The Government has pledged to support house-building in the UK, which should provide new investment opportunities for landlords. New builds can be an excellent choice but unfurnished properties present specific challenges.
The following are a few suggestions for preparing a new unfurnished property in order to maximise tenant interest in a competitive rentals market.
A clean canvas
A recent study by Argos found that almost half of tenants (45 per cent) said that they started to feel at home in a rental property once they had personalised it. 36 per cent confirmed that putting their stamp on a property would make them more likely to remain there for longer.
Landlords should therefore start with a neutral colour scheme that allows scope for personalisation through the tenants’ choice of furnishing and accessories.
It is also important to leave plenty of spare wall space and to provide shelving and other display areas which tenants can use to make the property feel their own. With InventoryBase, it is simple to keep track of all display units or shelves included as part of the tenancy. Similarly, it is important to track any carefully chosen ornamental items that may be used during viewings, some of which tenants may request for the duration of the agreement.
Any decorative items used during viewings should be chosen and positioned to give prospective tenants an idea as to how they might display their own possessions to maximum effect rather than to make a statement in themselves. The overall objective at the viewing stage is to help tenants envisage how a property could become their home rather than making them feel bound by someone else’s tastes.
Space and light
Landlords hoping to rent out smaller properties may benefit from positioning mirrors in strategic locations to create the illusion of space. It is essential to ensure that as much natural light as possible is getting into each room. Mirrors positioned opposite windows will help to reflect natural light and can make the space seem a little more generous. Strategically placed occasional lighting such as floor-standing halogen uplighters can work wonders in areas with limited natural light.
It is important to carefully consider the window dressings used, based upon the amount of light they let in, their functionality, durability and their visual appeal. Blinds can be a good choice as they represent a versatile, unobtrusive window dressing that still offers the opportunity for tenants to add curtains or other adornments of their choice. Before viewings, all blinds and curtains should be drawn back fully to maximise the available natural light.
It can be worth placing some unobtrusive artwork sparsely on walls, making sure that this does not make spaces seem smaller or too personal to the landlord rather than the tenant. Done well, this can not only add to the appeal of the property during viewings, but also offers tenants the opportunity to replace pictures with their own choices without causing further damage to the walls.
One of the great ironies of unfurnished accommodation is that it can very often appear larger once populated with furnishings. In the case of an extremely compact rental property, it may be worth temporarily placing a few strategic pieces during the viewing process.
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