Decorating a property for private rental is a fun, but tricky job. Here we look at things to consider when you take on this challenge.
Private rentals are on the rise, and statistics show that the amount of properties privately rented is only set to keep growing. It is a win win situation for those involved, with those renting able to live in a nice home for an affordable monthly price, until they choose or are able to buy a property. Those who rent the property out, are able to make a monthly income and maintain their property investment long term.
If you’re looking to rent out a property, it is certainly a great time to be doing so as properties in popular areas can have 10, 20 or more people competing to be accepted as a tenant. Although, the more properties that come on the market to rent, the more competition there will be so, landlords definitely need to look to make a big effort to ensure their property is high quality enough to compete with nearby properties. The way your house is decorated, laid out and designed will have a massive effect on how rentable your property is.
Your ability to make a property look fantastic for tenants starts when you purchase the property. This part can be really exciting because, it is a lot of fun choosing a house. However, it is so important to remember it is a business decision, not a personal decision and so you have to look beyond pretty windows or a snazzy kitchen. You have to look at what the property has to offer tenants, and what you will need to do to make the property highly attractive for tenants. Take the following things into consideration when looking for a property to buy with renting out in mind:
Forget what you like in your own home, which colours are you favourite and what kind of layout you prefer to live in. You need to choose a property that can tick all the boxes for the current rental market.
Locations near schools or excellent roads or stations for commuting, are great options for rental properties. People always want to live in areas within a good distance of work or schools, and so buying a property in a good location will ensure demand.
Space always matters, and people value it highly. So properties with a lot of space in them, are going to be more popular than smaller properties. This is especially true if your ideal tenants are families.
Knowing whether to buy a new or old property is tricky, because people are looking for long term lets and may well want a property that has some character to it. However, new builds are often a guaranteed let with young professionals. More people than ever are looking to live in a property like what they would choose if they could afford to buy their own house, so lots of factors come into play when you consider your potential tenants. You should also think about what a new or old property means for you as a landlord. New properties cost less to maintain and the energy bills will be lower. Young families tend to favour new properties, whereas properties that are older attract tenants further towards middle age. With all tenants, there is something desirable about character properties such as big fireplaces, wooden beams and other details. These details could be what makes the property more desirable than others.
You really need to see what the potential is in the property. You have the ability to change everything and a coat of paint can create a dramatic visual change to any property. You should consider the condition of certain things like kitchens and bathrooms simply because replacing them is expensive. Also, flooring like wood floors or damaged carpets could also be expensive to replace or repair.
You might think a big beautiful landscaped garden is desirable for tenants, but it could actually be a bit of a nightmare for you and them. Big gardens with lots of plants mean lots of maintenance which is never a good thing.
Congratulations you have a new property to rent out! Now, it is time to get a move on and get that property decorated, because as of now, time wasted decorating is money you could be getting for rent. That being said, a bad, rushed, decorating job won’t guarantee you a tenant. So it is good to get a plan in place and execute the plan as quickly as you can so you get great results, as quickly as possible.
So, what do you do first?
Step one is going to be any major work that you want to get done on the property. This could be getting a new kitchen, getting a new boiler, fixing walls, structural repairs etc. Anything that is a big renovation needs sorting out before you look to decorate.
Now you know exactly what space you are working with you need to do research. Lots and lots of research. Look at local properties with a let agreed (use this option to search on property sites), and look at how they are decorated. Take notes on decoration themes with the best properties. More often than not, letting a property out long term has very different decorating standards to letting something out short term. For example; an Airbnb let can be quirky, unusual and exciting because people accept and actively pay more for a novelty when they go on holiday. However, long term lets for everyday life don’t really call for novelty. People tend to want practical, neutral and modern. Something easy to maintain and to make their own. Researching at this early stage is extremely important.
At this stage you will need to decide whether or not to furnish the property so you can plan the decorating accordingly. Both options have their benefits. Furnished properties mean that a tenant can move straight in without having to buy new furniture. However, unfurnished properties mean tenants with their own furniture don’t have to worry about where they will put it, and they can put their own stamp on the way the property looks.
