As property owners who looking to rent, you have a number of decisions to make before your house or apartment is ready to be rented. Decor, security and furnishings all have to be considered while keeping the potential renter in mind.
By tailoring your rental space to the professional, student or family market, you can make a significant difference to making a quick and successful rental.
If your property needs to undergo significant renovations, consider your design and style choices in relation to durability, cost effectiveness and whether you plan to rent it as furnished and unfurnished.
The three key areas that every owner must develop are:
- Flooring: carpeting, wood, laminate or tile
- Window dressing: curtains or blinds
- Worktops: granite or laminate
The help you decide, we’ll walk you through the situations and factors that will affect your decision, focusing on the how to choices you make apply to professional, family and student tenants.
Your potential tenant first impression of your property will be heavily impacted by your choice of flooring. But your decision should be based on two logical factors, other than appearance, namely:
- budget – how much you actually have to spend on flooring (considering the other areas that might need renovation)?
- durability – how often do you want to replace flooring, if at all, and what are the advantages of certain materials?
Carpeting makes a house a home
Carpeting is ideal for creating a warm, homely feel in your property. The soft material acts as an additional layer of insulation, but doesn’t have to be in every room.
London designer rugs company, Bazaar Velvet advise that ‘good quality carpeting or modern rugs throughout the halls, bedrooms and lounge in a warm off white or cream will appeal to a broad market’.
Choosing a high quality carpet in a darker blue or grey will minimize visible marks and will suit a student/professional tenant. Tenants, such as these, will see your property as a temporary residence and won’t be too concerned with having carpeting anywhere except their bedrooms and possibly the living room.
However, if you are hoping for a long term rental, such as by a family, then consider making your property look like it is ready for them to move into.
Don’t be tempted by cheap carpeting! You’ll be forced to replace it each year, or whenever a new tenant moves in/out. This will waste the time and money that you should be saving for bigger fixes – such as new boilers or plumbing.
Wood laminate is cheap and effective in the short term
A popular alternative to carpeting is wood laminate. This can be done in the bedrooms, kitchen and living rooms. It is a cheap and effective solution available with quick installation.
Selecting a higher quality laminate and choosing a style that matches your home will give your property an instantly refreshed and renovated look.
Windows dressings: Curtains or Blinds
Your choice of window dressing can be narrowed by considering three criteria:
- the requirements of the room
- the decor of the property (if any)
- the costs of replacement
iProperties, a specialist London estate agent, suggest that ‘its not uncommon for a rental property to not include any curtains or blinds, but this can put off potential renters. They will see it as another chore they have to complete when they move in’.
If you want to add a ‘‘ready to move’’ quality to your rental property the supply the window dressings yourself. The cosiness of curtains will help young families to see the home they are looking for, while students and professionals will appreciate not having to deal with it themselves.
Tailor your choice to the room’s requirements
Deciding on window dressings requires an understanding of when access to natural light would be advantageous and when an opaque covering would suit the needs of the occupants.
The basic rules are for each room are:
- Bedroom – many people prefer complete darkness in order to get the most uninterrupted sleep so light cancelling blinds would be appropriate.
- Kitchen – in a family room, renters might prefer to allow plenty of natural light into the room, to make the most of the daylight when possible. This is especially true if the kitchen overlooks a garden as they will want to be able to enjoy the refreshing greenery.
- Bathroom – Not often needing natural light, the bathroom is a private space and so blinds would facilitate those needs.
- Living room – Much like the bedroom, there are advantages to installing blinds in this room as it will keep light out. For evenings in watching movies, avoiding glare is a bonus so blinds might seem the obvious choice. However, curtains are much homelier and will make the room seem more inviting.
If, as the landlord, you want to avoid having to buy new curtains every year, blinds are an easier to maintain option, requiring light dusting, or a quick wipe down with a soapy sponge between tenants.
The surfaces throughout your property will get regular, daily use. Because of this, they need to be able to keep up with the bangs, scrapes and chips that they’ll be victim to.
Kitchens in particular require a well presented and durable worktop. Your selection of surface material will be subject to your budget, but additionally, whether you want a long term solution or a short term fix that will do the job.
Laminate is cheap and cheerful
Laminate is an easy to apply worktop. It can make a worn down counter look refreshed and modern, yet will cost less than more sturdy solutions. The downside is that it will only last a few years at most; especially in rental properties where less care is taken.
Granite is durable and upmarket
‘Granite worktops not only look good but have the strength and resilience to put up with the needs of a family’ say, kitchen worktop specialists, Modern Worktops.
Granite and quartz worktops are also scratch resistant and impervious to water and heat. The smooth feel, natural colour and pattern of stone is immediately striking and superior to a laminate layer. Granite surfaces add sophisticated beauty and value to your home.
A key consideration when deciding between granite and laminate is the current units that the worktop will be sitting on. If you aren’t refurbishing the whole kitchen area and have older cupboards, you should be aware that they will be unlikely to be able to support a stone surface.