Renting comes with many advantages, but the freedom to customize your living space according to your needs and preferences certainly isn't one of them. When a hefty safety deposit and a strict lease agreement are watching your every move, turning a rental into a home becomes a much more daunting task. Still, there is no reason to despair, even if you are still not ready to upgrade from tenant to homeowner. There are many budget-friendly ways to personalize your rental home that won't aggravate your landlord or your wallet. Stay tuned to see what they are.
Add some color to the walls
A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for transforming your living space. Owners typically opt for white or other neutral shades because they are universal and easy to paint over in between tenants. If this is too dull for your taste, you can always kindly ask your landlord to switch things up. If they are not too keen on the idea, offer to repaint the walls in the original color before the time comes to move out. Yes, this will be an extra expense you will need to account for, but since there are moving services for different needs and budgets available, you should be able to make an affordable plan without sacrificing anything.
Create an accent wall with removable wallpaper
This list of budget-friendly ways to personalize your rental home can't go without wallpaper. Removable wallpaper is a fantastic way to bring some color and style into your living space. There is a variety of colors, patterns, and even textures to choose from, so finding something that matches your taste shouldn't be an issue. You can even use it to upgrade the bathroom! Just be very careful when removing it if you want to get your security deposit back. If you chip or damage the walls, end-of-tenancy cleaning won't be your only issue when you decide to move.
Upgrade the lighting
Lighting plays an essential role in interior design. However, rentals usually cover only the bare necessities when it comes to illumination, be it natural or artificial. Luckily, addressing this issue is neither hard nor expensive.
You can find beautiful lamps and lighting fixtures on various online marketplaces and thrift stores for ridiculously low amounts of money. LED strip lights are an excellent solution for task lighting in the kitchen or bathroom. When it comes to wall and ceiling fixtures, you can opt for pendant lights that you can customize and arrange according to your liking if you are not allowed to install more.
Additionally, make sure to remove or replace your blinds and add airy curtains that will allow more sunlight into your living space.
Replace the hardware
Door knobs and cabinet pulls might seem insignificant, but they can really help you personalize your rental home. You can find cheap hardware online. The fact that replacing it requires minimal effort makes this trick even more attractive. Just make sure to store the original knobs, handles, and pulls in a safe place to avoid losing them.
Add a removable backsplash to your kitchen
Rarely will you find a rental with a kitchen backsplash that is just according to your liking. Luckily, you can easily address this with a removable backsplash. It will protect the walls from accidental spills and splashes and make the move-out cleaning significantly more manageable. Moreover, since it is so cheap, you can simply replace it once you get bored of the pattern.
Upgrade appliances and cabinets with contact paper
While there probably isn't much you can do about the appliances and cabinets in your rental, there are ways to make them look a bit more presentable. Contact paper! Simply clean and dry the surface you want to cover and carefully stick the paper to avoid air bubbles and creases. If you take your time with this, you might even convince your friends that you finally got that expensive stainless-steel fridge! When the time comes to move, simply remove the contact paper and no one will ever know.
Cover ugly flooring with area rugs
Since flooring isn't exactly cheap or easy to fix or replace, landlords typically don't address them unless absolutely necessary. As a result, many rentals have less than stellar floors that really affect the home's vibe. If this is the case with your apartment - there is no reason to panic! Area rugs can be a cheap and easy fix for this issue. Layer different sizes, colors, and shapes to cover the ugly spots and add a dose of coziness to your living space.
Personalize your rental home with plants
When it comes to home decor, plants are always an excellent choice. They are affordable, versatile, and capable of brightening up even the dreariest of places.
If you don't have much experience keeping them alive, know that many low-maintenance options thrive on neglect. Make sure to choose the plants that can survive with the conditions you will provide them. This means that succulents are probably not an ideal choice if your rental doesn't get much sunlight. Additionally, put your green friends in some cool planters, and place them on your shelves, hang them, or even use them to cover up the eyesores.
