After the expense of purchasing your first buy-to-let property you will most likely be making a decision as to whether or not you’re going to be letting the property furnished or unfurnished. The last thing you want to do once you’ve signed the deeds is to spend yet more cash on furnishing the place (especially if it is not needed); but shirk too much on the decorating costs and you could find yourself with a property no-one wants to rent.
For a private landlord, the decision needs to be made about how much you want to furnish the property; will it be snapped up even if it’s unfurnished? Will purchasing the bare essentials, like white goods and a bed, suffice? Or, if you’re in an area with a lot of competition, do you need to bite the bullet and purchase some furniture? This is certainly one of the most common questions we get asked by our landlords and we have written some tips that may help you make up your mind on whether to let a property furnished or unfurnished.
If you do go ahead and decide to let a property furnished we would recommend that for white goods such as fridges, dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers etc it’s worth purchasing them brand new; you won’t save as much cash on getting them second-hand, and the warranty and guarantee will be well worth it if things happen to go wrong. You’ll save money in the long run on servicing and replacement parts too. Remember that all appliances supplied in the property must be Portable Appliance Tested (PAT).
Charity shops can be a good place to start for electrical goods; they’ll be PAT tested already and you can often snap up some real bargains on microwaves and kettles. They can also be a good bet for soft furnishings – you’ll find some rock bottom prices on ugly, dated sofas and chairs, but give these a miss and instead opt for neutral colours and more modern styles, which will appeal to the widest possible audience.
Remember again, all furniture a landlord provides must be fire resistant and must meet the fire resistance requirements in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989 & 1993).
Facebook selling pages can also be a handy way to pick up big items – many people are desperate to get rid of items, so the prices can be very low. Look out for bed frames, which you can often bag for under £50.
It’s worth splashing out for a new mattress if you’re in it for the long haul; it’s something potential tenants are likely to ask about and it’s a great selling point.
Once they’re in, a little leniency with decorating is a good way to keep tenants sweet; just make sure they’re aware that they’ll need to fill and paint over any holes in the wall before they move out.
We have a section on the website dedicated to providing helpful information and advice for landlords from preparing a property to let through to how to evict a tenant (hopefully, you won’t need to get to that topic).
Thanks for reading and as always, if you have any other tips you would like to share with our landlord readers, please do so in the comments box below.