When remodeler Steve Roth started seeing a downturn in the housing market, he angled his Maumee, Ohio business toward a unique niche: rental and investment properties. Though he's not actively flipping houses for sale now, he continues to make upgrades to rental properties, including some college campus properties, which he finds particularly lucrative and stable. "In a college town, rentals are consistent," he says. "You know when the students are coming and going, and usually you have 10 month leases with two months to work on the property between the end of the school year and the start of the next season. It's really steady."
But whether his tenant is a an undergrad or a working professional, Roth knows curb appeal goes a long way toward bringing in the rent. Easy "one-hour upgrades" to interior and exterior spaces are easy on the budget, close little in labor, and heighten the perceived value of a home.
Quick Curb Appeal
"Sometimes it's just taking the worst house on the street and adding that curb appeal," Roth says. "Quick projects like adding a trellis don't cost a lot in materials or labor, so it's great for any budget." In the trellis project shown, Roth converted a single-family home into a duplex and needed to define a new entrance for the second space. His solution incorporated the overhead architecture straight out of the box from Fypon, as well as a small deck and railings from synthetic materials. (Full disclosure: Roth is a former Fypon employee.)
On another project, Roth took advantage of existing stone accents and built up columns around the entrance using 4x4 posts and PVC column wraps - another fast, easy project. "The column wraps were super easy," he says. "It all comes as a system, in a U-shape, so there's no mitering. You're just building off the post that's already there."
Inside, Roth says he's used faux beams, wainscoting, and other low-cost upgrades to add appeal for renters. All of the projects, he says, are complementary to exterior remodeling. "If I were a vinyl window or door installer, I could easily see adding these services to set the work apart from the other guys," he says. "Especially for the type of work that I do, I really like the low-maintenance aspect. If I get these properties up and going, and don't have time to go back and repaint and rework them every year. The PVC materials really maintain themselves."