Don’t assume you can’t change anything
While there are many budget-friendly ways to personalize your rental home, they might not be enough for you. If you have more complex ideas in mind, don't just assume that you can do nothing about them. It's true that most landlords aren't big on allowing their tenants to make significant changes, but that might not be the case with your landlord. A kind approach, alongside responsible tenant behavior, could be enough to persuade the owner to loosen up the rules. Remember to be realistic about your demands and always offer to return the property to its previous condition. However, if your landlord won't budge and you simply don't feel at home in the rental - don't despair. There are many properties out there, and, with a bit of help, you will surely manage to find something that satisfies your needs and wishes.
If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in a position where you think you can afford to own property, you then have to deal with making the biggest and most complicated purchase of your life. For some, adding to the complication of a major renovation seems like madness. But for others, fixer-upper homes are the most achievable way to get the house of their dreams. If you have been considering joining the fixer-upper club, here’s what you’ll need to think about.
The Buying Process
The first thing you need to do is determine your budget. In the case of a fixer-upper, this has to include both the price of the house and the renovation costs, but it is easier for you to think of them together for the time being. Good indicators to establish a budget include your annual income, money saved for a down payment, monthly spending, loan type, and current average APR. Don’t forget that there are plenty of hidden ongoing costs to owning a home, so you also need to take things like insurance, taxes, and maintenance into account.
The next step for most homeowners is to get to know their local market and see what kind of home they can buy in the area with said budget. Nolo.com suggests that the best way to know how much to offer on a fixer-upper is to figure out the value of the home if it was fixed, calculating the cost of the work, and then subtracting one from the other.
Once you find the fixer-upper of your dreams (and budget), there are a few additional steps you need to cover before making an offer. Get a full home inspection, which will highlight any repair work you may have missed during your visit, and re-adjust your offer accordingly. If a house you love has severe structural issues that would cost a fortune to repair, it may not be worth it.
As you look into financing your purchase, research the types of loans that will work best for your situation. For example, if you’re a veteran with so-so credit and not a lot socked away, you are eligible for a VA loan, which can help when it comes to finding decent interest rates, plus there won’t be any mortgage insurance. On the other hand, if the home needs serious work, you can look into an FHA 203(k) loan. These loans provide funding for the home and the necessary renovations, in addition for funding that covers the time you can’t live in the home.
When it comes to renovating your new home, planning is the most important thing you can do. It may be tempting to throw yourself headfirst into the first DIY project you can think of, but this is not the most efficient way to proceed.
Make a full list of everything that needs to be done, and sort tasks by priority. At the top, place anything that is necessary to make the house livable, such as electrical work, plumbing, or structural issues. Then address changes needed to make the house attractive. Finally, finishing decorative touches go last.
A full renovation schedule is important, but it is by no means the only thing you need to consider. Real Homes has a detailed checklist of things you need to do before you start renovating, covering everything from securing the building site to learning about your home’s architectural features. And if you haven’t already, invest some cash into some quality power tools such as drills or saws to make those DIY projects a little easier.
There is an accepted idea in society that your first house is a “starter home” and that you will eventually trade up to a bigger and better one. National statistics say the average first-time buyer stays in that house for 11 years before moving on to another home. However, there is also evidence that many first-time buyers, particularly young millennials, are skipping the starter home altogether. Instead, they are choosing to wait longer and put in more effort to buy a home that is right for them for the long haul.
Whether you choose to re-sell your fixer-upper will ultimately depend on two factors: firstly, whether you bought the house with the long-term in mind, and secondly, how much value you have added through your renovations. Do bear in mind, however, that experts recommend living in a home for a minimum of five years before selling.
Buying a fixer-upper for your first home doesn’t have to be a terrifying and intimidating prospect. As long as you are reasonable with your budget and expectations and do your homework, your fixer-upper can either end up being your dream home or a great first step on your way up the property ladder.
Clark Real Estate
305 W. Moana Ste C
Reno, NV 89509