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Rental rehab vs Flip rehab

December 1, 2013

After purchasing a rental property, one of our biggest decisions is how deep do we go on the rehab? Our level of rental rehab is certainly below what a flipper would do. I want to get the property the updates it needs – with a focus on those that increase the rents. Adding washer dryer connections, replacing toilets, refreshing the paint are typical rehab expenses that I would invest in on a new rental acquisition.

The pic below shows a kitchen area after I had the tile re-grouted. I don’t have a good before picture, but the grout lines were almost black and would not get very clean. The tile is outdated, but not functionally obsolete and still in good condition. The regrout made it look clean and this is what I aim for in my rentals. Even more importantly – the regrout took 2 hours vs at least 2 days for a full remove and replace. Keeping your vacancy time to a minimum is critical to be a successful landlord. Oh…and the cost — $40. (Some guy stopped by the house looking for work as I was doing the rehab)

sink after counter after

We recently made a few updates to our primary home. We are planning to downsize eventually and are slowly making updates over time. Owning and managing rental properties on the side really helps when we want to make renovations on our primary home. We try to use some of the same contractors, do some of the work ourselves, and are overall more knowledgeable about how much rehab costs should be.

Unfortunately many of the contractors we use regularly for our rentals don’t do the level of rehab needed for our primary. We are usually just patching, re-painting, bit of caulk here, and lots of cleaning, etc. The remodel on our primary is essentially preparations to sell to a retail purchaser. Here are before and after pics of the bar area of our primary. This area was really dated and is directly off the entry area after you enter the home so it needed the update. The rest of our time and funds are going into the master bath.


We used a small local vendor for the granite and install. One of my handymen and I did the electrical and plumbing and I watched a youtube video and did the backsplash myself.

From → General

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