5 Ways To Spruce Up Your Buy-To-Let Property

Sometimes when we get to know people online, we can start to make assumptions about their lives. People who read my blog regularly and follow me on Instagram will know for example that Pete and I own our home in southeast London. But they may know that before we bought this house, I spent 12 years renting, some of that prior to Pete and some of that with him. Or that Pete used to have his own house and we spent a good few years letting it out, both with and without the help of an agency.  

His house was in Cambridgeshire and when we first got together we debated me moving in with him. It would never have worked though – we both worked in Central London and I was in my mid-20s and reluctant to abandon life in the big smoke for a quiet country setup (just as well as 13 years later we’re still here!)

So we then had to decide whether we’d sell straight away or rent it out and opted for the latter. In doing so, we did make a few um, “questionable” updates – he’d bought an off-plan new build so had the dreaded magnolia walls throughout and whilst he’d made other great adjustments, it was in dire need of a quick coat of paint before we let it out to tenants. Thankfully my decorating skills have come on a long way since then because it wasn’t the best job in the world but it is a good idea to consider some rental-friendly home improvements that as landlords make a lot of sense.

Here’s five things that are worth doing to add extra value to your property in the long-run:

Do away with carpets

  • There are some benefits to carpets but they also can get stained, worn, burnt and they trap odours (although you all know my views on carpets 😉)
  • Carpets are less hardwearing especially in high traffic areas where people may not be taking the same care you would if you lived in the property
  • It’s not feasible to replace carpets after every tenancy and even getting professional cleaners in every time becomes expensive
  • Hard flooring such as laminate is much easier to maintain and look after, particularly if you rent to pets or children
  • It’s also relatively affordable and easy to install, so no need to pay for fitters
  • Go for cool wood or grey/white neutrals for a modern, blank canvas
  • If hard flooring isn’t to your tenants taste, they can always cover up with a rug or two

Target the right tenants

  • In each property that I’ve rented I’ve always gone for the ones that have been well-maintained and suited my lifestyle so that it’s felt as much like home as possible. Is there a certain market that you could try and appeal to with your buy-to-let? I.e. working professionals, young couples, families, elderly people
  • Speak to a local property expert to see what kind of properties are most in demand in your area so you can specialise accordingly
  • Appealing to working professionals – ideal for properties in built up areas (towns/cities) or commuter towns. Incorporate some mod-cons to make busy life a little easier i.e. Hive system so they can control heating from the train home etc and lifestyle gadgets such as a coffee machine
  • Young couples – decked out area in the garden for a hot tub or outdoor bar? Make a space as social as possible. Little things that won’t break the bank but will set your property apart from others

Keep it basic

  • It may be tempting to paint the walls in your favourite colours but it’s important to stay neutral and bright with rental properties. Remember, you’re not living there and you want to secure long-term tenants so help them feel comfortable
  • White is a great colour to make a property feel clean, fresh, light and airy
  • It’s also the perfect blank canvas for tenants to visualise all their belongings and their life within a space when viewing

Modernise the kitchen

  • We ALL love a good kitchen and it really is considered money-maker in a property for both tenants and home-owners. It’s important to make it nice as the tenant won’t be able to change much, due to all the fixtures and fittings
  • If you do have the budget for a whole refit now or in the future, you’ll almost definitely make your money back on it in value
  • If you don’t, there are some easy wins such as painting wooden units to a more on-trend colour i.e. greys, sage green, navy blue
  • You can also  swap out any standard handles and drawer knobs to something more luxe such as gold or brushed brass – carry it on with other handles and drawer knobs throughout the house to bring everything together or even give them a quick spray and lacquer as I’ve done with out kitchen knobs
  • Invest in updating any kitchen appliances included in your rental. Perhaps an induction hob, American style fridge-freezer if you have space and some worktop gadgets
  • With any adjustments of course it’s always vital to make sure you compare landlord insurance policies to get the right amount of cover for anything valuable within your property

First impressions count

  • Curb appeal is so important so focus on making tenants fall in love with your property before they even open the front door
  • Paint the front door with a neutral or pastel colour. Keep it universal and avoid anything that might actually put people off such as anything overly bright and bold
  • Add on a nice door knocker to set it off
  • Add a bit of faux greenery such as small trees or hanging baskets – being faux there’s no maintenance required but it also softens the look
  • As always, Pinterest is your friend with an endless supply of inspiration

I hope you’ve found this helpful, if you rent is there something you consider important as a tenant which might make you more likely to select one property over another?

*Post in collaboration*

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