The garden of the property you have purchased will be a consideration for tenants, because they have to maintain it. When you are preparing your property for rental, the garden should be something you think carefully about. Is it safe? Could you make it safer? Is it easily managed? Could you make it more manageable? Is it private? Could you make it more private? Could you add storage for garden equipment? Do you need to do that? All of these considerations will help you and your tenants benefit from a well maintained, safe and attractive garden.
Now you have done all your research and renovations, it is time to decorate! Here are some considerations to make when it comes to decorating your rental property:
Flooring can be one of two things. You can either buy cheap but practical flooring that doesn’t cost much to replace, or you can buy flooring that is high quality that lasts a long time. As floor tiles and expensive carpets look beautiful, they are likely to attract a higher quality of tenant who want to look after the property. However, with lower quality flooring you get the benefit of cheap replacement should it get damaged. With colour schemes, always opt for simple, natural colouring when it comes to flooring like floor tiles and carpets. You should also aim for the most durable, stain-proof flooring as well.
If you have opted to furnish the place, don’t make the mistake of furnishing it with your old castoffs to save money, people won’t want to use that furniture. Go for comfort and practicality, and don’t overcrowd the place with furniture, otherwise you will clutter all that beautiful space. The pieces don’t have to be antiques of course, and nor should they be easily breakable pieces. Go for good quality, simple and modern furniture that can be incorporated into any design scheme.
Throughout the property, neutral colour schemes should be used. There is no other option if you want to give tenants a blank canvas. Don’t be tempted to try and be ‘funky’ or ‘jazzy’ with your decorating, this just isn’t the right project for your creativity. This doesn’t have to mean light colours and tones, although that is usually the preferred look.
For practicalities sake, opt for easy clean wall tiles and grout, and a satin finish if you are using paint.
Wall tiles and floor tiles are preferable over painting and carpets. That is because they are less likely to become damaged or mouldy in rooms prone to being damp. Although light is always best, if you have the space and the design to use dark floor tiles or wall tiles and dark grout, then do so as dirt or mould won’t show up on those as much as they will on lighter coloured tiles.
You should absolutely avoid cheap fittings at all costs. They don’t look good, they break easily and they will bring down the overall quality and feel of your property.
You may well be handy, or even qualified in certain renovation and decorating jobs. If this is the case you should absolutely save money and complete jobs yourself. However, if you aren’t experienced in this way, then don’t try and save money watching Youtube videos and doing the job yourself. It just isn’t worth the time, effort and potential for making parts of the house dangerous, or making them look badly decorated.
Now you have decorated your house, then all that is left to do is to take photos and rent it out right?
You need to treat letting your property out like selling your home. You need to dress the property to make it look as beautiful and appealing to tenants as possible. Consider doing the following for photos and viewings:
Kitchens and bathrooms need to be cleaned within an inch of their life. There should be no sticky cupboard or limescale tap. Everything needs to be 100% spotless because a grubby room will put off potential tenants. It might be worth keeping a box of cleaning products in the property to use between viewings.
Have a box of ‘tricks’ for staging the property that you can remove after photos and viewings. Things like some good looking candles, vases with some simple fresh flowers, a simple table set, a duvet and sheets for the bed and cushions for the sofa (if you have furnished the property). Anything you can think of that makes the property look more inviting and don’t forget that smell counts too, so don’t be afraid to pop a few diffusers around to enhance the sense of home you want potential tenants to be drawn to.
Your property may get lots of viewings. In which case you need to go to the property regularly to ensure it is at a good standard consistently. It only takes a week of sunshine and rain to take a well trimmed lawn in summer over the edge to overgrown. Someone may have trodden a bit of mud in, or someone may have smeared a wall. Go in regularly to freshen and maintain the place.
Your rental property is an investment, and the right decorations will ensure you get the most out of this investment because they will help you get the most rent for it that you possibly can. Remember to research, plan and maintain in order to keep your rental property attractive to potential tenants.