It can be tricky deciding how to decorate your rental property – of course you want to protect your investment, and there’s always the issue that it won’t appeal to everyone’s taste. As an estate agency, we’ve seen it all; the best, the worst, the “must haves”, and the all-too common faux pas made by landlords. With this in mind and so many things to consider, we at Living in London have compiled a guide for investors on how to decorate to get the most out of your rental property in London.
Schedule Your Renovation
Time is money and you want to avoid leaving your property vacant for longer than necessary. Be sure to make a note of all works that are required prior to your tenants leaving so you can start scheduling work well in advance, especially if you need to hire professional contractors. Ideally, you’ll have a timeframe in which the works will be done and move your new tenants in as soon as possible, so planning is essential.
Keep it Neutral
When it comes to style, keeping things neutral is key. You don’t want to drive away prospective tenants with a design so flamboyant they’d be ashamed to invite their friends and family to visit. No matter what, you’ll never be able to suit everyone’s tastes, so it’s best to opt for a stylish yet elegant design with a neutral palette that can be complemented by an array of furnishings. By all means, look at current trends but be sure it will pass the test of time - you don’t want to have to completely re-design every time you get a new tenant.
The most valuable rooms to keep neutral are the bathroom and kitchen. In London, a sleek and modern bathroom suite is advantageous among professional tenants, while a high quality easy-to-clean and functional kitchen is preferable. In terms of colour, opt for timeless shades of white, grey or brown to create a bright, open space that is contemporary, yet inviting. Stay away from heavy patterns, vibrant colour and bold furniture where possible. Try investing in signature light fittings to bring a room together and highlight key features. Light fittings can take a room from being plain and dull, to contemporary and bright, as well as opening out the space to make the room appear larger.
Properties tend to get more interest online if they are furnished but a furnished property also comes with its own hassles, including disputes over theft and damage at the end of a tenancy and the responsibility of replacing furniture that breaks. If you’re unsure, we recommend dressing the property for professional photographs that you can reuse when marketing your property and offering the property unfurnished with a view to furnish for the right tenant if required.
If you furnish a property, make sure you don’t “over-furnish” as this can make the property appear small and cramped, not to mention giving you more to account for. Minimalism is key when furnishing a rental property. Think about what the tenants will need and invest in high quality, contemporary items that will last. If possible, include additional storage space to make your tenants’ lives easier when moving in.
Protect Your Investment
Be realistic with prices; if you’re expecting £1,200 per month in rent, don’t spend £10,000 re-decorating as you won’t see a return on investment. Likewise, don’t skimp where it matters. Spend more on frequently used areas of the property such as flooring and bathroom fittings. Choose high quality, durable bathroom and kitchen fittings to ensure you get the most out of your investment and don’t need to continuously make repairs.
Light coloured carpets and wood flooring are easily stained or damaged, so be sure to choose darker, high quality carpet and ensure your floor is treated. For wood flooring, try adding some coloured rugs to further protect your asset and ensure any furniture has felt pads to avoid scratching the floor when it is moved.
If you would like advice on decorating your rental property, protecting your investment or finding out more about Living in London’s fully managed property service, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 231 0002.
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