If you are in the fortunate position of having an additional property that can generate income as a rental property, then consider the following hints and tips as a way to reduce costs and maximise your return on investment.
A house, not a home
As a prospective Landlord or Landlady it is important to consider the property as a house and not a home. Creating an emotional bond with the property is not in your best interests. This is business.
There is no point over-investing in a property, or striving for perfection, the most important goal is to make sure the property looks inviting and is fully functional. Appliances, furnishings and fittings need to be practical and functional, no more. In all honesty, it is likely that your prospective tenants are not going to treat the property with the same quality of care as they would their own belongings or property. Spend only what you have to and no more.
Kitchens and bathrooms
Kitchens and bathrooms invariably provide the greatest wow factor in a rental property. A clean, modern functional kitchen (and bathroom) will attract high-quality tenants. Tenants, not unsurprisingly, do not want to be washing in a dirty, dank or mouldy bathroom. Equally, tenants will not want to prepare food and cook in an outdated kitchen. If you are going to upgrade any specific rooms in the property, then the kitchen and bathroom should be the prime targets. Additional, if at some point in the future you intend to sell your property, a newly updated kitchen or bathroom will usually provide the greatest return on your investment.
“It is not always necessary to overhaul entire rooms to revamp a property.
Always opt to clean before replacing or repainting.”
Carpets and walls
Professional carpet cleaning is well worth it. Carpets can be expensive to replace so take care of them when the opportunity allows – between tenancies. A professional carpet cleaner can often make even the dirtiest of carpets look revitalised, and will only charge a fraction of the cost of a new carpet. Clean, fresh carpets will definitely add value to the overall quality of the property.
Walls can get grubby particularly adjacent to light switches, door frames and frequent use areas – hallways, kitchens. A diluted solution of sugar soap will often remove most stains and grubby marks.
If any walls need painting use a neutral, light-colour palette that will be acceptable to most potential tenants. Freshly decorated rooms will always have a positive impact.
Clean and repair before replacement
Perform a thorough cleaning at the start/end of every tenancy. If you don’t know how to, or don’t want to clean, pay for a professional service. It is important. Get it done.
It is not always necessary to overhaul entire rooms to revamp a property. Always opt to clean before replacing or repainting. Often, minor fixture replacements – light fixtures, curtains/blinds, soft furnishings etc. will help improve the look and feel of the property.
The first thing that any prospective tenant will see is the outside of the property. This will undoubtedly create a strong first impression. The exterior of the property needs to look clean and cared for. Having window frames, gutters and soffits cleaned can enhance the overall appearance.
If the property has a front garden, make sure the lawn is regularly cut and any flower beds are suitably cared for. Shrubs and plants can be beneficial but ensure that they are not overgrown and unkempt. Well-maintained potted plants by the front door can provide enhanced ‘kerb appeal’. Ensure that all paths and paving are safe, secure and hazard-free and that any gates open and shut easily. Boundary fences or hedges should be well maintained.
If the property features a back garden or yard, ensure that this can be easily maintained and looked after by the tenant – it might be worth considering employing a local gardener for these duties if the appearance of the garden is highly valued.
The whole property
Simple things but no less important. Ensure that all the doors and door handles in the property open, close, latch (and lock if necessary) as they should. The same applies with any opening/closing and locking windows. Ensure all light fittings and switches are working, and replace any dead light bulbs. Ensure all 240v mains sockets are working and are safe. It’s important that carbon monoxide alarms are installed in the appropriate place and are checked annually as part of your gas safety checks. Appliances such as fridges, dishwashers, ovens, washing machines should all be in a reliable, fully-functioning condition. To the best of your ability ensure the property is safe and secure.
Finally, be rational and methodical when reviewing the entire property. With due care and attention your rental property will provide your tenants with a home they can be happy in and take pride in while they are in residence.
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