Whether you’ve invested in a buy-to-let property or are planning to rent out your own home for a period of time, it will pay to make your home stand out to prospective tenants. In some parts of the UK, there are lots of choices out there for tenants. In the most part, it only takes a few tweaks to make a home much more rentable – these top tips will help your home stand out.
It may seem obvious, but you need to give your property a deep clean before showing it to prospective tenants. Alongside dusting, polishing and scrubbing, you should steam clean your soft furnishings. You might even consider getting a professional cleaner in to do the job properly.
The ‘Broken Windows’ theory, introduced in the late 60s by psychologist Phillip Zombardo, shows why it is crucial to rent your home in a spotless condition. In summary, the theory says that if a building has a broken window that is not repaired, vandals will break more windows. What does this mean for a landlord? A property that is carefully-maintained will encourage an attitude of respect from its tenant. Tenants will treat the home better than they would treat the identical, but less-well-maintained, house down the road. It therefore pays to ensure it’s ship-shape from the moment they lay eyes on it.
You’ve only got one chance to make a good first impression. A house with good kerb appeal will have a well-presented façade. You may therefore want to make the front of your home look more presentable – keep the front garden in check, get some window boxes filled with flowers and clear the pathway of any weeds. What’s more, ensure your windows are cleaned and any curtains tied back neatly. If possible, move your rubbish bins out of sight, but if they must be on show put their lids on and ensure that they are clean.
A tin of paint doesn’t cost much, and a quick freshen up will make a huge difference. Clear up any scuffs on walls or door frames with a quick lick of paint, to ensure the home feels loved and cared for.
If you’re looking to completely redecorate, keep the home a blank canvass so anyone can imagine living there. While your personal taste might include bright colours and patterns, it will pay to use neutral tones.
Likewise, clear the clutter! The aim here isn’t to show people around your ideal home, it’s to show them a space where they can imagine living. Keeping it simple will maximise its appeal.
To furnish or not to furnish?
In the UK, and unlike in countries such as the Republic of Ireland and Australia, furnished rental properties are much more common than unfurnished ones. Furnished properties command higher rental prices as they are more in demand and therefore tend to be snapped up more quickly. Indeed, as per the ‘Broken Windows’ theory outlined above, a beautifully furnished home is likely to be looked after by the tenant and will minimise wear and tear during the tenancy. However, furniture may sustain damage or ‘wear and tear’ during a tenancy and need replacing. You might want to choose hardwearing furniture for your rental property so it lasts longer.
There is no legal definition as to what constitutes a ‘furnished’ property. However, a ‘standard’ furnished property should include:
- A bed and bedroom furniture such as a wardrobe and chest of drawers;
- Soft furnishings throughout the property like carpets, rugs, curtains and blinds;
- A sofa;
- Kitchen appliances including a fridge, freezer, cooker and washing machine.
Remember that landlords are legally obligated to conform to the legal fire resistant standard – all fabric furniture such as sofas and armchairs must have labels proving that they meet this standard.
Good quality professional photographs of your property are your chance to reel people in. According to realtor.org, 92% of people use the internet as part of their home search. This means that listing appealing photos is a critical factor – if they aren’t sold on the images they see online, chances are they won’t want to view the property.
Price it fairly
Price your home to the market – no more and no less. Do your research, ask your estate agent what other properties in the area are going for and any future market movements they predict.
Care for the garden
If your home has a garden, it will likely be a huge selling point for renters with families. When you have viewers looking around, make sure the garden is tidy. You should trim big trees or bushes back to let light into the home. Indeed, you should also mow any lawns regularly and plant some colourful flowers to make it attractive.
These simple tips will make your property more desirable, and will therefore lead to you finding quality tenants more quickly. The quicker you find those tenants, the more income you will earn. If you make sure the property is in a beautiful condition, tenants will want to keep it that way too. We want to help quality landlords find quality tenants and that way, everyone’s a winner.