5 Tips For Decorating Your Property To Let
It’s the beginning of a new year, and whether you have made the decision to go into the letting business for the first time or have decided to turn your property into a source of passive income, getting the decor and finishings right from the start will help to attract the right tenants, command a good rent and keep the property in the best possible condition. So what is the best advice if you are planning to spruce up a house or flat ready to let?
1. Keep paint neutral
Remember, whilst the rental property belongs to you, your tenants are looking for a home to make their own. Unfurnished lets are the most common in the UK, meaning that most people will have their own furniture and decorations or will plan on buying to fit their style. They will likely wish to compliment this with their own artwork and pictures. Unless you are dealing with first time tenants who have not previously had a property of their own, viewers will no doubt be trying to imagine how their current possessions will look in the new space. Given that moving house is already a costly business, most tenants will be keen to avoid any additional costs, for example from needing to change their curtains, bedding, etc., for another colour. Strong or awkward colour schemes that dictate what will work should be avoided. By opting for neutral colours throughout, you will likely have a more positive response from tenants and therefore see your property occupied sooner and at the right rent. It is no coincidence that many landlords choose magnolia as the principle colour.
2. Keep paint easy to maintain
Hand in hand with choosing the right colours for your future occupants is keeping the property easy to maintain from a decor point of view. Whilst an entirely white painted property will certainly look light and airy and may well appear bigger than it is, it is a colour best avoided as far as painted walls go. White painted walls will always be a struggle to maintain, and may put off prospective tenants due to fears over issues with their deposit later on. Indeed, case studies available from one of the UK’s deposit holding schemes indicates that a choice of ‘impractical colours’ such as white in a rental property would be hard to uphold should a claim against a deposit arise. Once again, a more durable colour such as magnolia, which is readily available at a reasonable price, is often a much more favourable choice for both parties.
3. Choose carpets with care
It is very common to see rental properties fitted with the same carpet over an entire floor level. Whilst this may well keep costs to a minimum as far as initial outlay is concerned, it may not benefit in the longer term. Firstly, pay particular attention to areas of high footfall such as the entrance hall, hallway and stairs. These areas are likely to see a greater level of wear compared to living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms and over time this may become obvious – and this could become a point of dispute when your tenants choose to end the tenancy. It is often better to choose a more appropriate, harder wearing carpet for these areas. A darker colour will also help to increase the lifespan of the carpet in high footfall areas and protect against natural discolouration from use. Again, prospective tenants may be put off it the carpet looks too plush or is too light as they will be conscious of the effort required to preserve it. If you have a combined living and dining area, give careful consideration to the food factor too.
4. Use standard fixtures and fittings
If a property is lived in for a continuous period of time, then it is inevitable that fittings and fixtures will from time to time fail or get accidentally damaged. When it comes to items such as cupboard door handles, door handles, curtain rails and taps, it is a much safer option to go for fairly standard options that are hard wearing and easy to obtain spares or replacements for. This will give tenants greater peace of mind and also make sure you are not left with mis-matched components should there be a need to have a replacement fitted. Of course, you may wish to advise your tenants to take out insurance against such damage, however this alone will not resolve the problem of ensuring that matching parts can be found should they be needed.
5. Keep records
If you are planning to let the property as an investment, then the chances are you’ll keep records of your expenditure for tax purposes. However, you should also keep records specifically for the tenancy. In order to avoid disagreements over the deposit, make sure you have a record of exactly what was purchased and when. In particular, make a note of the paint brand, type and colour. You can then provide the tenant with this information should they want to touch up the paintwork prior to leaving, and you can also protect yourself should a deposit dispute arise. The same is true of carpets. As well as noting these details, keep a photographic or video record of the interior prior to the tenants moving in and get them to sign off, as you will then have irrefutable evidence of the property’s condition at the start of the tenancy, including the standard of the original paintwork. The condition of the decor should also be recorded as part of the inventory. If the paint and carpets are completely new or, for example, just six months old, then make sure this is recorded and the tenant has a copy.
By following these simple tips, you will be able to ensure that your property is well presented and attractive to the greatest number of potential tenants, get it let quickly, keep it in good condition and ensure that both parties can enjoy a smooth conclusion to the tenancy.
To find out more about letting your property with one of Shrewsbury’s leading estate agents, call us today on 01743 248351.