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Dream Projects with Purpose: Why the Kitchen in Your Northwest DC Rental Property Isn’t Worth It

A Newly Remodeled Kitchen in a Northwest DC Rental PropertyWith the nature of the rental market being competitive, some Northwest DC property owners want to gain the advantage. Some of them think that if they build a dream kitchen, they would attract higher-paying tenants. These tenants do want a kitchen that is well built but there is a difference between quality and luxury. They want good quality. High-end or luxury upgrades, however, rarely result in a higher rental rate. The only way this may work is if your rental home is in a market that will support higher rent. However, if this is the case, then you’d need to upgrade the entire home to be luxurious. Otherwise, it would be better to create a kitchen that features less expensive and more durable elements.

Homeowners often dream of upgrading their kitchens with high-end cabinets, appliances, countertops, and flooring. But the general truth is that expensive materials such as granite and hardwood are notoriously difficult to look after. They get damaged easily and often require a lot of work to maintain properly. While a homeowner may think the additional work is worth living in a beautiful kitchen, the tenant may not share the same sentiment. Tenants may not want the additional responsibility of maintaining that level of luxury. Also, these materials tend to be expensive to repair or replace, which would increase your maintenance costs— especially since you’d need to do it more often seeing how fragile they are.

There are more reasons why creating your dream kitchen is not the best project for your rental property. Tenants typically favor rental homes that were designed to reduce the amount of upkeep. They do want quality appliances and updated features in their homes. But quality does not necessarily mean luxury, and tenants know the difference. That’s why most tenants view high-end kitchens as more of a hassle than a bonus. So, having a high-end kitchen alone does not warrant charging more in rent, and your tenants may not be willing to pay a higher rate for that feature alone.

There are other difficulties that may arise if the kitchen you are planning to remodel does not match the quality of the rest of the rental property. Inconsistent upgrades to your rental home could actually backfire. If your home has a beautiful kitchen but the bathrooms are dingy and dated, and the carpeting is worn, the prospective tenant may view that as a red flag. They may think that you don’t have a complete rental home, but that you just have an unfinished project that isn’t ready to be lived in. Unless located in an upscale area, upgrading one room in the house also does very little to increase your property values as well.

Instead of spending being on a high-end kitchen, it would be better to opt for a few simple updates. An inexpensive and durable countertop and floor, a matching set of new appliances, and some new fixtures can make an older kitchen feel fresh and modern. You can paint or resurface a worn cabinet to give it a fresh new look. When you do this, you are instantly bringing a dated kitchen into the present for only a fraction of the cost. Do not underestimate the little things. Even a new light fixture and drawer pulls can add charm and make the room feel updated. An added bonus is the peace of mind you get because you no longer have to worry about whether your tenant will damage your expensive tile, stainless steel appliances, or granite countertops.

To sum it all up, if you don’t have the budget to do a high-end upgrade for all parts of your investment property, the better option is to do quality mid-range improvements. Still, determining which upgrades to go for isn’t simple. You’ll need to find out which ones add value to your rental property and correspond to rent increases. Why not allow the professional Northwest DC property managers at Real Property Management Washington DC to help? Our quality remodeling contractors can assist you. With their industry expertise, they can help you determine what the best course of action will be in improving your rental property to optimize your rental rates and increase your property values. Contact us or call us at 202-813-9993 for more information.

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