How to make your buy to let a tenant des-res

05/05/2015
Mortgages, Buy to let

Anyone who’s scrolled through the customer reviews on TripAdvisor or Amazon knows public opinion can be a confusing and contrary thing.

Which makes decisions difficult when you’ve got a new Buy to Let property to present.

You want a home that potential tenants will be clamouring to live in. But how do you get that on a limited budget? Should you spend all your spare money on a new kitchen? Perhaps a new bathroom would be a better tenant-magnet. And what about the decor? Do you go big, bold and super-trendy or play it safe with wall-to-wall beige?

Rental property specialist Paul Offley runs the lettings division of The Nottingham Estate Agency and the Harrison Murray Estate Agency. He knows what goes in the rental market and understands better than most what ticks tenants’ boxes.

Here are his top tips for making your property a tenant-friendly des-res.

  • Do your sums and don’t spend beyond your budget. Most properties, however nice you make them, have a rent ceiling. A new kitchen and bathroom might make your property easier to let but how much will it add in terms of extra rental income?
  • Stick to the blander end of the paint charts. Beige throughout might be a little boring but it’s easy to live with and is unlikely to put anyone off. A bright orange kitchen might be your choice, but it’s yuck-factor for some tenants. “Think neutral, fresh and clean, and you won’t go too far wrong,” says Paul.
  • A decent, modern kitchen will make your property more desirable. “Tenants like nice kitchens,” says Paul. A nice kitchen will give your Buy to Let the edge over other rental properties in the same price bracket.
  • Don’t buy the most expensive, branded kitchen units, bathrooms and appliances. Things need to be reasonable quality, says Paul, but you don’t need to spend a fortune.
  • Take wear-and-tear into account. A broken cupboard door or toilet seat isn’t too problematic if you can easily find a replacement. Being forced to buy a whole new set of units is a different matter. “Not every tenant will look after something as if it is their own,” says Paul. “You need to think practical.”
  • Avoid uber-trendy fixtures and fittings. They might look great now, but will they be such a big draw when you’re looking for another tenant a year or two down the line?
  • Tenants like laminated floors. That’s a fact. Consider fitting some. Plus, they are easier to keep clean than carpets.
  • Make life simple for your tenants. A slabbed patio and a small, easily-maintained lawn is preferable to a garden that needs lots of weeding and pruning.

Read our series of buy to let stories

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