Both hardwood and carpeted flooring can look great in any Santa Barbara property. However, when that property is purchased by an investor whose intention is to make it a lucrative long-term rental, hardwood floors can have a real advantage over carpeting -- for both durability and enhanced aesthetic appeal.
Yes, the initial investment is definitely more expensive. But hardwood floors are extremely durable: they withstand years of the toughest use (by even the roughest of boots!). By comparison, carpets tend to rip and stain easily. With replacement costs starting in the neighborhood of $3.50 per square foot, that means their actual property management expense will usually be higher. The resulting value to present (or future) landlords can be considerable. Hardwood flooring also gives any property a higher-end feel to it, which could tend to attract higher quality tenants.
Canny Santa Barbara area landlords know that there are both good and bad tenants out there; only time can guarantee which kind will wind up in any given house. Although hiring a great property management company is one step that goes a long way toward keeping an income unit in great condition, over the years there is always a risk that some renters may cause damage, leaving the landlord or property management agency to deal with the mess after they move. And the fact is that any carpet can be ruined through one accidental stain -- even by the most conscientious of occupants. Conversely, if hardwood floors get scratched, it’s a fairly simple matter to sand and re-varnish it a vacant property.
The only real downside to hardwood floors -- aside from the initial expense -- is that they can make a house seem a little ‘cold,’ while carpet can make a house feel cozier. It may not be the responsibility of a property management firm to make a house feel cozy, but it still can affect occupancy rates. Nonetheless, many income property owners decide that it is not a good enough reason to choose carpeting. They hope that hardwood’s durability is equally valuable in the minds of the high quality tenants they hope to attract.