This is the fifth post in an occasional series that offers tips for new and established landlords in order for them to get the most out of their investment. 

There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to choosing materials to make improvements or repairs to a rental property. The first is that it is wise to use the most inexpensive materials possible to reduce upfront costs for the landlord. The other is to make the investment in better quality materials upfront to gain in the long run.

Save or Spend?

Both of these rental property maintenance theories have some valid points. However nice a tenant seems a landlord can never really predict how well they might take care of his property and spending too much on items that might get damaged can be risky. Even if tenants do not actually break things they still might not take care of them quite as well as they should.

On the other hand going cheap has its downsides as well. For example linoleum tiles would probably be the cheapest way to update the kitchen floor in a rental property and they are pretty easy to replace if they get damaged.

However there is a reason that most inexpensive lino tiles only come with a very limited warranty – if they come with one at all – and that is that they simply do not have a very long useful lifespan. Even in a home with the most house proud of tenants thin lino tiles wear quickly even with normal, everyday use. Often they all need to be replaced within a few years for both aesthetic and safety reasons. At this point the savings a landlord originally made will evaporate.

Spend More to Make More?

There are always significant fluctuations in rental prices in any geographical market. People tend to be willing to pay more for quality in general and that applies to rental properties as well.

You can justify charging a slightly higher rent if the property is more desirable than others. No one would really expect the average landlord to install granite counters in their rental property, or invest in very expensive flooring, but choosing mid range materials that will last longer and are simply better looking and more functional will usually help them get the place rented at a good rate and keep it that way.