Tom Kraeutler co-hosts “The Money Pit,” the nation’s most popular home improvement radio program. If you are currently (or have plans to) undertake self managing a rental property, this is a guy you should listen to regularly. For now, learn cool stuff as he talks with Jason Hartman on episode #343 of The Creating Wealth Show.

Tom Kraeutler

Mr. Kraeutler’s specialty is home improvement resale value, an area of expertise that coincides nicely with Jason’s listenership of real estate investors. Over the course of this interview, Kraeutler discusses how homeowners and investors can take advantage of a rapidly improving housing market. There are home improvements, both large and small, that pay for themselves immediately in resale value.

Self Managing a Rental Property

As Jason points out, landlords who intend to manage their own properties have a lot in common with the mindset of a homeowner preparing to sell his or her house. In either case, the property needs to be shown to its best advantage whether you’re trying to draw the interest of a buyer or tenant.

It’s All About Curb Appeal

Curb appeal always has and always will be high on the list of home improvement areas. You’ve got to get the prospect through the door before you can impress them with anything in the interior. A gnarly, unkempt front yard or forward facing exterior can easily scare off a potential tenant before they even set foot inside to see all the hard work you’ve done. These days, with so many first impressions occurring in an online photo rather than a realtor drive-by, it becomes even more imperative to scrub the front area of your property until it shines.

In particular, break out the power washer (or rent one) and blast the sidewalk and exterior of the house. Got debris? Get rid of it. Are you in sentimental about the lime green and hot pink color scheme? Fall in love with neutral, low-key colors instead. That means break out the paint brush. This is not the time to let your inner artist show his stuff. The reason home improvement experts strongly suggest you go with neutral hues inside and out is that it allows potential renters to imagine how their stuff would look in the place without being distracted by a wild color scheme.

The Bagster – Clean Up Technology

As anyone with experience self managing a rental property knows, there’s usually a mess when a tenant leaves. A mess that you get to pick up and throw out. Kraeutler suggests landlords check out a new product called Bagster. It’s basically a dumpster in a box. The Bagster arrives folded into a small package. Upon opening, it expands to 1,000 times its original size. Dimensions are 4’ x 8’ x 2.5’ high. Fill the thing up with trash and call someone to come take it away. It’s easier and cheaper than traditional dumpster rental.

The New World of Filters

Other products that Tom Kraeutler likes have to do with air and water filtration systems. Both have improved much in recent years and are cheaper than you might think. First up are modern air filters for your HVAC system. They’ve always been a critical first line of defense in controlling pollen and dust in the house but newer models do a great job in taking care of odor as well. A landlord would be well-advised to implement this odor control measure and change the filter every 30 days.

With hard water issues in so many cities, it’s not unusual for a landlord to place a filtration system at the sink. But Kraeutler points out that you can install a water filtration unit that works for the entire house for less than $100. Yes, prices have come down that much. You might need a visit from a plumber for the initial installation but, after that, changing the filter is easy and only has to be done every 12 months.

Water Conservation Technology

According to Tom Kraeutler, “green” is the new normal when it comes to outfitting a house. These days it’s hard to find an appliance or utility feature that is wasteful. One example is watering your lawn. New hose nozzle designs that incorporate strategically placed air jets increase water pressure by 40% while using 40% less water at the same time. These are statistics that would have seemed impossible not so long ago.

Enter the Age of the Smart Home

Almost everyone in America has a smart phone. Can the design of a smart home be far behind? Most people know that you can control the temperature of your home remotely from a smart phone app. But Kraeutler says some homeowners can take it a step further. By rigging your home with motion sensors, you allow the house to determine when no one is moving around and automatically adjust the temperature to a more efficient setting. We assume that the sensors can be easily deactivated for when everyone is asleep at night.  

Even the Simple Things

It’s easy to get caught up in the big, audacious technological improvements but what about the simple stuff? WE’re talking about painter’s tape? You can improve the quality and visual appeal of your house painting chores simply by using the latest and greatest in blocking tape. These days tape is designed to lay perfectly around corners and curves and can stay in place for up to a week without damaging wood grain or sheetrock.

Find The Money Pit

Tom Kraeutler co-hosts the radio version of The Money Pit with Leslie Segrete. Visit the website at to find one of the 300 stations broadcasting the show near you. (Image: Flickr | Tobyotter)

More from Jason Hartman:

The Prospects of Globalization and Importing Deflation
Saving Capitalism from Wall Street

The Jason Hartman Team