile can be classy, but it also can’t be easily fixed after chipping, can crack, needs re-caulking, and can get very cold in the winter. If you do put in tile, look for cheap, sturdy tile in blue-gray tones that does not absorb cold. Then keep a box of spare tiles in the garage for quick easy repairs if one is damaged.


Laminate and Vinyl are a great alternative for homeowners because it (can be) cheap, and easy to both install and keep clean. But plasticky colored patterns went out with the 80s. Instead, go for textured wood or tile designs that look classy and can be fixed in panels along natural lines in the design if repairs are needed.

Refinishing Cabinets and Counters

You also often see homes that have completely ruined cabinets. It’s hard to guess how tenants go about scratching the paint and ripping off cabinet doors, but somehow it happens from time to time. In other situations, you may simply find the cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom hideous. Not all previous eras of interior design are still considered attractive today.

If it looks like you need to completely rebuild some cabinetry, there’s a good chance you don’t really have to. You can fully transform the look and feel of a room simply by refinishing the cabinets and counters instead.

Refinishing and Repainting

The best way to reinvent your cabinets is to refinish and repaint. Simply by changing the color of your cabinets, the entire room will look different. Wood toned cabinetry can be stained and refinished to give it a completely different color palette while any cabinet can be painted to cover an old color or bring out a new color scheme. Whatever color of cabinet you have, it’s easy to change that and completely change the appearance of the room.

Doors and Knobs

As for cabinet doors, you can repaint these as well or replace them for a new look entirely. Frosted glass create an elegant luxurious look or you can get new wood cabinet doors with a new and more attractive style. You can also replace the knobs on the doors, which can also change the way the kitchen or bathroom feels. Nicer knobs can make the cabinets seem nicer as well and even enhance the appeal of the appliances.


Finally, we know that even countertops can be chipped and discolored in a way that is not appealing to new tenants. Fortunately, you don’t need fine marble to attract great tenants. Consider countertops semi-disposable. They will be damaged, you will eventually replace them in a long ownership. Seek out counters that don’t discolor in response to heat (someone will put down a hot pan) and don’t chip easily.

Second Hand New Fixtures

Sometimes, the only thing wrong with a house is old plumbing, wiring, and the associated fixtures. No tenant wants to see yellowing light switch covers and rusting old faucets. But you don’t have to take your budget to the home improvement store and buy all-new fixtures.

There are some fantastic fixtures that are still in top condition available from second-hand sources. Some are still sealed in packaging but have been sitting in someone’s garage for so long it will no longer sell as ‘new’. Check garage sales, eBay, Etsy, and other community-based sources for any improvement supplies you need.

Everything from chandeliers garden hose attachments can be found for great prices off the beaten path. Don’t be afraid to get creative when sourcing what you need to repair damaged aspects of your rental homes.

Caulking Gaps and Cracks

Next, don’t underestimate your ability to glue things back together. Caulk and grout are amazing materials that can help ensure that small repairs don’t turn into big problems. A window that rattles doesn’t need to be replaced. It needs to be caulked back into place. A loose tile in the bathroom or a crack in tile you can’t quickly replace can be caulked to ensure that to additional damage occurs.

If the toilet shakes or leaks, it probably needs to be resealed at key points with caulk, rubber gaskets, or plumber’s putty. You can also use tube-adhesives to reattach baseboards, secure carpet edges, and fill any inconvenient gaps. There are many little problems with a house that, if combined, can equal a complete dump but can also be easily fixed with a little elbow grease and handyman knowledge.

Even if a house seems to be ‘falling apart’ or leaking HVAC air like a seive; a little TLC and caulk can go a long way to transforming it back into a welcoming home for residents.

Every homeowner should have a few tricks ready to deal with a wrecked house. With a combination of these techniques and others we’re sure you’ll think of along the way, you can easily tackle almost any surface-level home damage so well that the next renters will be completely happy and comfortable after repairs are complete. If you are looking for financing options, contact us today at (877) 255-3554 or start the process online here.