How to Decorate Property for Rent
It’s no secret that buy-to-let property is an amazing investment. It’s not quite as simple as buying a property, finding a tenant and kicking back to count your money, though. To attract – and, more importantly, maintain – a tenancy, you’ll need to do some decorating.
This is a different approach to decorating your own home. Your name may be on the property deed, but you will not be living in the accommodation. This means that you’ll need to approach the beautification process accordingly. Here are some tips on decorating a property ahead of putting it on the rental market.
Be Tasteful without Breaking the Bank
First thing’s first – resist the temptation to go too lavish when you decorate a property for rental. You are not looking to impress a potential buyer, after all. You’re trying to the property appear suitably cosy and appealing for tenants to live in.
The fact is, not everybody is comfortable with largesse. You may think that a chandelier hanging from a ceiling looks decadent. To your tenant, it may just seem gaudy. This will not inspire them to stick around, and you’ve wasted your money.
Perhaps more importantly, remember that tenants invariably come and go. If you’re a good landlord, and your tenants are respectful and pay their rent on time, you’ll likely enjoy a long and fruitful relationship. Things change though, and no rental agreement lasts forever.
Anything you pay for now will likely need to be maintained, fixed or replaced between tenancies. You may be able to claw back some of these expenses through a security deposit if the tenant wilfully caused damage. It’s unfair – and illegal – to financially penalise tenants for general wear and tear through age, though. Before making any purchase, ask yourself if you’ll be happy laying out the same sum for a replacement in a year or two.
Perhaps the most important rule of all is neutrality, especially when it comes to walls. Maybe you love lime green or bright orange. All power to you. Feel free to paint a feature wall in your own home with such a shade. For tenants, though, these bold, brassy statements are likelier to deter interest than attract it.
If you’re looking for something more interesting than white, opt for magnolia. It’s not exciting, and some people will turn their nose and say that this colour looks dated, but it’s broadly inoffensive enough to avoid sending viewers running for the hills.
Just as important as the colour of your paint is the finish. Opt for a silk finish paint rather than matte. This means that you’ll be able to give the walls a wipe-clean between tenancies – potentially negating the need to repaint everything from scratch. It’s also worth spending a little more and picking up durable paint. The presence of latex or acrylic will offer a welcome additional layer of protection.
Here’s another top tip – keep a spare tin of paint within the property and let your tenants know. They may be inclined to apply a fresh lick of paint themselves to make their accommodation feel fresher.
On paper, renting a property furnished is doing your tenants a favour. After all, it potentially saves them money in terms of purchasing their own furniture and moving it in (even though Van Man York offers very reasonable rates to do so!)
In reality, however, most tenants will not want to rent furnished properties. Firstly, they likely have furniture from a previous home. They will not want to pay a small fortune to a storage unit to host it when it could be used, and equally, will not want to sell it or give it away. After all, they may need it again in six months.
Perhaps more importantly, using somebody else’s furniture may deter tenants. They will feel self-conscious about potential damage and may even find it uncomfortable to sit or sleep on. It’s best to offer a clean slate when making a property available for rent – or, at the very least, offering to remove any pre-existing furniture.
Avoid Carpets if Possible
Carpeted floors vs. hardwood is an eternal debate, based on personal preference. When it comes to a rental property, however, hardwood should always be considered. You’ll save yourself a lot of labour in the longer term – and some tenants may be grateful to avoid pushing a hoover around constantly!
Carpet needs to be maintained constantly. As the property owner, it will be your responsibility to replace the carpet that has been worn out through use. Make no mistake too, you will need to replace the carpet if this is the case. Nothing deters potential tenants more than ratty, worn-out flooring. It gives the impression, whether fair or not, that the landlord is not interested in the upkeep of the property.
Carpet is also the embodiment of the, “buy cheap, pay twice” philosophy. Cheap carpet will erode in no time, especially if it has been industrially cleaned. Spillages are inevitable in a home, especially if the tenants have children. You cannot constantly penalise them for such accidents. If you’re going to lay carpet, be prepared to spend an appropriate amount –accepting that it may still need to be replaced between leases.
Don’t Ignore the Bathroom or Kitchen
Finally, an all-too-common-mistake is ignoring the decoration and maintenance of kitchens and bathrooms. Indeed, many tenants will initially have other concerns. When reviewing listings for rental properties online, most people are initially concerned with the size and condition of living rooms and bedrooms.
Once the day of a viewing arrives, however, the state of a kitchen or bathroom can make or break a decision to take out a lease. Black mould, for example, is the scourge of countless homes. Inappropriately decorated rooms that use the wrong paint, or do not feature extractor fans, can attract condensation. This will quickly give a potential tenant the heebie-jeebies.
Take the time to refresh a kitchen and bathroom, applying flesh licks of paint and grouting all tiles. If you do have issues with mould, use an anti-fungal treatment – or better yet, resolve it before renting out the home. No tenant should pay to live in those conditions. If you keep these rooms looking spick and span, however, you’ll have tenants falling over themselves to register their interest in your property.