Don’t overdo remodel

Dear Mi-Ling: I am remodeling the basement of my rental property to increase the rent. During the past five years, I have increased the mortgage payment. Now that I’m retired, I don’t have the income to supplement my mortgage and now is not the time to sell.

My husband and I have added a bedroom in the basement, and we’re going to fix the stairs, which are too steep, maybe add a landing and then more steps. We are considering adding another bathroom which would bring the total baths to three.

What do you think? Are we putting too much money into this rental home? – Rosa

Dear Rosa: Adding a bathroom to your rental home also will increase the value of your home. However, it will cost more. Check the homes in your neighborhood to see what the average bathroom count is before you make that investment.

If you are having a hard time making your mortgage payment, don’t incur a lot of unnecessary costs. Concentrate on the following items:

 • Clean carpets and floors.

 • Paint the walls.

 • Make sure all the appliances and heating and cooling units are working properly.

 • Paint the front door and spruce up landscaping.

 • If you have the money to put in the third bathroom and it makes financial sense, stick with the basics and don’t go overboard on high-end toilets and sinks. A shower, sink and toilet is sufficient.

The key here is not to overextend yourself with unnecessary repairs or remodeling.