Friday, 28 November 2008

Presenting your property for successful letting

Over the past few years many people have been turning to owning rented accommodation in the UK, Ireland and other countries as an addition to pension provisions and for other reasons. This has meant that there is a lot more choice for people wishing to rent and consequently as they have choice then the property owner has to ensure that they provide good quality accommodation that will attract Tenants.

Many investors have purchased brand new purpose built properties that naturally have an advantage over the older properties that require modernisation. If you have an older stile property or that one is in excess of 12 years old, consider replacing the kitchen, bathroom and generally updating.

DECORATION The quality of the interior decoration may substantially affect the level of rental achieved. Although it is not possible to redecorate your own personal home prior to letting it if you are leaving for work overseas for example, it is essential that you follow these guidelines if you are planning on letting an investment property. It is advisable to follow them as far as possible if you are a returning owner occupier. Carpets and walls should be neutral. Whites, creams and light pastel shades and these make a cleaner, fresher impression.

Paint finishes are much easier to maintain than wallpaper. Good quality curtains and carpets should be provided as they will have much longer life normally which is most important if you are planning on letting for several years. Magnolia has now become very dated and should be avoided if possible.

Kitchens should be well equipped and bathrooms should have high quality modern fittings, including a power shower whenever possible (overseas visitors will usually expect one), good lighting and tiled flooring. If you are refitting your bathrooms, white fittings never really go out of date.

Wood flooring is now very popular and gives the illusion of more space. Kitchens should be tiled or have vinyl covering and not carpets unless they form part of a kitchen /diner and the carpet is then suitable for the dining area. If you are installing wood flooring in an apartment, please check with the freeholder if it is a new development as they are not permitted in some developments because of the noise factor.

Lighting is very important for any let. Downlight spotlights in Kitchens, bathrooms and other areas help. In furnished properties, consider providing some table lamps. Don’t forget adequate lighting outdoors (often with the use of sensors) to have as a safety feature for the property.

If you have bought a property to let, make sure there are toilet roll holders, towel rails, mirror, bathroom cabinets or shelves in the bathroom.

When you are showing a prospective tenant around a property take a note of the following guidelines:

· The property is clean, there are no dirty washing up items about and if there are any unpleasant odours, open some windows and let some fresh air circulate. Bathroom areas should be clean and leave the toilet seat down. Beds should be covered.
· Although you might be concerned about people walking on your carpet, some tenants are not too happy about being asked to take off their shoes
· Lighting – even in summer we can have some very dull days, so turn the lights on first. Lights make a property welcoming. If the viewing takes place after dark, make sure your front door outside light is switched on.
· Curtains – If the curtains are pulled over during the day, pull them back. Just like ensuring sufficient artificial lighting, natural lighting is equally as important and can give the impression of more space particularly in smaller properties and rooms.
· Garden areas – Make sure the garden is tidy and inviting


UNFURNISHED Let with curtains, carpets and kitchen equipment – white goods. (N.B. some white goods e.g. washing machines can be rented)

PART FURNISHED Let with the above plus occasional furniture – some beds, settee or dining table and chairs etc.

FULLY FURNISHED Let with the above, but including all furniture, china, and crockery. & Cutlery etc. Do not leave the property with too much furniture as the appearance could be cluttered and rooms appear smaller than they are.

Basic Requirements for a Furnished Letting

Unless a let is in central London, Bedding, towels, TV’s, Videos are not included. However, you might be requested to allow the tenant to erect a satellite dish.

It is recommended that all items of sentimental or real value be removed as even the most careful of tenants have accidents. It is important (if we are managing the property) if possessions are stored in the roof or elsewhere.

The storage area should be secured and keys left at our offices, emergency access should not be denied to a tenant in respect of gas/electricity/water mains and storage cisterns. N.B. be careful how you store your belongings. Attic areas can become very hot in the summer and garages can become very damp in the winter.

Furnishings –Each room must have adequate furniture for the tenants’ need and we list below the minimum for an average 4 bedroom property. Some wall pictures can be included.

Lounge – Three piece suite, or two sofas, or four lounge chairs, coffee table. Occasional light.

Dining Room – Dining table, chairs sideboard/dresser/storage.

Kitchen – Modern cooker, fridge/freezer or separate units, washing machine, tumble dryer, (in an apartment consider a washer/dryer) Microwave – not essential, but becoming more popular.

Kitchen equipment – Crockery, cutlery, glasses, cooking knives, chopping board, saucepans, frying pan, wok, electric kettle, toaster, coffee/tea mugs/cups/saucers, colander, baking tins, bottle and can opener etc.

Bedrooms – Beds (complying to Fire and Furnishing regulations), with mattress protectors, wardrobe, bedside table, bedside lights, chair, chest of drawers/dressing table, adequate storage for the number of occupants.

Bathroom/shower room – Shaver point, wall cabinet, toilet roll holder and towel rail.
General Household equipment-Vacuum cleaner and tools, brushes, dustpan, ironing board & iron.

Garden equipment- Unless you are providing a gardening service, you should supply a lawn mower (that is capable of cutting long grass if the tenant misses some cuts), spade, fork, rake,shear, hoe, wheelbarrow, ladder etc. You might also like to consider supplying garden furniture.

General: Make sure there are sufficient TV& telephone sockets around the property

Almost all types of property are letable, provided they are in good condition and well presented particularly those:
- close to good rail and road communications
- If there is a large garden, it is maintained
- The rental price is suitable to market requirements
- There is parking with the property or very close by
- There are not too many landlord restrictions.
© jml Property Services August 2004

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