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PREPARING YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY

If you want to let you property, you need to remember that appearances are paramount. With many years experience in successfully marketing properties, we know what works. Here are our top tips on presenting your home.

First impressions

Good presentation maximises the desirability and value of your property. That is why Royston & Lund take great pride in ensuring your property is presented in the best possible light.

Decoration

Strong colours and patterns are not to everyone’s taste. They tend to date quickly and are hard to repair. Therefore we recommend that most properties should have neutral light decoration. We also recommend that spare paint is kept in the property clearly labelled per room to ensure any minor repairs match as well as possible.

Floors in living areas should be plain, un-patterned, neutral colour hard wearing carpets or laminate wood style floors. Ceramic or stone tiled floors are excellent as they are unlikely to get damaged, although these are obviously more expensive. Try to keep to the same colour carpets throughout the property. In bathrooms and kitchens keep the neutral plain, un-patterned theme.

Kitchen and bathroom fittings should be clean, fresh, bright, matching and modern.

Should I offer my property furnished or unfurnished?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, however there is a strong preference in the Rushcliffe area with tenants opting for unfurnished with white goods.

From a landlords perspective furnished properties can cost more, due to higher maintenance and repairs, although rents can be slightly higher.

As an unfurnished property Royston & Lund and potential tenants would to expect to see:-

Curtains/blinds, carpets, light fittings and shades, white goods and a working digital tv aerial.

There are some important things to bear in mind:

The landlord has a duty to ensure that everything included in the property is in safe working order and to replace or repair anything that fails to work, unless of course it has been damaged by the tenant.

We advise that any item of high or sentimental value should not be included in the property. Most tenants look after things, but things still get damaged by mistake. If it is damaged, and no amount of money can compensate for the loss of something with treasured memories attached.

Should I offer my property furnished or unfurnished?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, however there is a strong preference in the Rushcliffe area with tenants opting for unfurnished with white goods.
From a landlords perspective furnished properties can cost more, due to higher maintenance and repairs, although rents can be slightly higher.
As an unfurnished property Royston & Lund and potential tenants would to expect to see:- Curtains/blinds, carpets, light fittings and shades, white goods and a working digital tv aerial.

What are tenants looking for in a property?

Your property needs to appeal to a wide range of people. You want to attract potential tenants, both for the first tenancy and any subsequent tenancies. There are some things that most of us want e.g. a home which looks good and is nice to live in. Unsurprisingly tenants want the same. Generally that means you should have:

  •   Clean, fresh, bright modern kitchen in good condition with matching units and worktop.
  •   Appliances which match and look in good condition
  •   Clean, fresh, bright modern bathroom(s), with good shower(s)
  •   Central heating system which is cheap to run, ideally gas fired boiler with radiators
  •   Space for a large TV
  •   Gardens to be in good condition at the start of the tenancy and for these to be very much as
  •   low maintenance as possible

Whilst these are reasonably standard, the question of décor is one of personal taste. What I thought was a lovely feature wall in my house 15 years ago, would now be a major deterrent to potential tenants! Therefore neutral and plain should be the theme as per our recommendations above under our heading Decoration.

It is important to remember that the quality of rental properties has improved over the last few years. Your potential tenants often have a good choice. A better looking, well maintained modern property will compete well against the other properties being marketed, giving you a better selection of tenants, resulting in shorter void periods.

How can I reduce maintenance costs?

There are a number of things to bear in mind when preparing your property which will save money in the longer term. Some will not cost anything more, others will involve some expenditure, or are only practical to do as part of a larger project.

Keep things simple, as things may need replacing. E.g. slim line fridges cost more than standard size, so it is more cost effective to allow space for a standard size fridge

Avoid including things which are rare, special or premium priced. That does not mean the contents have to be poor quality, poor condition or ugly!

Use standard paint from a reputable brand, and keep some spare. Touching up scuff marks between tenants is so much easier if you have paint which matches. Every manufacturer makes a magnolia colour paint, most of which are significantly different from each other. Also cheaper paints do not tend to last as long or clean as well, meaning you need to repaint more often.

Use carpet from a known supplier, so if you need to replace the carpet in a room it will match the rest of the property

Ensure the property can be well ventilated. Damage from mould caused by condensation can be expensive to repair. Whilst tenants are generally responsible, making it easy for them to manage any condensation means they may stay longer in your property. Also you may not always be able to recover the full cost of damage from the tenant. Therefore:

Fit a high powered extractor fan in the bathroom with a humidistat (i.e. the fan runs as long as there is humidity)

Fit an extractor fan over the kitchen hob – this needs to extract to outside the property, not just filter and recirculate the air

Ensure windows have trickle vents or can be secure when open slightly

Have good central heating to avoid cold spots

If you have a hot water tank ensure it has a functioning immersion heater. This is a good contingency if the boiler can’t heat the hot water, allowing time to get a cost effective boiler repair and reducing expensive out of hours emergency call outs

Ensure all seals around baths, showers and sinks are in good condition. Water creeping though a gap can cause damage, resealing in advance will always be cheaper than the repair. If the bath or shower tray has any movement then the seal will break quickly, so get the bath or shower secured

Make loose stuff secure! A loose door handle or kitchen drawer will probably break, usually costing more to repair than to simply tighten up

If you are fitting curtains, try to use washable material, so they can be easily cleaned between tenants. Dry cleaning is expensive

When using recessed spotlights either avoid those with transformers, or make the transformers easily accessible. Transformers die regularly. They are cheap to buy, but making a hole in a ceiling to get to the transformer can be expensive

Fit isolation valves to all water outlets, so a tap can be changed quickly if needed. Make sure isolation valves are accessible. If they are inside box work then ensure there is a removable access panel

Consider replacing your boiler if it is over 10 years old and has failed more than twice. The expected lifespan of modern boilers is 10-12 years. We find when multiple repairs start to happen, they tend to continue. The boiler will need replacing sooner or later.

It is cheaper to replace it than replace it after meeting multiple repair costs.