The current state of the property market has forced many people into rented properties, making buy-to-let a potentially profitable endeavour for property investors, even with rising house prices.
However, this is a highly competitive field, so you need to do everything you can to give yourself an edge, such as tastefully furnishing your property. Of course, you could leave the property unfurnished and save on costs, but depending on what kind of clientele you're looking to attract, this could backfire. For example, if you're renting out property in a central business area, a furnished apartment can be a huge advantage. Many professionals, whether they're travelling or locally-based, will want to avoid the hassle of looking for and buying, or moving existing furniture.
Cut costs and get your furnishings right
That being said, furnishing a buy-to-let property can certainly be pricey. This is why it's important to keep in mind the kind of tenant you're catering to. You'll need to take into account how much rent you can charge in the area, and by extension whether the rental income will be enough for you to make back what you've spent on furnishings in due course.
The Landlord suggests that you take special care to keep all invoices related to what you've spent on furnishings, as they can be claimed against tax on your rental income.
Here are some key points to remember when furnishing a buy-to-let property:
1) Keep the tenant in mind
Don't allow your personal taste to influence the design and décor. You should provide a blank slate so tenants have the option of applying their own touch if they wish. Keeping the tenant in mind is also important in terms of the demographic you're catering to.
If you're hoping to attract working professionals then it may help to present the space as somewhere they can live and work, for example, you could create a little office nook with a desk and some shelves. If you’re targeting students then it may be best to choose simple furnishings that are comfortable but easy to maintain.
2) Pick neutral colours
This is another way to maintain the "blank slate" image of the space. Some neutral colours also serve dual purposes, for example, shades of white can be used in the bathroom to imply cleanliness. Just be wary of creating a stark look with too much white.
Whether or not to carpet the space is an aesthetic decision you'll need to make. Carpets can make the place feel more homely, but be sure not to install carpets anywhere they could easily get wet, such as in the bathroom. Wet carpets are a problem, emitting unsavoury smells and costing a pretty penny to clean.
Whatever kind of flooring you opt for, make sure it's durable. This is definitely one area you don't want to cut any corners, as flooring takes a lot of strain, and you'll save more in the long-run if you invest in high-quality carpeting or tiles now. Laminated flooring is another popular choice, though they can also cause issues if water gets under the floor.
4) Durability is key
It may be tempting to invest in fancy trappings to make the space as aesthetically pleasing as possible, but Victoria Whitlock suggests making durability your priority. You'll want the property to be able to take whatever the tenant throws at it, and you don't want to spend a fortune on repairs and maintenance every time a new tenant moves in.
Places where cleanliness is constantly under the threat, such as the kitchen and bathroom, should receive special care and attention. Invest in quality now to avoid hefty repair costs and potential safety hazards later.