If you’re having trouble attracting renters to your investment property, you might have a curb appeal problem.
Landlords typically compete for renters who might also be looking at condos and upscale apartment buildings that have professional landscapers. Renters want beautiful outdoor spaces that create a place to escape after a long day.
Consider adding some attractive hardscaping, the hard, permanent elements in your landscaping, such as concrete walkways, stone patios, or small ponds.
Why invest in hardscaping?
Property managers point out that an unkempt yard can attract less-than-ideal renters. An ugly outward appearance can also make it difficult to find renters for a property.
Keep it as low maintenance as possible
The key to adding hardscaping to a rental property is to choose elements that require as little maintenance as possible. A small concrete bench with a clay flowerpot to the side filled with seasonal flowers is a nice touch, for example. You can easily and inexpensively swap out any plants that don’t do well or wither.
But you might want or need to do more than just putting out a nice bench. Whatever you choose to do, have a maintenance plan that either your tenants will be responsible for or that you will take care of, typically for a fee.
Find out which specific hardscaping elements are more attractive to renters and can even help you get higher rent for a property.
1. Decks and patios
Having a space of your own to entertain friends or relax on the weekends is very attractive, especially to busy working professionals. If your rental property features a small yard, add a deck or concrete patio to enhance the space and make it more usable. Another option is to install a patio made of pavers, which is often less expensive. These hard elements will last for many years, and the return on investment is about 70%, depending on the materials you use.
2. Retaining walls
Since you won’t be present at a rental property to assess any damage from rain or other natural elements, adding in features such as a retaining wall can protect your investment and add visual beauty to your yard. Retaining walls are made of a variety of materials. You can use stones, bricks, wood beams, or stamped concrete. Allow some space to add softscape materials for a pop of color from flowers or plants.
There should be a pleasing visual aesthetic between hardscape and softscape elements. A landscape that has an imbalance of mostly hardscape elements can look harsh and uninviting, and too many plants often create an unkempt look. As you create a hard and soft picture with a variety of elements, make sure there is adequate drainage between the hardscape and the softscape elements. A beautiful design that floods every time it rains isn’t attractive for long and could damage your property.
4. Water features
Adding a fountain creates a relaxing element to your landscaping. It can help attract renters because it makes your rental property unique. Water hardscaping can include fountains, which is probably the easiest and least expensive water feature to add to a rental property. However, it can also include a small pond. Whatever water feature you decide to add to your property, make sure it is clean, free from algae, and well maintained.
5. Swimming pool
Whether a swimming pool is the right choice for your rental property depends on where in the country your property is located. There are some liabilities with a swimming pool, so keep in mind increased insurance costs before purchasing a property with a pool or installing one.
However, a swimming pool may be an attractive way to attract renters who are willing to pay more to have additional amenities. The key is to weigh the payoffs against the costs and risks, and then decide whether a pool will attract enough renters to make it a worthwhile investment.
When a potential tenant pulls up to your rental property, they should immediately feel at home. Hardscaping affords the opportunity to make an excellent first impression. It can also give you a leg up on other rentals in the area.