First impressions count!! You could have the best kitted out interior, but if the front of the property looks drab and run down, you may not even get the call for that perfect tenant to get through your front door. Give the front of the house a coat of paint – including the front door if you’ve got a rundown looking wooden or composite door. Put any bins out of sight, tidy-up the path to the front door, cut any grass hedges or trees.
Over the years we have seen plenty of wear and tear, especially in high-traffic areas. It is a good idea not to skimp on these areas - good quality laminate is good for entrance hallways and kitchens, bathrooms. Make sure it won’t easily rip or warp. For the rest of the property consider dark, neutral coloured neutral carpets only! While the lighter colour carpets look lovely in the shop, consider how any likely stains are going to look and how easily they’ll clean up. Another good little tip - Good underlay makes cheap carpet feel thicker!
Keep it simple, paint straight onto plaster if you can. Ideally in white, magnolia or very light greys work well too. If you do want to be adventurous with different colours, you could just look at a feature wall to break the plain tones up. It is worth using the same colour and brand in every property. When it comes to bathrooms and kitchens, spend a little more and go for water-resistant eggshell or acrylic paint. It will go a lot further.
At the very least, install a shower. Properties with just a bath are harder to find tenants as most people will prefer a shower. In an ideal world, install a shower over bath so you have all bases covered. In our experience, shower trays tend to leak more than baths too. Whilst you may get good pressure from a shower directly linked to the boiler, an electric shower is not dependent on boiler. Worth considering if the boiler breaks – tenants cant shower. If possible, second bathroom or at least another toilet so if one breaks it’s not an emergency.
Kitchens, along with bathrooms sell properties. We often hear “its only a rental” and kitchens are too expensive to upgrade. It is definitely worth looking into replacing cupboard doors and work surfaces might be enough to make it look new. Avoid integrated appliances, they are difficult to get out if they go wrong and need repair or replacement and are often more expensive to repair/replace too.
Try to get it as maintenance free as possible - Pave over as much as possible, or shingle works well too. If you are doing the garden from scratch, take the time to put down a good weed suppressant. Lawns are very attractive when they are maintained, however most tenants are not so keen to maintain a lawn. If you have the opportunity to create or expand on driveway or parking, don’t hesitate. Your tenants will like it and it may even add value to the property too.
This isn’t always possible, but try and have plenty of plug sockets. It’s not necessarily going to gain you any extra rent, but it makes for comfortable living. More and more gadgets these days need to be charged with USB ports. You can now get sockets with built in USB charging ports. Not essential, but a nice touch.
Hard-wired smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarm in rooms with boiler and as appliances, heat detector in kitchen. Whilst it is not a legal requirement (yet) if you have any doubts - Get an electrical safety check! It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind and your tenants safety.
This would largely depend on the demographic of tenant you are aiming for. For example, if you are aiming for the student market, or younger tenants in perhaps their first or second rental property, the odds are they wont have any furniture and would be grateful for anything that comes with the property. If you have are aiming for the family market in a residential area, chances are they’ve picked up some or all bits of furniture along the way and won’t need any furniture. Remember – the more you put in the more you are then responsible for.
Sometimes, its hard not to, but try not to impose your own taste! Keep it simple. Don’t over-spec it, that will cost you time and money and you may not see the return for it. Rental refurb is very different from a flip, be weary of the longevity of any fixtures and fittings and the ability to change things as tastes and trends change so you can adapt with them easily.