Add an outdoor entertainment area and add value to your rental property.

Tenants like to entertain guests just as much as homeowners do, and an outdoor entertainment area is a big plus for them.

They can also be a huge plus for you as an investor because they can add significantly to your rental yield as well as to the value of the property overall (see a pattern here?).

Here in Australia, he have long, hot summers, and we like to spend time outside. The trouble is, quite a few landlords don't consider this need for useful areas outside in their rental properties, and leave them with bare backyards, open to the elements. In most parts of Australia and in many other parts of the world, it is impossible to spend summer (or even other seasonal) time in the garden of your property unless something (a deck with shelter, and/or trees) provides shade of cover from the elements.

A great Aussie barbecue can be utterly misrable unless your tenants have a dedicated outdoor entertainment area to protect you from the heat. It can even be pleasant to spend time on your back deck when it's raining, getting the fresh air, as long as you're not actually getting wet!

Like most people, I started my life away from home as a tenant in rental properties, and common sense, as well as a degree in design, helped me to develop a list of things I wouldn't do to my own tenants when I owned my own investment properties. The importance of a sheltered outdoor area for entertaining was one item on that list, and it has paid off!

An attractive outdoor entertainment area on your rental investment property doesn't need to break the bank. It you take the time to get to know your local seconds yards, you can get quite a bit of nice paving for very reasonable prices, and the same goes for structurally sound timber that you can use to build a solid deck and shelter. Add some transparent or semi-transparent UV-protective roofing and a solid coat of decking oil, and you have good shelter, while still allowing enough light to reach the windows at the back of the house.

I've seen this done for as little as $200-500, and the result was absolutely stunning. It made a useful and contemporary addition to the property (another 1950s fibro house... they have so much potential!), which added about another $20,000 value to it on re-evaluation. That's as much as one hundred times return on investment, or 1000%! I never did find out how much the rent went up for that one, but it would have been $20-50 per week, meaning that it was paid off in four to ten weeks, and into pure profit thereafter.

You get to know the right people to talk to in this game...

Next time you look at your property portfolio, or go looking to add something to it, make sure you consider the property's potential for adding an outdoor entertainment area. It could just turn your negatively-geared investment into a positive one.

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