There are many who think that being a property owner is a license to print money. These will mainly be people who are not landlords. What could be easier they think: rent out your property and make loads of money. If only it was that simple.
Those of us who are property owners know there is much more to it than that. Not only is there the ongoing costs and maintenance involved but there will always be plenty of unexpected issues to deal with. Perhaps the most stressful of these being the changeover of tenants. We’ve all been there, one set of tenants move out and you only have two days to turn the place round before the next ones arrive.
Don’t panic! Here are a few top tips to keep your property in good shape, minimise costs when things change and make it quick and easy to move between tenants.
Bathrooms, wet rooms and cloakrooms always get a lot of use and abuse. That’s why these rooms are best designed for easy maintenance.
When you come to commission or refurbish wet areas ensure you install tiles, wipe clean vinyl and white porcelain. Definitely avoid using carpet. Yuk! Keeping things simple from the outset will make any clean up easy. At change over time the most you may need to invest in is some new silicone to refresh blackened seals which is a simple, if irksome, job. For colour and character in these spaces install a simple pole with a patterned shower curtain and a matching roller blind as these are cheap and easy to replace.
One top tip for cleansing discoloured grout is to mix one-third bleach to two-thirds water in a spray bottle. Wear a mask and gloves and spray liberally into all the nooks and crannies until fully saturated. Close the door for a few hours and get on with other jobs. On your return give it a quick sluice down and you will have gleaming white grout.
Again, simplicity works best. Paint walls in neutral colours and use white gloss on doors, ledges and skirting. If you must have some wallpaper use this on feature walls in the main areas only and definitely not in children’s rooms.
Whilst it is tempting to use cheap trade paint throughout your house this may be a false economy. If you can afford to use specialist kitchen and bathroom paint in these rooms this will pay dividends later. This paint is designed to be hardwearing and easy to clean. You’ll be glad you stretched the budget that little bit. Honest!
Where there has been damage to plastered corners, when furniture is manhandled from the premises for example, a good approach is to fit cheap edging strips rather than getting out the Polyfilla. Simply glue them in place and paint over if desired. These should last a good long time and keep your house or flat looking crisp and neat.
Flooring and furnishings
When investing in these items always ask yourself, is it hardwearing? Laminate flooring may be a little more expensive than carpet but will last longer, brush up more easily and look better over time. Plastic or metal blinds on windows are a superior choice over curtains for the same reasons. If you do want to use some carpet, use synthetic materials in broken neutral tones such as oatmeal, beige or taupe. This will be easier to clean and won’t show dirt so readily.
For those who are letting their houses fully furnished look for fixtures that you can refurbish easily. A versatile product is the Klippan sofa from IKEA. Not only are they great looking and comfortable but they are also very tough. Best of all, when necessary, you can simply whip off a worn cover and refresh the whole thing with an inexpensive replacement.
If you have several properties, it may be worth buying appliances, furnishings, floorings and sundries such as cutlery in bulk. That way you should get a good discount and you’ll always have a stock of spares for breakages and refurbishments. There are specialist content suppliers for landlords so look for one of these in your local area and see if you can bash out a good deal.
Another economical approach is to source second hand furnishings from EBay or Gumtree favouring solid wood or metal for things like wardrobes, bedframes or tables and chairs. Solid pieces like these are easier to repair and can be quickly painted when they start to look a bit tired.
If necessary, you can store your spare items safely and cheaply at a specialist facility like PODS Moving and Storage. From there you can quickly retrieve them when the time comes. You can also use self-storage as a quick option should you need to place bulky items out of the way whilst refurbishing your rental property.
Whilst being a landlord can be stressful at times, we hope you can see with these top tips and a little pre-planning you can make renting out your property much simpler and a lot cheaper. That way you can maximise your returns and always have an attractive property you can maintain with ease and that will rent easily. Who says this landlord thing needs to be complicated?