How to best prepare your property for the rental market?
Times have changed and certainly tenant’s expectations have risen. Slapping on some magnolia paint and laying down some cheap floor boards is no longer the way forward.
Over the past few years there have been many changes in the lettings market from Brexit to landlord tax relief to tenant fee ban to landlord licencing to energy efficient regulations changes and the list goes on.
For buy-to-let landlords it is imperative to find ways of justifying a rent increase and minimising void periods between tenancies.
Tenants are now staying in rented accommodation longer than ever as the cost of moving has increased significantly and buying a property seems like it will never happen. As a result, tenants are demanding better quality accommodation. The majority of tenants are looking for a home rather than short stay accommodation and are willing to pay a higher price for this.
So, with the above said, what should landlords do to benefit from this change in trend?
Be creative and inspirational
Magnolia and laminate flooring is so old school. Take time out to be a more creative with colour as it can make a huge difference to your property. Depending on the level of natural light your property gets, you should select colours carefully. Smaller spaces would benefit from lighter colours as this creates a sense of better space. If your room is a good size, you can be selective of whether you have darker or lighter colours. However, with the colour you choose you should create a theme and make sure goes hand in hand with furnishings, window coverings, cushions, bedding and so on.
Carpet or wooden flooring?
Most tenants prefer wooden flooring as it is easier to clean and for some, a must, when they are allergic to dust.
If you choose to install wooden flooring, then you will need to choose whether you want to install wide planks or narrow. Wide planks can offer a sense of spaciousness to a small or average room. Remember, narrow planks will take longer to install so you need to factor in the labour cost.
If you decide on carpet, then it would be ideal to make sure this is steam cleaned at the end of each tenancy and a receipt shown to prospective tenants, so you do not put them off.
Furnished or unfurnished?
Over recent years we’ve seen an increase in the number of tenants seeking an unfurnished property although still not enough to top the demand for a furnished property. Usually tenants who want longer term tenancies prefer to bring their own furniture so if you’ve decided to offer your property to rent unfurnished, you may attract longer term tenants. If you will be offering your property furnished, then ensure to make it fit in. Make the furniture feel part of the home and not just a random sofa in the corner or a coffee table which makes you want to use it as a foot stool.
Furnishings don’t necessarily have to be expensive, but they need to be of good quality so that it lasts longer and makes tenants feel at home. Remember furniture needs to comply with the Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2010.
It is often that landlords look after the property internally and the exterior gets neglected. There can be many reasons for this such as share of freehold, communal areas are someone else’s responsibility or maybe you don’t feel it matters. Here we need to go back to the point of making the property feel like a home for tenants which starts from the front door.
It is vital to have lawn mown, guttering cleared, windows cleaned, fencing erected properly, communal areas vacuumed and tidy, bin areas to be adequate for the rubbish and bikes to be stored without obstructing.
If the exterior or communal area is not your sole or direct responsibility, it would be wise to get hold of the person or company that is responsible and persuade them to get things sorted.
Photography or Protography?
We live in a day and age where most people start searches for pretty much anything online so it’s worth remembering that property is no different. Over 95% of tenants start their property search online with websites such as Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location.
Now that you’ve spent loads of time, money and effort in presenting your property in its best form, it is important to understand that housing is a crowded market so it’s time to stand out.
You’ve heard the phrase ‘first impression is the last impression’. A typical tenants online search criterion consists of entering the desired area, number of bedrooms and a price range. Once this is entered, tenants are displayed with multiple properties that fall under the criteria. This is where professional photography makes its first difference. Why not try it for yourself? Enter a search criteria in Rightmove or Zoopla and see which listings make you look twice, more than likely the ones with professional photos.
The other benefit of professional photos is that it does more justice to a room size and perspective than a point-and-click camera can do. Professional photographers will be able to create the correct perspective, move furniture around to create space or at least a feel for space, show more of the room in one shot and highlight the best features of the property whether it’s the stunning fireplace, the funky lighting or the cool kitchen tap.
Taking all the above into consideration there is no doubt that your property will beat the competition, you’ll have more tenant enquiries which result in more offers and give you the chance of being selective of tenants that suit you. You can demand higher rent than your neighbours because your property offers more and with increased enquiries you can minimise your void periods.
Netlett can help you market your property anywhere in the United Kingdom. We offer various letting services and additional products to help private landlords stay compliant and enhance your property exposure. For more details on these our letting services and additional products, please click here or call our dedicated ARLA qualified staff on 0330 122 9775.LET NOW