Owning residential rental property is one of the best ways to build wealth and achieve income diversification. But if you’re serious about rental property investing, you need to do everything you can to make your properties stand out in the marketplace.

If you manage to do so, you’ll enjoy lower vacancy, less turnover, higher rents, and better profitability. Not a few rental properties are poorly designed, managed, and maintained, so if you put in a little effort, you may wow prospective tenants and keep them happy.

The following are five essential suggestions.

1. Spruce Up Curb Appeal

When a prospective renter pulls up to a property, curb appeal sets the tone immediately. If the place is messy and unsightly, your potential client will assume that it reflects the interior. If it’s clean and inviting, the visitor feels more at home.

Improving your property’s curb appeal can be as simple as doing basic landscaping, pressure-washing hard surfaces, and placing some potted flowers on the front porch.

2. Invest in Small Updates

Unless your rental property will target corporate relocations for executives, or you’re situated in a big city where luxury rentals are common, you won’t have to go overboard. All it takes is a few small updates and you can make your property stand out.

Here are a few simple investments that make a big statement:

• New tile backsplash

• New/trendy kitchen hardware

• Stainless steel appliances

• Updated master bathroom

• New light fixtures

For a few hundred dollars, you can pick a couple of items on this list and transform the perception of your property. It really is that easy.

3. Be Mindful of Paint Colors

Paint colors might seem insignificant, but they can have a direct impact on how people feel about a particular rental space. Green, for example, can have calming effects, while red promotes urgency.

Be mindful of the colors you select. It’s best to stick with neutrals, which appeal to a wide variety of individuals.

Just make sure you come up with a result that’s too sterile. Occasional pops of color will serve you well.

4. Create the Illusion of Space

If your rental property is small, you can employ some tricks to make it feel bigger. Start by removing any unnecessary clutter from the site.

An empty property will look bigger and rent faster. And then there’s lighting. “Artificial light can’t compare with natural,” Green Residential notes.

“Interior light bulbs are typically designed to make a room feel cozy, but when you’re in a small space, cozy can actually feel cramped. Using natural light to your advantage is your best strategy.”

Leaving windows uncovered can maximize light. In areas where the renter needs privacy, blinds are a better alternative to drapes because they allow some light to shine through while limiting visibility from the outside looking in.

If the footprint of the property is small, try drawing prospective renters’ eyes upward to make the unit feel larger. You can do this by incorporating vertical wall art, floor-to-ceiling built-ins, and other elements that seize attention.

5. Take Quality Listing Photos

Very few renters see a property in person without having first studied it online. Your online listing may be your best opportunity to establish a positive first impression.

Of all the effective elements of an online listing, photos are the most vital. Here are some pointers for a DIY landlord who doesn’t wish to hire a professional photographer:

• Use a quality camera.

• Take wide-angle images to make the property look spacious.

• Be mindful of the height of the camera’s view. Somewhere between 36 and 48 inches is ideal.

• Invest in a very basic photo-editing software that allows you to make small but effective adjustments to the exposure, contrast, white balance, shadows, etc. You’ll also want to be able to straighten crooked images and crop unwanted details.

Quality listing photos will make your rental property look more attractive than 90 percent of the others out there. Most likely, you’ll secure more showings and find renters faster.

What Are You Waiting For?

Sometimes the simplest improvements and techniques make the biggest difference. You don’t have to wait for some major improvement or overhaul.

All you need to do is take a few minutes to implement some key changes. Try some of the ones described in the article above and let us know how they work for you.