9 Common PadSplit Renovation Mistakes

Learn 9 common mistakes PadSplit Hosts make during the renovation process

April 07, 2022

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Let’s face it: A renovation of any kind is expensive. Whether renovating your primary residence or a rental property, costs can quickly add up. Many factors go into renovation costs, including location, home age, square footage, and scope of work. Learn more about PadSplit renovations and common renovation mistakes.

Why Renovate?

Why do PadSplit Hosts renovate their properties in the first place? The PadSplit model was designed to help real estate investors increase their returns by converting existing, unused spaces, such as offices or dining rooms, into additional bedrooms. By leveraging under-utilized space in their existing properties to make it more profitable for them, it also creates more much-needed affordable housing for community members.

With that in mind, many PadSplit Hosts will bring in a general contractor to help them renovate and optimize their property for co-living. Common renovations include adding additional bedrooms and bathrooms, replacing old or dated finishes, and adding additional parking. While the final scope of work will depend on the property a Host selects, most Hosts agree that a renovation on the front end helps them increase their return on investment.

9 Common PadSplit Renovation Mistakes

Mistake #1: You didn’t pressure check the existing plumbing system.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming plumbing is okay based on your observations or an inspection report. Pressure testing plumbing is an excellent way to determine the condition of existing plumbing systems on your property. 

Making updates to major systems like plumbing during the renovation phase is more cost-efficient than digging into problems when they arise after Members have moved in. 

Photo by Marian Florinel Condruz on Unsplash

Mistake #2: You didn’t upgrade the water heater.

No one likes a cold shower, especially your residents. A water heater that is too small could lead to never having enough hot water and multiple maintenance requests from Members. If your water heater is overworked, you may also deal with frequent repairs or need to replace it sooner than expected. 

The exact capacity will depend on the number of bedrooms in your property, so we recommend working closely with your general contractor to determine the best size for your property. Upgrading your water heater during the renovation process will ensure you get fewer complaints about cold showers from Members.

Mistake #3: You only have one refrigerator.

In a traditional rental, a single gallon of milk is used by everyone who lives in the home. In a PadSplit, depending on the number of residents, there could be up to eight different gallons of milk in a refrigerator at once. That’s a lot of fridge space! When there are more than seven bedrooms in a property, we strongly recommend adding an additional fridge to the PadSplit. The extra refrigerator provides additional space for the residents to store their food, and it will also help minimize complaints and frustrations within the house.

When you go into a renovation knowing you’ll want an additional refrigerator added to the property, your General Contractor will be able to plan for it by figuring out the floorplan and electrical. It’s much easier — and more cost-effective — to decide placement on the front end of the renovation than to add one after Members have moved in. 

Mistake #4: You ignored parking.

The most common cause of friction with neighbors is cars: too much street parking, driving over grass, or just too many cars. To limit the number of car-related issues from the beginning, it’s important to source properties very close to public transit during your PadSplit property selection. PadSplit Hosts can also look for properties with ample off-street parking, especially around the back.

If you already own a property you are converting to a PadSplit, consider putting in a parking pad during the renovation. Work with your general contractor to find the best place on the property to lay down a parking pad, and make sure it’s wide enough where Members can come and go without blocking other vehicles.

Mistake #5: You chose low-quality materials for high-use rooms.

Kitchen and bathroom renovations are often the most costly renovations, but they’re both high-use rooms for good reason.

There’s no need to splurge on high-end appliances like Viking ranges and Sub Zero refrigerators when it comes to appliances. Quality, durable appliances will be enough for your Members. However, certain investments will pay off during your renovation. 

When selecting materials for your renovation, think about the cost per use. For example, in a kitchen used by eight residents each day, your countertops will experience a lot of wear and tear. Replacing existing tile countertops with granite countertops will help optimize for ease of cleaning and operational efficiency. Hard surfaces that withstand cleaning chemicals are best. While more expensive upfront, Granite countertops are far more durable than laminate or tile.

Mistake #6: You didn’t properly vet your vendors.

You have your PadSplit property. You’re excited, ready to start your renovation, and get closer to your first move-in! But it’s important to vet your vendors thoroughly, specifically your general contractor! Because general contractors are in high demand, it may be tempting to choose the one who has the first availability for your PadSplit renovation. However, don’t decide without asking the proper questions and interviewing a few of their references. 

Not sure where to find quality vendors? We created our PadSplit Vendor Network to improve our customer experience and expedite the process of opening a new PadSplit property. We’ve compiled a list of general contractors, property managers, photographers, real estate agents, and lenders in PadSplit markets.

Log into your Host dashboard, and you can search based on vendor type and location. We recommend setting up calls with at least three vendors and checking their references before making a final selection.

Mistake #7: You chose carpet as flooring.

During the PadSplit renovation process, Hosts will often want to know, “Which will cost me less?” However, it’s essential to make decisions to optimize your property for co-living during the renovation. One area where Hosts should invest is on the flooring.

It’s tempting to install carpets in bedrooms to cut costs during a renovation, but we recommend replacing all carpets in the home with Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring. LVP provides the look of wood floors with all the features, benefits, and durability of vinyl. Prices will vary based on material and your location. While more expensive than carpet during installation, vinyl plank is much cheaper over the lifetime of the floor  

The durability will make it easier to clean in between room turns, and you won’t have to worry about how to get out carpet stains that have set in overtime. While it may be a bit more expensive on the front end, the long-term benefits will pay off. 

An added benefit of choosing LVP flooring? Vinyl flooring has come a long way since the sheets of flooring in your mother’s kitchen growing up. Your property listing photos will shine! Because Members don’t tour properties in person before booking, your property photos are important. 

Mistake #8: You overlooked insulation, air circulation, and air sealing in added bedrooms.

Different than traditional rentals, PadSplit Hosts are responsible for utility costs. Utility costs should be built into the price, but the goal is to drive down spending, making the property more affordable for Members and more profitable for you. Because of that, we recommend installing a smart thermostat that locks with a pin so you can control the temperature of the property.

A common maintenance request from Members is a request to update the temperature of the home. However, temperature control starts long before adjusting a thermostat! In added bedrooms, don’t overlook insulation, air circulation, and air sealing. Each bedroom should have proper ventilation and sealing to ensure the room’s temperature is regulated with the rest of the home. Work with your general contractor to discuss steps needed for additional bedrooms.

Mistake #9: You only have one trash receptacle. 

We recommend having multiple trash receptacles for Members to use on waste pick-up days. You can request additional trash or recycling bins from your jurisdiction. While there may be a nominal fee associated with adding another trash bin, it’s a small price to pay to ensure that Members keep the exterior of the property clean and tidy. 

Final Thoughts

Renovations might feel overwhelming because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to renovating a PadSplit. Each PadSplit property is different. However, when you spend a little extra time and money on the front end, you’ll often find your investment pays for itself. 

Ready to dig into more of our renovation and optimization best practices? Check out our Host Resources page for more resources and tools to help you select, renovate, and optimize your PadSplit.

Header photo by Louis Hansel onUnsplash

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