By Dani Schlesinger
Investment Spotlight: The Wisdom of White Wood Blinds
When one is preparing an investment property for market, it’s critical to think about the appeal, durability, and longevity of the selections a landlord purchases. Too often I hear from landlords, I want to make top dollar for my investment property, but I don’t want to spend money on updating furnishings that already do the job (ugly or not). “It’s just a rental.”
Tenants see the leasing market from a very different perspective. They aren’t shopping for “just a rental,” they are seeking “a space that feels like a home.” So the more home-like you make an investment property, the fewer empty days on market you will have, and the more longevity you will get from tenants in general. What’s more, tenants will pay a higher monthly rent to live in a nicer home, so the cost of nicer furnishings will be subsidized over time.
BUT, the sky isn’t the limit on spending money on a rental investment, landlords really need to spend smart and strategically. My favorite example of smart landlord spending is white wood blinds. And by wood I mean the FAUX WOOD, not the real wood blinds that are expensive for no great gain in value.
So FAUX white wood blinds are a great choice because: 1) they look nice, durable and updated without being overly trendy or expensive, 2) they are neutral and work with a variety of decorating styles, 3) they provide privacy and a pretty clear view of the world by simply changing the angle of the blind—no need to open and close them all the time causing wear and tear by tenants, 4) they make a tenant’s space feel homey vs. transient and temporary.
Whether you’re buying a countertop or flooring or cabinetry, the following criteria should apply: 1) neutral, not polarizing, 2) durable, will last through many tenants, 3) attractive and homey--tenants do care, embracing this will give you a competitive advantage, 4) functions well without too much tenant finagling or carefulness, and 5) cost-effective over many years.
If the investment property is a style that would not work with white wood blinds, like super modern for example, simply choose a window treatment that abides by as much of the above criteria as you can.
While neutrality is usually best, a colorful splash of personality here and there can be good too. Painting an accent wall, giving the powder room a fun color, or putting up trendy curtains throughout can make your marketing pictures stand out without turning tenants off. Striking this balance between neutrality and splashes of personality can be a big part of a landlord’s success.
Strategic spending with an eye toward appeal, longevity and durability of furnishings is very important when it comes to investment property. The landlords who do this well will enjoy better tenant retention and more profitability over time.