Spring is the time when the rental market comes back to life. Tenants come out of hibernation after a grey and gloomy winter and make plans for the year ahead. So there’s stiff competition in the rental market and properties benefit from a refresh at this time of year. After months of rain, wind, frost and often snow, exteriors may need attention, as do interiors which look better for some new décor or refurbishment – even apartments in relatively new buildings will look better for a little regular tender loving care.
If you have a tenant in place, you will need to ask their permission to carry out any work, so it is often easier to leave larger jobs for between tenancies and stick to the basics until then. But a few simple measures now will keep your rental property in good condition, adding value and maximising its appeal to tenants.
First, the exterior. Take a look at the outside of your property and check for loose or damaged roof tiles following the ferocious winter storms we have had this year. Arrange a contractor to mend or replace damaged tiles to prevent water damage. Sweep the gutters too to remove debris such as waterlogged leaves which could cause gutters to collapse.
Next, think about kerb appeal. If the property’s frontage looks neglected, add some pretty, colourful hanging baskets, some new tubs or a stylish outside light – perhaps give the front door a lick of paint too – this will help create a welcoming feel when applicants come for a viewing. The back garden will also need attention. Mow the lawn, clear away fallen leaves and trim hedges. Clean garden furniture so that the outside space offers real appeal – many tenants moving home at this time of year request some attractive and useable outside space.
Inside the property and now is the perfect time for a good old-fashioned spring clean. Regardless of age, rental properties can be subject to a fair bit of wear and tear, so this applies to apartments in a new development as much as it does to older properties. Have carpets professionally cleaned and arrange for the curtains to be cleaned and steam pressed – this not only freshens them up but helps to prolong their life too. If you are between tenants, spruce up the interior by having it painted throughout, giving the whole property a fresh feel – it’s surprising how many knocks, scratches and dirty marks a rental property accumulates during the course of a tenancy.
If you’re planning to attract a new tenant, take a look at your furnishings as these too can look shabby after just two or three years. The quality and presentation of the interiors and furnishings really is critical, perhaps even more so in a new apartment where tired furnishings will stand out like a sore thumb against the sleek backdrop of a new apartment building. Decide if key items such as the sofa, chairs and dining table are still in good condition and if not, replace them. If you are happy with their condition, perhaps ring the changes with some stylish, new soft furnishings and accessories – cheerful new cushions, a bright new rug or bedlinen in this year’s on trend Pantone Colours of the Year – Rose Quartz and Serenity (pale pink and blue).
Refurbishment could add capital value to your property, whether you are a landlord or an owner occupier and maintaining your property well usually costs less in the long term than constantly undertaking repairs on the run. For landlords, a well maintained and presented property also enables you to attract a higher rent.
Tenants expect top quality, contemporary kitchens and bathrooms so replace these if they are dated. If you have a small kitchen and separate dining room, consider knocking through to create the large, spacious kitchen/diner that most of us now prefer. It’s all about maximising the use of living space so also think about creating an ensuite bathroom in a bedroom, if there is space – this is a good move and always adds value.
There are many ways to breathe new life into a rental property that is looking a little tired and unloved, depending on your budget and the type of tenant you are hoping to attract. We have refurbished many rental properties for landlords so do please contact us on 020 7435 9681 if you would like to discuss the options for your property.
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