This is Los Angeles, and let’s own it: looks matter.
That’s why the curb appeal of your Los Angeles investment property is so important. It’s your first impression when tenants come to see it. The curb appeal tells people what they can expect when they step inside the home. Will it be pristine and pretty, or run down and sad?
At Bell Properties, we want to help you boost your curb appeal, but we know that everything is more expensive today than we’d like it to be. Even if you’re on a strict budget, there are easy things you can do to make your Los Angeles rental property look great from the outside.
1. Clean the Windows
When was the last time you cleaned the windows of your rental property, inside and out? This will make a startling difference, and it’s one of the most cost-effective things you can do to improve curb appeal. It works for a single-family rental home with windows throughout and it’s also a good idea for those multi-family units that may be in a building or a condo community.
Clean windows make the home look bright, welcoming, and pretty.
Once you have the windows washed, take a look at how the rest of the windows look. Residents arriving to see a rental home won’t be impressed with bent and damaged blinds in the windows. They won’t want to see torn screens. Replace any window screens or window blinds that may be an eyesore. You want the windows to be bright and transparent.
2. Continue with the Cleaning: Spruce Up the Entry
Clean curb appeal is essential. Potential residents won’t want to rent a home that has cobwebs in the corner of the front door. They won’t want to see a wasp nest or a pile of dry leaves gathered on the front steps. Trash scattered across the front yard or the parking area is an eyesore.
When prospective residents arrive for a showing or drive through the neighborhood to get a look at the home before they schedule a showing, you want them to see a clean, well-maintained outdoor space. The curb appeal only counts when it draws them towards the property. Debris, trash, and a dirty exterior will only repel them away from it.
Here are some immediate and inexpensive steps to take:
Clear away any boxes, loose paper, or trash from the front of the building if you have a multifamily property. If you’re renting out a single-family home, make sure there isn’t a build-up of debris and waste against the home or in the carport or driveway. Inspect the driveway or parking area, the walkways, and whatever outdoor space you offer, whether it’s a courtyard, a porch, or a large lawn. Sidewalks need to not have empty food bags and bottles rolling around. Residents don’t need to see trash or debris; it leaves your property looking unkempt.
Pull in any trash and recycling bins that might have been left at the curb long after they should have been brought in. When these receptacles get left outside at the curb too long, they fall over and they could potentially travel up and down the street. Store away those trash bins, especially when you’re marketing and showing your rental property.
Inspect your lighting. You might need new bulbs. It’s important for your curb appeal (and your property’s security) to have bright lights at the entry.
The time you spend cleaning the outside of your property will be well-worth it. There’s not a lot of expense involved, unless you’re hiring someone to take care of this, and you will end up with a home that looks great and is ready for the rental market.
3. Power-Wash the Entire Outside
Power-washing isn’t expensive at all, and the results are dramatic.
As you work towards making your curb appeal clean, brighten up the whole property with a strong washing. Power wash the entire house as well as the driveway, sidewalk, and any paths.
Power wash the patios if you have them, and the deck or the balconies. You’ll be surprised at how much filth gathers over the years.
If you don’t have your own power washer, they’re easy enough to rent, and you won’t spend more than a hundred dollars. You can even hire someone for about a hundred dollars an hour to power wash the property. A worthwhile investment.
4. Freshen Up the Landscaping
Los Angeles doesn’t have extreme temperatures, and it’s easy to create a lush and lovely lawn. Keep things simple and clean, but make them look nice. Whether you have a little outdoor space or a lot of yard, make a plan to keep the landscaping modest, attractive, and well-maintained.
As long as your landscaping is neat, trimmed, and healthy, it doesn’t require a huge investment. Your grass should be kept short and there should be some kind of plan in place to water the lawn, within any restrictions that may be necessary due to drought conditions.
Cost-effective landscaping will include native flowers and plants. You don’t have to spend a lot when you want to upgrade your landscaping with decorative plants. There are a lot of options in southern California. Look for plants that are naturally found in and around our region. Look for different sizes, colors, and shapes, and position them strategically around the perimeter of your property.
5. Repaint the Exterior if Necessary
Check the condition of your paint.
Is it faded and chipping? Can you not remember if and when the home was repainted?
Whether you’re renting out two homes inside of a duplex or a hundred apartments inside of a high-rise building or a single-family home in a well-manicured residential neighborhood, you need an exterior that’s not only attractive, but modern and updated.
If things are looking run-down or the paint is deteriorating quickly, think about some ways to make it look better. This is important aesthetically and also functionally. Maybe you need an entirely new entrance. Is the front door ready to be replaced? Or, is a simple coat of paint on that door going to be enough. Maybe you need some new hardware, like a new doorbell or a shiny knocker. Does the mailbox need a facelift?
Don’t be afraid to decorate the front of your property. You never know what kind of aesthetic taste a potential tenant is going to have, so don’t make things too personal. However, a wreath or a welcome sign on the door will appeal to just about anyone. You can make tenants feel welcomed and charmed with a pot of pretty flowers or a clean doormat.
Curb Appeal Includes Technology
When we talk about curb appeal, we’re usually talking about what’s pretty and visually attractive.
That’s the way we defined curb appeal five or ten years ago.
Now, good curb appeal also includes things like cameras and security devices. Bolt locks, maybe, and keyless entry.
What’s more attractive than safety and security? In any residential rental home, you want to make sure your tenants feel safe, and there’s a lot of technology that’s now available to facilitate that feeling of safety. When prospective tenants notice that you’ve thought of this, they’ll have a more favorable impression of your curb appeal and your rental property.
Some of the things that residents will appreciate when it comes to your tech-friendly curb appeal include:
Keyless entries. These types of systems allow your residents to access the home without using a physical key and lock. This is more efficient and it’s something that tenants are likely to expect. Not only does it benefit your tenants, it’s also helpful for you. Instead of making new keys every time you turn the property over, you’ll simply have to delete the previous access code and reprogram a new one. This can be done remotely with most systems.
Video doorbells. So many residential homes have video doorbells these days. If you can provide this feature at your rental property, most tenants will immediately be happy about it. Video doorbells allow them to see who is at the door before they answer it. They can even monitor who comes to the door remotely, when they’re not home.
Security systems. A security system will give tenants a sense of security. You don’t necessarily have to pay for the service, but make the security system available, and tenants can decide whether or not to activate it.
When you’re thinking about curb appeal, make sure you’re showing off your security initiatives.
As an investor in the competitive Los Angeles real estate market, investing in curb appeal is essential to attracting high-value tenants and increasing property value. It doesn’t have to be difficult to boost your investment property's exterior on a budget. Try our easy and cost-effective tips and tricks that help you upgrade outside appearances. If you need more help, have any questions, or want to talk about the potential of your Los Angeles rental property, contact us at Bell Properties.