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With the rental market being so competitive at the moment, getting the right tenant to pay the right price can make all the difference in making a profit each month. Property Expert, Tina Jesson shares her experience of helping landlords to attract top end tenants and talks to people who work in the industry about the right furniture to use and look at how dressing a property can give it life style to bring in those high dollar value corporate clients.
According to Kate Evens of Perring Design, who runs a London based interior design company, the budget a landlord needs to set for furnishing their property for rent really depends on the rent they expect to achieve and is not tenant related./p>
However, there are 3 main types of ‘tenant profile’ which you need to consider when furnishing your buy-to-let property for rent to ensure you get the right tenants at the right return.
The rental values are often quite low so landlords can’t afford much, and tend to look for value for money and a basic standard range of furniture.
Require much better quality and much more choice. They need a few luxurious elements and a more classic style that’s not ‘too now’. As these types of properties are usually larger, with more rooms they will need additional options, such as games rooms, children’s rooms, hall furniture and formal dining rooms with matching furniture sets. They will also need soft furnishings and quality window dressings.
These are often used by companies as an alternative to staff staying in hotels and incurring huge hotel bills and for a company’s corporate hospitality or a way of keeping visiting MDs or other company senior managers comfortable.
All furnishings must be of a 4 star hotel standard and depending on location and what business sector the target tenants are likely to be in, you can go very funky and ‘very now’ with minimal and contemporary.
You need to include all the usual kitchen equipment such as a kettle, toaster, coffee maker, crockery, glasses, cutlery etc. Beds should be provided with full linen sets plus spares, the lounge should be fully equipped for in home entertainment including TV/DVD, hi-fi. Satellite or cable is preferable as well as a land line and phone, together with a wireless broadband connection.
Caroline O’Donavan, Account Manager from Room Service Group, who have been in the business of furnishing rental property for the past 24 years, reckons it’s 4-5 years providing you purchase the right quality of furniture in the first place.
Landlords evidently chose to furnish themselves for low rental return properties. As a rule of thumb she says a landlord would expect to invest 6-8 months rental as the budget spend for the furniture.
Most furniture companies will tell you they need a 4-6 week lead time to provide furniture for your rental property, so if you are buying a new property you need to start getting a supplier in the frame as soon as you exchange contracts so that by the time you complete contracts your furniture can be brought in for the letting agent to take their photos the next day, so you don’t loose any time and your void periods are kept to a minimum.
Evidently, property in Manchester and Leeds as well as some exclusive parts of London are prime areas where competition for rental property is very fierce and an exceptional quality of furnished rental property is demanded.
Landlords who want to attract corporate let clients need to provide a full service such as the serviced apartment – where everything is included. Furniture, soft furnishings and kitchen packs will all be required. Corporate clients are people who ‘just want to walk in a live’ – so everything down to the cork screw and ironing board must be provided for.
Often landlords forget the final points like accessories, ornaments which make the place feel like home as well as life style items such as artwork and important items like linen packs. A dressed bed is very important in creating a higher perceived value lifestyle rather than showing a bed with a naked mattress.
A one bed room apartment starts from around £3,000 - £3,500 for furniture, bed linen and accessories and installation. Expect to pay more for delivery & installation if your property is in a hard to reach location or at the top of tall block.
Some companies are starting to offer furniture on a short term rental term which is aimed at people relocating from overseas. The furniture covers the basics they need to set up home while they wait for their furniture to be shipped. Prices range from £160 - £190 per week depending on whether you want furniture only or if you want the full accessories packs including.
"first impressions are paramount in the rental market…we [want] to be able to offer smart stylish designer property showing great attention to quality and presentation” Sue Cohen - Lettings Manager - Blenheim Bishop
The Chairman of the UK National Landlords' Association. David Salusbury has some advice... "Deciding whether or not to furnish can mean the difference between a let or an empty property. In a quieter market, when tenants are harder to attract, it often pays to spend a bit more time and effort on furnishings.
Although renting properties unfurnished can reduce the initial outlay, rental success is dependent on there being a demand for this, and the best advice for landlords is to investigate the local rental market. It is also worth installing good quality, modern furniture and facilities, as it will show prospective tenants that you have taken care with the property, and could give you the edge over the competition."