5 tips for furnishing a rental property
A buy-to-let property is an investment. Like any other investment, the two central objectives are:
- To preserve the value of the investment;
- To earn a profit.
Landlords should bear these objectives in mind at all times. And it’s worth remembering that the cost of furnishing a rental property is not tax-deductible. You can deduct the cost of replacements, but not the cost of the original items.
Tip 1: Consider who the tenants will be
When it comes to deciding how to furnish a property, possibly the most important thing the landlord needs to know is: who is going to live there? If you are providing a rental home for students, you should expect to have to provide most or all of the furnishings. They’ll need a bed, a desk, somewhere to sit, somewhere to entertain friends, something to cook on, and a table, chairs, crockery and cutlery to serve the food on when they’ve made it. And there’s the matter of privacy – curtains and blinds.
But suppose you are renting to a professional couple, who want to sign a long lease and give every indication of wishing to be in that property for some time. Will they want to use your furniture, or is it more likely they will wish to bring their own? Will they even want to keep your wallpaper or the paint colour you’ve chosen on the walls? They might want to personalise the property slightly, subject to your approval.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a clearer picture of the furnishing decisions you need to make.
Tip 2: The importance of durability
Whatever you put into the property should be hard-wearing and easily cleaned. The value of the pieces will depend on who is going to live there, but a rental property is never the place for valuable family heirlooms. You will want to know that no individual item will be expensive if you need to replace it.
Tip 3: Avoid statement pieces
The thing to remember about a statement piece is that it is you who is making the statement. Will it be a statement that the tenants can endorse? Statement pieces in rental properties are probably a mistake more often than they are a success.
Tip 4: Windows
The great thing about blinds is that they can make a room appear bigger, and the property therefore easier to let. Curtains, however, are easier to clean. Which should you choose? Decide on the basis of:
- How big the room is, and whether it needs to be made to appear larger;
- Who is going to live there.
Tip 5: Fire-resistant fabrics are required by law
The law says that all soft furnishings in rental properties must be fire-resistant, so make sure there is a label on everything you put into the property which says that they conform. This will usually mean that older items you may have thought of installing are not acceptable.
Refurnishing your own home can be such a pleasure that one may rush into furnishing a rental property in the same way and with the same enthusiasm. That can be a mistake, because a buy-to-let property is not your own home. You are furnishing it for someone else, and it’s important to step back and take a long hard look at what that someone else needs and how well it fits with what you are planning to do.