Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference – you can transform your rental property almost overnight with just a few (cheap) changes.
Landlords want the best return on their investment and tenants want the best deal on the market, so it pays to know your market so that you can meet in the middle.
Here are 10 small changes you can make to your rental property that might very well reap big rewards, without costing you more than a bit of time and some elbow grease.
- Estate agents talk about ‘kerb appeal’ continually in the context of selling a house, but it’s just as important if you’re hoping to rent out your property. It won’t cost you more than a few hours of your time and maybe a pot of paint to transform the front garden and exterior of your building. Remove weeds and rubbish from the garden, cut the grass or prune the shrubs, remove chipped paint, check outside light fixtures and try to have a designated area for rubbish bins and recycling (preferably out of sight!).
- Paint is the landlord’s best friend: it can transform a space, revive tired walls, brighten dark areas and highlight your property’s best features. Use satin or waterproof paint that you can wipe clean. And don’t make the mistake of freshly painting all your walls but leaving your woodwork looking chipped, grotty and unloved.
- On the subject of paint, try to move away from painting walls in unforgiving flat white – try a grey or cream to add a bit of texture and warmth to your rooms. Whatever you do, steer clear of ‘statement’ colours or bold wallpaper. Your tenants are unlikely to share your taste!
- Kitchens and bathrooms sell properties. While it may not be cost effective to completely remodel your kitchen or bathroom, what you can do is ensure that what you’ve got is spotlessly clean and any problems have been fixed before you show round prospective tenants. Remove and replace filthy grout (the new fashion for coloured grout can cover a multitude of sins) and consider fitting new door handles on cabinets for a quick makeover. If you have a budget, consider getting new cupboard door fronts for your existing cupboards.
- Kill two birds with one stone: as you carry out a full inventory, get rid of anything that needs replacing – check the cutlery, if you provide it, the kitchen equipment and make sure rugs, furniture and curtains are in good order.
- Really small touches make a big difference – swap your cheap plastic electricity outlet covers for stainless steel covers which instantly make your home look classier. The outlay in price will be less than £100, but the perception that your property has been finished to a high standard will be worth far more when it comes to setting the rent.
- It might be tempting to store some of your own belongings at your rented property, but if you have been hogging shed space with your clutter – remove it immediately! Either rent some storage space or recycle your belongings: tenants need to feel at home and it’s impossible for that to happen if your property is still filled with your rubbish (and nick-nacks).
- Window frames offer a really good indication of whether a property is cared for or not. In addition to making sure your windows are washed on the outside, make sure they are clean inside, too. Remove mould from the frames and repaint if necessary. Mould on window frames is an instant sign to prospective tenants that there are problems with condensation.
- Know your market: students will accept ugly furniture on the basis that they are paying less rent, couples will expect any provided furniture to be acceptably fashionable and families will need a completely blank canvas to make a house their home. Note most couples and families will not move into your property without the owner ensuring they have landlord insurance.
- Carpets are a real rented home giveaway, often bearing the hallmark of tenants who have long since moved to a new address. For less than £1,000 you can carpet an entire house and immediately increase its value to tenants immeasurably. And if you can’t afford new carpets – rent a professional carpet steamer!