Design You DC Rental Property in 2018

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Time to set up for the spring market! Just in the past few weeks I have taken on many small construction projects as part of my services to upgrade and update properties for the rental market. January through March is a great time to get your property in the best possible shape for the rental season to come.

Some new color schemes for 2018:


The days of off white are behind us. Depth and warmth create an atmosphere that gives tenants a sense of a home like feeling. The shades of gray I use are still neutral enough for tenants to decorate with their own style. We complete the walls with white baseboards / trim.


For counter tops I am always comfortable with granite as it holds up well. However with some additional financial reach from an owner I would bump that up to quartz. The kitchen is and probably will always be the main area of a property. So don’t slack here! You need that wow factor. Stainless packages now range in pricing so it’s not just for the elite.  No need in a standard rental for subzero fridges and wolf ranges. Just make sure it is a solid product that looks good. Look for upcoming sales on holidays to take advantage of pricing.


I am really trying to stay away from laminates. To me they don’t hold up well and with seasonal change in DC no matter how well they are placed they always seem to buckle or bump up in areas (floating floors).  *DC inspectors are citing these issues and making owners rip out floors for re-inspection. They also don’t feel like wood. If the budget is not allowing real hardwood then a thicker engineered wood works well to be glued or nailed down. Some properties you have no choice but to float the wood floor. I believe over time causes issues especially when placed over concrete.  Even with a protective barrier the concrete gets cold and or heats up depending on season and can affect the wood. Yes I know you are supposed to leave a gap for expansion but even with the gap I have still seen laminates start to push up. Laminate and water don’t mix well. So that constant cleaning with a mop, or those wet boots from outside effect the laminate floor over time. Areas by the sink in the kitchen get the worst of it.

A great alternative is Porcelain. Porcelain flooring lasts for a long time and can withstand large weights (even cars). With new colors/styles that allow the tile to look like wood it is a strong alternative that can last longer than wood with no need to re finish.  Be on the lookout for some great deals on porcelain wood like flooring typically on sale at lumber liquidators.

Install will set you back a bit more than wood, however you only do it once if done correctly. No need for refinishing or sanding ever.



There are so many styles and options here. For your average rental my advice would be to paint in a light but warm shade. Heavy dark reds, or greens make the bath feel dated. Light grays or deep whites work well. Some accent tile around the vanity helps lift the modern feel. New vanities that have a modern look are great.  Frameless showers are great however I have had issues with some that leak. Be careful who installs them for you. Make sure to have a specialist install the doors. Home depot has many of them to choose from. Replace that old showerhead with something new and large.

Simple : Clean : Functional

Part of my business has evolved into the re-design of property for both sales and rentals. Taking older properties that need work and creating that balance between budget, ROI on rent/sale, and design to bring the property up to 2018 standards.

One of the larger problems with condos/homes built in the 80’s and 90’s in DC is that they cant hold weight to properties that are just being built presently. They don’t look the same and many features of the property are older. The days of just throwing some paint up after a tenancy are over. With the new millennial generation coming forth and generations behind them the modern look is what is needed to keep up to new construction. Remember this is your investment property. Just like a car that needs to be detailed your invest property needs to be detailed to the point where it shows better than the competition. Many owners wonder why they are not getting the same price points as 2-3 years ago and many of those reasons come down to the way the condo looks.

For more information please contact:
Barry Lieberman