It’s definitely a blessing to own a rental property in a busy city full of college students and young professionals. You can be sure that there’s always going to be demand for housing, so there’s no fear of those dreadful vacancies.
But when your target tenant category is such, it can also get tricky increasing revenue through rental income as they can’t really afford rent hikes beyond a point. Does this mean that as the landlord, you need to compromise profits while dealing with rising maintenance costs, financing fees, and growing inflation? Must you bear the brunt and settle for lower returns?
These two landlords didn’t.
They optimized their property’s interiors not only to increase rental income by 50-60% but also to provide students with more affordable rates! To top that, they’ve managed to keep their tenants to stay long-term, almost eliminating vacant periods and frequent hassles of finding new tenants.
Here’s more about their win-win strategy.
They added an extra room in their rental
It really is as simple as it sounds - they simply converted their one-bedroom condos into two-bedroom condos by splitting a room into two.
Now, it’s fully understandable that the thought of building walls might bring out an immediate negative reaction from you. An all-out reno project is not only expensive but also effortsome, time-consuming and, more often than not, also frustrating.
But like these two landlords, you don’t really need a contractor or an all-out reno.
Landlord 1: Sectioned off the living area with a DIY partition wall
Jason K. has a one-bedroom condo in Bushwick, Brooklyn, one of the most student-friendly neighborhoods in New York City, attracting students from Brooklyn College, St. Joseph’s College, Pratt Institute and many others. But the market rate of $2,300 for a one-bedroom has always been tricky to make profit off of. In order to avoid hassles of finding new tenants every couple of months or so, he often let out his condo for a loss at $1,900-2,100.
But when the market rate increased to $2,500 in 2022, and Jason already had COVID-19 losses to recover, he decided he could no longer compromise on rental income.
Jason’s apartment has a lavish living and dining area which is unnecessary for students who use the apartment mostly just to bunk at night. When we drew up his apartment plan, we realized that a single, straight partition wall with a door was sufficient to split the living area to include another comfortably-sized room, converting his condo into a two-bedroom unit.
All we had to do was ship him our DIY Mounted Straight Partition Wall that comes with an accordion door. All he had to do was assemble the 4x4 panels and door, which took all of 1.5 hours. With some lighting and furniture replacement, he was able to add an extra room in his condo, ready to be rented out in less than a day!
Jason now rents by the room - $1700 for each - a subsidized price students pay happily. With $3,400 for his new two-bedroom condo, he was able to increase his rental income by almost 60%, without actually hiking the rent. And he did this by merely adding a DIY temporary partition wall.
Landlord 2: Closed a den with a partition wall and door
Jessica’s one bedroom apartment in Lincoln Park is one of those typical old Chicago homes that come with a den. In an area densely packed with students and young Chicagoans, an entertainment/study den offers no extra value to tenants so nobody wants to pay extra for it. It’s nothing but an extra living space, sort of unnecessary for youngsters who barely spend any time at home. So, a one bedroom plus den is essentially just a one-bedroom, and Amy made the regular one-bedroom market rate of $1800 from it for the longest time.
When she tried to hike the rent to $2,100 in 2021, she had to go through a long 2-month vacancy period, followed by short-term tenants (and lots of hassles) for a year. Either she had to reduce the rent or figure out a way to make the most of her real estate asset. She decided to convert the den into a room to make her one-bedroom unit into a 2-bedroom unit.
We advised Amy to go with our Freestanding Room Divider with Door. This DIY partition didn’t need any extra support from the walls as they come with their own anchor panels at the ends. Within a couple of hours, she was able to assemble a sleek, modern modular wall with a door. She then bought a few pieces of furniture off IKEA and Wayfair to complete the new room. Beginning 2022, this new 2-bedroom has been earning her a $3,100 rent, an almost 50% hike from last year!
Are DIY partition walls affordable?
Our DIY partition walls range from $1,100-2,500 depending on size. Jason invested $2,450 in the DIY renovation but with the $1500-1600 extra he was making as a result, he got his ROI in less than two months. Jessica’s $1,800 investment too was paid off with the two month’s profit on rental income!
While they do require an initial investment, our DIY partition walls add tremendous value to a rental and bring quick returns. You also save a lot on time, effort and hassles - priceless benefits that are unimaginable in a contractor-renovation.
Do you need permission to build DIY partition walls?
Broadly speaking, our partition walls can be considered as ‘furniture’ since they don’t go all the way up to the ceiling. However, there’s always the confusion when a ‘door’ gets added in the equation.
So, is DOB approval necessary for building a temporary wall? Technicalities vary from county to county, so it’s best to check with the local bylaws and regulations to ensure you remain on the right side of the law.
How to increase your rental income by adding an extra room?
- First, understand the real-estate market in the area. What are the popular tenant categories? How much value will an extra room add to your rental? Is there a significant difference in rent between one and two-bedroom units? It might be useful to speak to a real estate agent in the area to get an idea.
- Next, draw out a plan of your rental with scaled furniture. See if there’s any extra area, perhaps a corner that can be sectioned off or a room that can be split into two.
- Once you have the plan figured out, check with the Department of Buildings in your county to see if you need any approvals.
- With the legalities out of the way, all that’s left is to build the partition wall and reorganize the furniture.
Want to add an extra room in your rental but don’t know how to? Need help figuring out the layout? Not sure how much space to section off and what kind of partition wall to use? Our space design experts have you covered! Contact us for a free consultation.