Whether you own a historic home or a townhome built in the 1970s, your property might need new windows shortly. Due to the aesthetic and efficiency benefits—not to mention the value, it adds to your rental—window replacement is a successful property remodeling project. It’s not without its potential pitfalls and significant decision points, however. In this article, we’ll review how to go about finding the best windows for your rental property, including what you need to budget and consider and who you need to consult.
Set your budget
As you’ve no doubt heard, window replacement can potentially be expensive. Most property owners and managers only plan on doing this project once in their time owning the property. Typically, property owners take on window replacement when they buy an older property that was already overdue for new windows.
According to data from HomeAdvisor, the average U.S. homeowner pays about $650 to replace each window in their property. However, if you’re remodeling the property and replacing all of its windows, you may be able to secure a better per-window price from your remodeler. In general, you can expect that replacing the windows in a single-family home should run you between $3,000 and $10,000.
It’s a significant project. But, it’s not without its benefits. Below, we’ll review how new windows can grant notable aesthetic and efficiency advantages to your rental property moving forward.
Select the style that matches the property
There are dozens and dozens of window styles, frame styles, and options available. The key to making decisions here is finding windows that fit within your property’s style and budget. Classic double-hung windows work in a wide variety of single-family homes. These are windows that pull up to let fresh air inside. Casement windows are also a great choice and generally appreciated by renters—these windows open to the side with a rotary handle. There are also specialty windows for kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
Here’s what you need to know; however: double-hung and casement windows are generally less expensive than their more specialized counterparts. A bay window at the front of the property might look fantastic but could blow your budget. The same thing goes for a garden window or a custom arch window feature. Unless you’re planning on marketing your home, condo, or apartment as luxury living, you should steer clear of any upgrades that won’t give you a healthy return.
One final warning: if you own a condo or apartment that is part of a community, double-check with the community’s bylaws or management team before finalizing your decision. There may be rules regulating what type gets used in the community.
Decide how many panes you need
Many older homes feature single-pane windows. These are a throwback to the days when energy was cheap, and homeowners generally didn’t consider how much they used. Times have changed, however, and single-pane windows are now much more of a liability due to their incredible inefficiency. These windows do little to prevent heat transfer between the inside and outside of the property.
If you’re replacing your windows, you should strongly consider upgrading to dual-pane windows. These are the generally accepted standard in today’s remodels and new builds. Dual-panes, as the name suggests, have two pieces of glass. The central air pocket between them is typically filled with a harmless, invisible gas—such as argon or krypton—that further slows heat transfer between the panes. Dual-pane windows make the rental far more comfortable and efficient. That’s certainly a benefit for your renter, but this kind can also work for you: they add long-term value to the property while also reducing the wear-and-tear on your HVAC systems in the present.
If you have the capital and are considering ways to “future-proof” your home, you may also want to talk to your local window specialist about a potential upgrade to triple-panes, which can take the property’s efficiency to an even higher level.
Work with a window professional
If you’re strongly considering replacing the windows in your rental property, your next step should be to speak with an experienced and trustworthy window contractor in your area. After inspecting your property, a professional will be able to give you a better breakdown of your options and all the costs involved. You should come out of your conversation with at least a ballpark estimate for what the project will cost, which may influence when you move forward with the remodel.
Remember: the right windows, installed correctly, can transform your rental property for the better. Invest in high-quality windows, glass, and installation—trying to cut corners can lead to shoddy work and subpar returns down the road.
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