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Budget-planning tips when furnishing a buy-to-let property

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Do you have a rental property to furnish? Perhaps you have several properties in your portfolio? You face a difficult balancing act. The right furnishings will attract more and potentially better tenants but are unlikely to greatly increase your rental income. It is important to budget well and not to engage in expenditure which the property does not warrant.

Assessing your target market

If you are to furnish your property appropriately, it is crucial to identify your target market. Is the nature and location of your rental most suited to students, families or young professionals? They will have differing requirements and expectations. Speak to local agents and property experts about the type of tenant you should target and then furnish accordingly. 

Students will need a desk in every bedroom and won’t be much concerned with the ambiance of the living spaces. Families will favour a homely feel, while young professionals might appreciate a contemporary look.

Don’t go overboard

You are not furnishing the property for yourself, and your tenants may not treat your furnishings as you would wish. Wear and damage are inevitable and so you will be faced with having to replace items occasionally. Don’t choose pieces which are too costly as it will set you back the same again to replace them. There’s little point investing in a designer sofa with a hefty price tag for student digs, but that doesn’t mean you should feature a moth-eaten, sagging, uncomfortable sofa either. 

Make sure that your furniture is durable, easy to clean and simple to replace. If you select pieces from the big retailers, you will probably be able to find something very similar or identical when you need a replacement. Choose sofas with washable or replaceable covers if possible. Failing that, go for leather or faux leather which can be wiped clean. Fit mattress protectors to all beds and provide adequate storage – beds with drawers are an excellent inclusion in this regard.

Evolve the right look

It is best to choose matching pieces which create a smart and uniform look. Clean lines and a minimalist approach will offer almost universal appeal as will neutral colours. Trying to penny pinch by buying miss-match second-hand pieces will let down your property and is almost always a false economy. 

Don’t clutter up the place with decorative pieces and unnecessary extras as you will be spending your hard-earned money on details which your tenants don’t need and may not even want. But don’t forget to fit windows with curtains and blinds. Ready-made styles are the most cost-effective options. 

Electrical appliances such as lamps, toasters and microwaves are unnecessary purchases. You will be responsible for keeping them in a good state of repair and you could be held liable if they prove to be faulty. Most tenants will expect you to provide white good appliances, including an oven, hob, fridge and washing machine. But they will usually be happy to buy smaller appliances themselves.

Your legal responsibilities

It is a legal requirement that soft furnishings and upholstered items in rental homes are fire-resistant. Before buying these pieces, including mattresses, check the fire safety labels.

Balancing the books

Furnishing a home, and this includes a rental home, can be an expensive enterprise. Don’t skimp too much or you will reduce the appeal of your property. Make savings by avoiding unnecessary extras instead and look out for special offers. Impressive deals do crop up from time to time. Do your research so you recognise a great deal when you see it. 

You might be able to negotiate better prices if you order several pieces from the same supplier. Even if you can’t get the prices down, you might earn yourself a few useful freebies. But if you simply don’t have the funds to buy everything you need, take advantage of the interest-free credit offered by many retailers and spread the cost. This will prevent any delays in bringing your property to market. Void periods mean lost income. There is no point leaving your property empty because you are saving up for furniture.

Professional help

Sourcing the best deals and furnishing your property will swallow up a great deal of your time. If you are busy, there is always the danger that you will make rushed decisions or just buy the first thing you see. That could prove to be very expensive and so it would be better to engage expert assistance.  

At Assetgrove, we improve, repair, maintain and furnish your rentals. Our experts will use their experience and knowhow to make sure your property is furnished quickly and styled to attract the perfect tenants. 

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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