Preparing for building a buy ­to ­let success


Decorating a buy-to-let property

When decorating a buy-to-let property, choose light, neutral colors and use simple styles and techniques so that the property appeals to as many different tastes as possible. Paint the walls in high durability paint in anticipation of knocks from furniture and belongings when they are moved in and out, and use paint and a color that can easily be patched up between tenants. Choose flooring in the kitchen and bathroom that can be mopped clean, such as strong laminate, tiles, linoleum or sheet vinyl, for easier cleaning. Most people prefer carpet in at least some of their rooms, such as the bedroom, so, although more expensive, using a good quality carpet will mean that it can be professionally cleaned.

What to put in a buy-to-let property

Apart from the basic essentials like a sofa, beds, a table and chairs, how you choose to furnish your property depends on you, and how you want to target a group of tenants. If you want to attract students, consider a desk and chair, maybe a bookcase or workstation. Contract workers or students will probably prefer a furnished property, and you may also be able to charge more rent. In any case, if you do succeed in achieving a well-furnished and presented house, with matching, functional furniture, you are more likely toavoid any gaps in tenancies, thus ensuring the best economic return on your property. In addition, awell-furnished and presented house is easier to market than a bad one, is more likely to attract tenants, and tenants are more likely to stay longer.

Use functional furniture, for example sofa beds in the lounge to accommodate an extra guest for the night, a table that extends according to how many want to sit round it, storage chests that double up as extra seats. All furniture must comply with fire safety regulations and any new furniture that is sold must be compliant by law. Failure to comply with fire safety regulations is a criminal offence and could have serious repercussions for a landlord. Consider putting a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket in the property – it could reduce your insurance premium.

Buy reputable electric goods for the property; tenants might expect a dishwasher and a microwave. Avoid large electrical goods such as a TV or DVD player because these items are easily damaged and can be expensive or inconvenient to repair.

When furnishing a buy-to-let property, you will need to strike the right balance between price and quality. Although it may be tempting to use cheap furnishings that can be discarded and replaced from tenant to tenant, this could not only put off prospective tenants, but also prove more costly and inconvenient in the long run. As a landlord, you will be responsible for the furnishings, and putting in cheap items that break easily could be a real headache for you. At the same time, furniture should be chosen that can be cleaned, for example dark colored leather sofas that can be cleaned, or sofas with removable washable covers.

When furnishing a buy-to-let property, it is better to buy less in terms of quantity, and to choose good quality, durable, carefully thought out furnishings. Your property will look homely and inviting, you are more likely to attract the right tenant, you will have less hassle in terms of repairs, and your tenants are more likely to want to stay.

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