Preparing your buy-to-let for your first tenants

Preparing your buy-to-let for your first tenants

Thousands of people around the country have recognised the financial benefits of investing in a buy-to-let, or utilising a property they own to rent out. Whether it’s your first property or your fifth, presentation is incredibly important when putting it out there on the rental market for prospective tenants to see. 

So what are the major do’s and don’ts when it comes to making your rental property attractive and getting it snapped up as soon as possible?

Choose the right flooring

In a rental property, it’s probably best to ditch the carpets where possible and opt for hard flooring. Carpets, as lovely and cosy as they are, can easily become stained, dirty, worn, discoloured and they also trap odours. Hard flooring is easy to clean and maintain and looks chic and smart. Your tenants can always add a few choice rugs to add that cosy feel back in and enjoy the best of both worlds.

Of all the hard flooring options available to you, opt for laminate. It’s affordable and pretty easy to install, so you’ll likely save yourself installation costs too. With a lot of laminate styles you can create the look of wooden flooring, which will never out of style.

Keep Walls White

Your favourite colour might be blue or red, but it’s probably best to refrain from splashing these bright colours all over the walls of your buy-to-let. You don’t know who will be living in your property or what their personal taste would be, so always play it safe with white.

White is the perfect blank canvas and backdrop for any taste or style of decor. It also feels light, bright and airy and gives the illusion of a bigger space – all things that the majority of prospective tenants are going to be looking for and allows them to envision their own belongings within the house.

A functional but low maintenance garden

A garden is a huge plus point in any property. Now more than ever people are viewing gardens as an extension of the home; somewhere to enjoy meals and morning coffees, and to sit out in and read a book. For this reason, it’s a good idea to incorporate a paved or decked area as a living space in a garden. Keep the rest simple.

Avoid filling a garden with bushes and plants. Not everyone is passionate about gardening and the space may end up becoming neglected -and a neglected garden certainly looks less attractive than an empty garden If you are particularly worried about a garden becoming overgrown and uncared for, you could always move the responsibility of upkeep to yourself or a gardener. It’s more work/money for you, but at least you know that you’ll have a presentable garden by the end of any tenancy – and your tenants will probably really appreciate it too.

Invest in bathrooms and kitchen

If you’re going to put your money anywhere in a property, put it into the bathrooms and kitchen. These are the rooms that are difficult to change – and near enough impossible for a tenant to change. This is due to all the fittings and fixtures that cannot be simply swapped out for something more to someone’s taste.

Keep things modern and simple. These are the rooms that really ‘wow’ someone and encourage an offer on a tenancy. If you haven’t got the budget for a kitchen refit, then perhaps just focus on a few easy wins. You could paint any wooden cupboard units to a stylish grey or navy, and swap out cupboard handles for something more updated. You could also install a few top-of-the-range appliances such as an American-style refrigerator or a fancy coffee machine. Jut make sure when providing expensive items to tenants that you compare landlord insurance policies to make sure that you have the appropriate cover. There’s no guaranteeing that someone will look after an item just as you would.

Light it up

Lighting is so important to the way a property feels. Dull, dim lighting will make a property feel uninviting and depressing. Natural lighting in particular is really great for our health and mental wellbeing – and don’t you want your tenants to feel great as soon as they enter your property? Maximise light with large windows and skylights where possible, and strategically placing mirrors to reflect where natural light hits will also have an impact.

Where you can’t add in natural light, focus on artificial lights. Spotlighting works really well in bathrooms and kitchens and creates that nice, new, shiny effect when bouncing off work surfaces. For living areas, think cosy and inviting with warm bulbs and plenty of space for floor lamps. When your tenants settle down for the evening, they want a relaxing atmosphere and it’s difficult to achieve that with harsh lighting, so keep it soft and subtle.

Furnish small properties

A question that every landlord will have to ask themselves is whether to offer a property furnished or unfurnished. It’s usually a good idea to offer something in the middle. A lot of tenants will want to fill a space with their own belongings. Others maybe don’t have much and are living to a budget.

Generally speaking, tenants on a lower budget will be the ones that opt for the smaller properties, so if you have a smaller property or a flat then consider furnishing it with kitchen appliances, a sofa and a bed – and more if you have it. This will really make your property stand out against the competition. Again, make sure that you have the right insurance in place when providing items within your rental, just in case of damage or theft.

 

Kate Dyson

Kate is the Founder of The Motherload, the 'owner' of one husband, two daughters, two cats and one rabbit. She loves wine, loathes exercise and fervently believes in the power of women supporting women. Find me on instagram: @themotherloadhq

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