If you are renovating your property for the rental market, key tips you need to know for a long term approach!
The standard of your property is directly linked to the standard of tenant you will attract. I come across many landlords (I was the same in the early days) who paint the walls magnolia, put cheap carpets in, put the basic/functional kitchens and bathrooms in, get a tenant and have that warm feeling inside. You have managed to develop the property without spending much of your hard earned cash, happy days!
Well – how many of you have found in 4 years’ time when the tenant moves out the following has happened:
The finish of the wallpaper and painting was never the best when the tenants moved in so they have attempted to paint it themselves and couldn’t be bothered or didn’t have ladders to cut in at the top next to the ceiling so it looks half-finished.
The tenants have ruined your carpets in the entrance way – maybe the showroom cream carpets you saw people putting in on “Homes under the Hammer” was not a good idea after all.
You decided to renovate the kitchen with cheap white tiles with no trim. They now have discoloured grout, look dated and that money you spent now appears to have been wasted.
You fitted vinyl flooring because it was a cheaper option but when your tenant left the property, when taking the cooker and fridge out it ripped the vinyl and now needs replacing.
The bathroom is now suffering from severe condensation problems. You didn’t see the value of fitting an extractor fan and you thought your tenants would just open a window because that is what we all do?
The bath panel is cracked and needs replacing.
You decided to only tile a small section of the bathroom to save money and now all the walls need painting and some of the walls are suffering from damp due to splashing from the bath.
You decided to fit vinyl flooring to save money. The tenants haven’t been drying themselves before getting out of the bath and water has been soaking through the floor-boards rotting them and now you have a stain and crack on your kitchen ceiling below.
It was cheaper to leave that old shed in the back garden when you renovated the property but now the tenants have left it full of rotting rubbish. It will now cost a lot more to get rid of this.
RENOVATING THE RIGHT WAY
Over the years of renovating rental properties I have learnt that everything you do must have a long term approach or you will just be redoing it again when your tenants move out in 3-4 years’ time. Below are my top tips which will cost you a bit more money up front but will mean you get your property rented out quicker, get a better standard of tenant – reducing rental / maintenance problems as well as increasing the likelihood of the tenant keeping the property in good condition rather than allowing it to slowly deteriorate.
While magnolia walls do look good your property can look a bit bland and boring if it is all magnolia. In the master bedroom put feature wallpaper up, it breaks the rooms up and if new-builds are doing this there must be a reason.
Most of my properties attract families which mean a big foot fall. I fit hard tread mattering in the entrance way in all my properties. This psychologically encourages the tenants to wipe their feet when they come in and saves the rest of the flooring throughout the house.
I fit laminate flooring in the living rooms and diners because I have found it is more durable than carpet. If tenants do not take their shoes off in your property it will be downstairs which will suffer the most wear and tear so the flooring you fit in these areas needs to be the hardest wearing.
I make this room one of my FERRARI rooms. When you buy a property you are looking for a show-room kitchen and bathroom – imagine what your tenants think when they can rent a property which has the same thing! Instead of buying the cheapest kitchen or bathroom in B&Q or HOWDENS buy the kitchen or bathroom which is one step up. It will be worth it in the long run.
UPVC the ceiling – this prevents you having to paint ceilings in the future because of condensation problems every time your tenant moves out. It also provides a good finish and looks great.
We tile the floor instead of fitting vinyl. We also remove all skirting boards and fit tiles for skirting. Again this provides a good finish but most importantly you will never have to paint skirting boards again. A key tip that you must make sure that your tiler does; if you have just had a damp course in this area the tile skirting can’t bridge the damp course or you will get the damp back.
Make sure your splash backs go all the way up to your cabinets on the walls. This will keep this area looking clean and you will never have to paint this area again.
We do not fit integrated hobs and cookers in our kitchens. We feel that they are not needed and it eliminates this liability in the future. A typical semi/terraced unfurnished property does not need is in the North East. If you have modern apartment on the Quay Side it may be different but we deal with the blue collar terraced and semi-detached properties that typify our area.
As mentioned above, bathrooms should be your other FERRARI room and every penny spent will be worth it in the long run.
Like kitchens we UPVC the ceiling to prevent any condensation problems and the finish is fantastic.
Tile all the walls and the flooring. With the UPVC ceiling, this will make your bathroom water tight, you will never have to paint again and all you need to do when your tenant moves out is wipe down the tiles and maybe clean some of the grout.
Always put an extractor fan in your bathroom which comes on when you turn the light on. Do not have one which relies on the tenant to do it, they won’t!
Instead of fitting a bath panel, create a frame and tile the side panel. It looks great with the rest of the room being tiled and you no longer have the problem of dirty looking side panels which constantly are cracked by tenants.
NUMBER 1 TIPS I HAVE DISCOVERED LATELY:
Shower screens – get a one piece shower screen instead of ones that fold. In the long term the tenants will lose the rubber seals and they also get dirty.
When fitting kitchen cabinets to the wall, make sure your tradesman fits white end caps over the screws (internally) to produce a better finish. You will be surprised how many brand new kitchens get fitted and this small attention to detail is not done.
Internal doors – make sure you fit door stops if your door is banging against the wall behind it. Don’t rely on your tenant closing and opening the door gently!
On all managed properties we offer a FREE 792 point property condition report which looks at the fixture and fittings in your property as well as the external areas. If you need your property developed or if you are now paying council tax and are wondering why it is not renting out, please get in contact with us so we can assess the condition of your property and get it rented with the highest quality tenant who wants to stay long term and make improvements.
What we do works and if you are fed up of not making the returns on your property please give us a call.
I look forward to hearing from you.