The UK housing market can be somewhat contradictory. On the one hand, there is chronic undersupply in the residential market, both for sales and for lettings. On the other hand, the best buyers and tenants can afford to be highly selective.
As a landlord, therefore, it pays to take cost-effective steps to increase your property’s value to the tenants you want to attract (and to potential buyers in the future). Here are three tips to help.
Sell the location as well as the property
You bought the location when you bought the property so make the most of it. Never assume that tenants are familiar with the local area. Even if they already live in it, they may never have explored it properly. They may just have seen it as a base from which to commute to more interesting places. Do your research on local facilities and amenities and make sure potential tenants know about them.
In particular, see if your home can get fibre-optic broadband. If it can, check what type of fibre-optic broadband it gets. Standard fibre-optic is known as fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC). There is, however, a superfast version of fibre-optic known as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). If your property can get this then shout it from the rooftops.
Invest in the basics
A home needs to be safe, weatherproof and functional. If it’s not, then it’s irrelevant how good it looks or how many “value-add” extras are on offer. Make sure that you do everything possible to maximize safety, weatherproofing and functionality. For example, consider adding a smart doorbell along with regular locks on the doors and windows. If you don’t like this idea, think about adding a regular security viewer.
By law, your property will need to meet minimum energy standards before it can be made available for rent. Remember, however, that these are limits, not targets. If possible, you should aim to go above this minimum. Tenants will be well aware that this will reduce their energy bills. Smart heating and appliances also tend to be appreciated for the same reason.
Pay great attention to the functionality and the appearance of both the kitchen and the bathroom. These are both key locations in any home and tenants will have limited scope to customize them. This means that they need to be particularly appealing. One simple way to achieve this at a low cost is to swap out basic taps and showerheads for more premium options.
Also, pay attention to lighting. You don’t need to splurge on expensive light fixtures. Just aim to offer potential tenants something more attractive than “builder basic” fixtures or bare lightbulbs. If your property has direct access to the street, make sure that you have outdoor lighting too. This is important for safety as well as convenience.
Put your property in “show” condition
Follow the sort of advice given to people selling homes because that’s effectively what you’re doing. Make sure that the property is in a good state of repair and that it is at least clean and fresh-smelling. If you’re furnishing it, then be prepared to spend where it matters.
For example, everyone appreciates a good bed and a comfortable sofa. If you go a step further and offer a comfortable bed-settee, your tenants will effectively have a guest room. This can be much appreciated. Make sure that there’s plenty of storage and remember that most people understand the value of closed storage. Open storage may look good in pictures but it has distinct limitations in real life.
In general, it’s best to keep decor to a minimum. You want your tenants to imagine how they would set up the property if they rented it. The one potential exception is mirrors. These really do help to make a property look bigger. It’s even better if you can use mirrors with storage. Just remember not to overdo this as too many mirrors in a space can make people feel uncomfortable.