Firstly, if you want to attract a high calibre tenant, you should decorate to a high standard. These days, most landlords appreciate that a good quality rental property will not only attract the best types.
Having found the ideal buy to let investment, which is affordable, located close to shops and station, with good sized bedrooms and in reasonably good overall condition, you now need to make sure it stands out from the crowd, especially if competition is high in your marketplace of tenant, but also return a higher rental and result in less investment throughout the tenancy and during void periods; furthermore reducing the length of a void period, between tenancies.
So who are your target audience? Are you seeking to attract single professional individuals, or perhaps a family? If your local council has not placed restrictions in place and/or you are already permitted to do so, then perhaps professional sharers are the best option for you? Once you establish which type of tenant you are going to target, you can finalise the budget and works schedule.
Keep it neutral – The “play safe” route and one that will attract a wider audience over opting for strong colours some may be put off by. Warm yellows, soft greys and light beiges work well, and when it comes to the woodwork, stick with white.
Durability is important – It may well cost a little more to start with; however making sure the décor is both practical and durable will pay off in the long run so factor in the quality of the materials chosen for the job.
A good quality laminate floor covering is more durable and easier to keep clean than carpet, and will also appeal to those with certain allergies. If you do choose carpet, and especially in high-traffic areas such as hallways and on the stairs, opt for a thick and durable carpet. These types of carpet will come up better when professionally cleaned. An alternative option to consider is the cheaper felt-backed polypropylene carpets, which are bleach cleanable and less costly to maintain.
Keep it clean – Nothing puts off a tenant more than grubbiness, so consider re-grouting, assess the kitchen and bathroom fittings and if you opt to replace any of these, avoid the bargain bucket range as this will likely prove to be a false economy in the long run. Make sure the inside of the fridge and oven, are spotless, and if the toilet seat looks anything but in pristine condition, buy a new one.
Here are some general decorating and renovation tips for landlords:
1 – To ensure that all important high-quality finish, use a qualified, tried and tested decorator, who understands and uses quality materials.
2 – If you are competent and therefore decide to decorate yourself, don’t spend too long doing it. Time is money and a few hours after work and back again at weekends, might take you longer than first expected, and end up losing you more money than you were trying to save in the first place.
3 – Factor in black spot mould, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Best use anti-mould emulsion in these areas to minimise the risk.
4 – Wallpaper is prone to peeling and can stain easily, so consider painted walls or do your homework before buying the wallpaper.
5 – Satin paint is easier to wipe clean than gloss.
6 – Wooden and laminate worktops will deteriorate, so look into composite stone, which is stain and heat resistant.
7 – When it comes to the bathroom choose laminate or tiles, never choose carpet – it will be a less hygienic option and more difficult to clean.
8 – Don’t waste money on an old boiler, you might find it becomes a little like “triggers broom”, costing you a shed load of money, as well as annoying your tenants if they are left without heating and hot water on a regular basis. When investing in a new boiler, buy the best you can afford.
9 – Fitted wardrobes provide valuable storage space and if constructed properly will last the test of time; certainly much longer than the commonly available budget range flat pack products, where broken drawer runners, thin drawer bases and lightweight hinges usually cause problems after 1-2 years of use.
10 – A low maintenance garden will be easier for the tenants to maintain and keep tidy, so if you buy a property with an overgrown garden, consider redesigning the layout or employing a gardener, which can be reflected in the rent (or something you agree to split 50/50 with your tenants, for a pre-costed season maintenance program with a local gardener)