Do you have a property to let? Whether you are an accidental landlord or a professional landlord, it’s a crowded market out there. Demand for rental properties has been rising sharply over the last 20 years or so, so there is certainly no shortage of tenants. However, there are also thousands of property owners with investment flats and houses to let, which makes for stiff competition to attract the best tenants. In order to turn your rental property into a profitable means of earning an income, it needs to stand out.
Furnishing and presenting your property has a big impact on the quality of tenants you attract. Your choice of interiors can also influence the desirability and perceived value of your rental property, which will affect the amount of rent you can expect to achieve. So, how can you give your target market what they are looking for? Let’s take a look at what you can do to attract style-conscious, house-proud, superior tenants who will appreciate a nice place to live, and look after it with pride.
Opt for a neutral interiors scheme
Interior trends come and go, but unless you are happy to redecorate frequently, a neutral colour palette is your best friend. Choose whites, off-whites, creams or greys in a harmonious palette throughout the property to create a universally pleasing interior scheme that won’t date easily and achieve a property that will look effortlessly and timelessly stylish. Pale neutrals create a soothing backdrop against which your tenants can add their own personal touches to turn your rental property into their home. Not only will going neutral be the cheapest option for you, it is also likely to have the widest tenant appeal – a win-win situation.
Choose hard-wearing flooring
It’s all very well creating an attractive living environment, but rental properties must also be easy to maintain, for your tenants as much as for you. When it comes to flooring, go for a solution that blends style with durability. Carpets should be chosen with colours and designs that will help hide the inevitable stains. Bleach-cleanable polypropylene carpets are a popular choice, although there’s nothing like the feel of a wool carpet to appeal to a discerning audience. Alternatively, laminate flooring can mimic the appearance of more expensive wooden floors but is less costly, more durable, scratch and moisture-resistant, and easy to clean.
Showcase the kitchen
Ask any estate agent and they will tell you that kitchens sell home – and similar thinking applies to rental homes. Some applicants will decide whether or not to rent a property based solely on the quality of the kitchen. A great kitchen should provide a combination of functionality, convenience and style. It may not take much to give an uninspiring kitchen a lift – perhaps a fresh coat of paint on cabinet doors, new worktops, tiles or appliances may be all that’s needed to transform the room from drab to fab. A reasonable budget for a brand new kitchen is around £10k for a medium-sized, medium-range design, and it is easily possible to spend a whole lot more.
Clean and elegant bathroom
It should go without saying that bathrooms and WC must be sparkling clean and fresh in order to meet the expectations of top-quality tenants. Assuming the sanitaryware is modern and in reasonable condition and the general bathroom design is OK, focus on refreshing and deep cleaning all areas. Retiling, regrouting and replacing old silicone around baths and showers is a quick fix solution to get rid of unsightly discolourations. However, if your rental bathroom is showing signs of age, investing in an upgrade may be a wise investment. A new bathroom installation will set you back in the region of somewhere between £5,000-£10,000, depending on the size of the room and the level of luxury you choose. If there’s space, opt for a separate bath and shower, and don’t forget about storage.
Storage, and more storage
When thinking about furnishing a rental property, it’s essential to keep the practical requirements of your target tenant in mind. With space at a premium, particularly in flats and smaller rental properties, storage becomes an important issue. Where possible, provide built-in wardrobes and cupboards in bedrooms and hallways to make the most of every inch of space. There’s no such thing as too much storage! Bathroom cabinets and plentiful kitchen units are also important. If the property has a garage or outdoor space, there’s more scope to provide added storage with racking or an outdoor shed. Clever and considered storage solutions are an excellent way to help your property stand out for all the right reasons.
Quality always wins
When it comes to furnishing your rental property to appeal to top-quality tenants, cutting corners rarely works. Of course, you want to minimise your outgoings wherever possible, but choosing budget options may make it difficult to set a high level of rent. Using high-quality furnishings (and furniture, if you’re offering furnished accommodation) throughout sets the tone for the property. They also tend to be more durable and long-lasting than cheaper alternatives, which may actually save you money in the long run. Whether your rental property is located in a desirable area or a not-so-great location, a quality property will always stand head and shoulders above the rest of the competition.
Don’t forget the finishing touches
Interior design and home styling go hand in hand. Getting the big decisions right is key, but even the best property can be let down by poor styling and presentation. Naturally, this is easier to achieve with furnished accommodation where you can go the extra mile with rugs, soft furnishings and accessories to create a particular ‘look’. But even unfurnished rental accommodation needs to be presented in a thoughtful way. Consider adding style statements with designer lighting and wall mirrors, quality curtain fabrics and flooring to give the impression of a chic décor scheme that makes your property inviting and highly desirable.1