Whether you’re a portfolio landlord or an accidental one, make sure that before you put your property on the market you’ve made it as pretty as you can and as practical as necessary. A combination of the two is perfect! I was thinking about things to consider before starting a project..........
1. Don’t let your heart rule your head – this is a business – you’re not aiming to make the most individual or exciting décor that YOU love – you’re looking to appeal to the masses – keep it simple and at every step of the way think “is this just my preference, or is this a good business decision?”
2. Think about the type of tenants that you want – this will influence the furnishings that you use – don’t put a white fabric dining suite in a family home set up for young kids. (possibly white fabric dining suites could be a bad choice in any rental setting??!! ) So be practical and also consider the rent that you are hoping to achieve – it may match the apartment and the area, but it needs to match the décor too.
3. Make a blank canvas (OK – I know this is similar to point number 1 but it needs to be stressed!) If you want your property to appeal to as many prospective tenants as possible it needs to have space for them to inject their personality. Stick to neutral colours (white walls are always a winner) and don’t go painting bold feature walls in every room in abstract designs - you’ll only narrow your potential market! If you leave things plain, your tenant can make it their own with wall hangings, rugs and soft furnishings.
4. Many rental properties look gorgeous on first glance, but you’d be surprised how few have enough storage space or practical features – for example, many landlords install a kitchen considering aesthetics and costs, but not practicality. It’s a great selling point to attract tenants by pointing out the pull-out larder cupboard or the luggage storage area – sell them a home, not a hotel room!
5. Obvious, I know, but do make sure that everything that you put in your property, from paint to sofas to electrical goods and mattresses ALL comply with health and safety requirements – don’t take the risk – it’s simply not worth it! Don’t forget to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms where necessary and make good any wobbly fences, banisters or railings to make a completely safe environment – ask yourself “would I be happy for my family to live here?”
6. Keep the manuals for any appliances that you supply and present them in a folder to the tenant, along with keys for the radiators, utility meters etc. If it’s all together in one place, it’s less likely to be lost down the back of an appliance (unless you lose the whole folder and then you’re stuffed!!!)
7. Choose low maintenance items – for example don’t fit a shower curtain that leaves it up to the discretion of the user whether they leave it hanging out the bath or tuck it in (sigh!) - tenants will rarely look after your things the same way that you would, so pick stuff that will stand up to hard and careless wear and tear. Choose floors that are hard wearing – tiles or wood are best and things which are easy to clean are sensible.
There we go - just a few of my thoughts, gleaned from looking after over 500 properties in the London area! I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions - leave me a comment.....