Forget second-hand furniture and dirty accommodation; today tenants have choice and know what they are looking for in a rental property. To attract the most prospective tenants to your rental property it needs to be attractive, stylish and practical.
The need to “invest for success” is never truer than with a rental property. By investing wisely in the decor and fittings you will reduce vacancy times by attracting tenants quickly and retaining them for longer periods.
So, what should you do to your rental property?
Less is more. Avoid fussy decor that is difficult to keep clean or is too delicate to last the course. Choose light and neutral colour schemes to give the feel of increased space. Avoid light tones in carpets as these will quickly show dirt and marks. (Tip: You can often source good quality second-hand carpet from online auctions and your local paper). Whilst you may personally like the latest cutting edge colours and styles, your tenants may not and anything ultra-fashionable now will tend to seem badly out of date before long.
Install durable flooring throughout such as tiles, laminate and vinyl but keep carpets for the bedrooms. Engineered boards make good flooring and are better choice than wood or laminates in conservatories. A hard-wearing carpet is a good investment provided it is properly maintained. Protective spray treatment is worthwhile before the first tenant moves in. An annual professional carpet clean is also a good idea to get maximum life from the carpet. You can stipulate this in the lease that you sign with your tenants, and make it their responsibility – at the very least on moving out.
Keep blinds and curtains simple and avoid complicated mechanisms which could break if your tenants are less than careful. Lined curtains always make curtains look more opulent, and good curtains can really make room look classy. Tenants will be put off by thin, small bedroom curtains that will allow the sun to wake them. If you do decide on curtains, remember to fit nets where privacy is important.
Invest in a good range of simple to use white ware, a dishwasher is considered a ‘must have’ for many tenants and there is nothing surer to put prospective tenants off quicker than a tired looking oven and hobs.
Most tenants are not keen on maintaining the garden, so it should be easy to look after. The use of natives are often low maintenance and while lawn is important to a young family with children, a couple without may prefer decking or pavers with little grass to care for. Know your demographic and keep them in mind, in particular when planning the outdoor area.
Make sure the property has robust doors and good locks on doors and windows. Fit smoke, carbon monoxide and burglar alarms as standard and make sure they are maintained. Alarms should be mains powered to prevent tenants removing batteries or forgetting to replace dead ones and outside security lights are always a good security measure.
A shower is mandatory and a separate shower is ideal. However if space is at a premium go for one over a bath. Make sure that the bathroom is water-tight and easy to clean. Poor maintenance in bathrooms could result in significant repair costs in the future.
Many rental properties are quite compact. So you will help your tenants by providing built-in storage. Try to use awkward spaces and you will find extra storage can be realised for very little cost. However it is a real plus for a tenant with a lot of possessions.
What are some of your tips and trick in attracting tenants to your property?