Real Estate

8 Essential Renovations to Make in Your Short-Term Rental to Boost Income

If you’re looking to maximize your short-term rental profit without breaking the bank, these renovations and modifications could keep the calendar booked all year long.
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The short-term rental space has become saturated in the past few years. Landlords looking to boost their rental income and owner occupants attempting to start a side hustle by converting bedrooms into guest rooms have seen the competition increase. So how do you stand out from the pack and keep your STR homes full, even in the off-season? This guide to essential short-term rental renovations will put you on the right track.

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1. Curb Appeal Counts

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Your STR marketing should include a photo of the exterior of your home, so curb appeal is front and center. Assuming that your landscaping looks good, you’ll need to take things to the next level to keep ahead of competition and photograph well on listing sites. If your home’s exterior paint color looks good, power-washing and repainting the trim work will help the photos pop. If the paintwork is dated or faded, you’ll need to freshen it up with no-fail paint colors. Once that is done, add hardware embellishments.

These should include:

  • An attractive standalone mailbox
  • New house numbers
  • Door hardware and a kick plate
  • Exterior security cameras to offer safety and security 

2. Floor Them With Your Flooring

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Flooring trends tend to change every few years, and staying abreast is impractical. However, if you have carpet, linoleum, or old laminate, reinvesting in modern vinyl plank flooring is the way to go and will be relatively inexpensive. A beachy color that looks like white oak will offer your home a sense of serenity and calm, replicating upscale modern condos.

Darker colors add intimacy and warmth. The great thing about vinyl plank flooring is that it’s waterproof, hard-wearing, and easy to clean and replace in sections.

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3. Spa Bathrooms Are a Sanctuary

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Bathrooms and bedding are essential for the success of your STR, and if you’re going to spend some money, the bathroom is the place to do it. If you already have attractive tiles, clean the grout lines with bleach and a toothbrush, or use a dedicated grout cleaner. Consider investing in modern hardware, a vanity, mood lighting, and a new toilet bowl.

Painting, artwork, and shelving for a bounty of fluffy white towels will create a spa-like feeling. If your bathroom is a lurid pink or avocado and screams platform heels and disco balls, no amount of linen will salvage it. You’re going to need a complete renovation or a whole-house vintage style to match.

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4. Hot Tubs Get the Party Started

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Hot tubs have proven to be a worthwhile investment in the STR space and work well on a backyard patio or deck. Augmenting these areas with outdoor grills, firepit tables, and outdoor seating helps create a relaxed atmosphere for socializing. The goal is to offer guests an experience they wouldn’t usually get in a standard rental.

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5. Balconies and Fairy Lights Add Intimacy and Whimsy

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If a hot tub is out of your budget, you can still create a cozy, intimate outdoor atmosphere with fairy lights and comfy seating on a refinished deck. A grill—or, failing that—an outdoor pizza oven, allows for socializing and snacks under the stars. These touches can be inexpensive or DIY projects in your short-term rental renovations.

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6. Keep Classy With Crown Molding

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Crown molding is a simple addition to a home that adds a touch of class to any room and takes it from “meh” to “yeah.” If you want to get extra schmancy, and are handy with the chop saw and nail gun, consider adding wainscoting to formal dining rooms with chair moldings. If you have a large space with high ceilings, you could also add tall sculpted baseboard molding for another stylish architectural element that will make your rental stand out from the masses.

7. Coffee Nooks Are Cool

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Creating a little alcove for a coffee nook with a table and coffee machine brings a personal touch and a place for your guests to sit in the morning for a hot cup of joe. Consider giving the alcove some flair by painting it a different color or choosing stylish wallpaper or exposed brick for a cozy coffee shop vibe.

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8. Convert Attics and Basements

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Converting attics and basements into additional bedrooms converts directly into dollars. The more guests you can accommodate, the more money you can charge. While the outlay to renovate these spaces may not be cheap (if you’re hiring a contractor to do the work instead of doing it yourself), the return on investment is considerable.

You’ll also add instant equity to the home by increasing the internal square footage and bedroom count. If you add extra bathrooms in either attic or basement, the cash flow and equity go up further.