Rental Properties Turned Home, Sweet, Home

by Kelley Rowland

A source of comfort, instead of income

No matter how high-quality materials are in a home, they can be damaged accidentally or worn down over time. This is especially true in rental properties, where tenants move in and out year after year. These homeowners (some who bought apartments as investments and another who bought a converted rental as her own) decided to update their former leasing properties to live in themselves. To take care of the wear and tear and to suit their needs and style, they turned to Sweeten, a free service matching renovators with vetted general contractors.

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Sherry’s family purchased an apartment in Midtown East, Manhattan, as a rental property in 2008. Ten years later, after graduating college, she was ready to move in and make the apartment her new adobe. It hadn’t been renovated since the ‘80s and had suffered extensive water damage from a previous tenant, but the apartment had good bones (and space!). Her remodel involved replacing the flooring in every room and completely updating the kitchen and bathrooms to reflect her modern sensibility.

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New York City’s housing stock is full of prewar apartment with ornate features. When Emily moved to the city, she was in search of just that: a charming apartment with original details. Her six-month search ended with the purchase of a 1940s studio apartment that had long been used as a rental property—and hardly had a trace of its historical roots. She worked with her Sweeten general contractor to restore the apartment to its former glory, installing crown molding and paneling throughout.

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Ying and her parents’ Upper East Side apartment had seen many lives. Originally purchased as an investment, the owners and renters had lived in the apartment intermittently. After the family hit their co-op’s rental limit,  they decided to reimagine the space as a second home, or pied-a-terre. The renovation included new flooring, paint, lighting, custom built-ins, and an overhauled bathroom.

convert a rental into primary residence

After renting out their Manhattan property for over a decade, JoAnn and Brian were ready to call the urban residence their permanent home. Since they were leaving behind a six-bedroom house in New Jersey for a one-bedroom, they needed to make the space as efficient as possible. That meant an emphasis on storage in the main living areas, in addition to in their bedroom. The kitchen and bathroom had also seen better days, so the couple completely redid the two spaces while sticking to the original layout.


Renovating a rental property isn’t so different from renovating your own home.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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