Given the amount of bureaucratic hoops and small details involved in renting out a property, the process can get somewhat overwhelming. Within the checklist of things to do before you list any given property, one of the top priorities is making sure that your property looks presentable and comes across as desirable. This not only makes the property more appealing to potential tenants, it also guarantees them a more pleasant tenancy.
But landlords should be warned: meeting the fundamental needs of your tenants while staying within your budget is no easy task! Which begs the question: exactly how do you get a house ready to rent?
Start working early
Landlords should start preparing their property well in advance if they plan on doing any major works before the tenancy begins. Given that most prospective tenants will start looking for properties well in advance of their move-in date, you ought to make sure that your property looks like a cosy haven and not a building site.
Starting renovations too late could lead to some embarrassing viewings at best or an undesirable living situation for your tenant at worst. Starting around eight weeks before you intend on listing the property should give you a sufficient amount of time for you to get your ducks in a row.
Give the house a makeover
For a property to give off an irresistible first impression that quickly has people raring to sign, everything should look desirable – even if that just means giving the walls a fresh lick of paint and updating the sofas in the living room. When a house looks like it has been designed and maintained with care over the years, prospective tenants will be more likely to put down an offer (not to mention enjoy their tenancy and stay for longer).
If your rental comes fully furnished, consider investing in some brand new contemporary furniture that is built to last. And if there is a garden that comes with the property, trim the grass and plant some fresh flowers to give it the charming appeal of a cosy and healthy home.
Design with your tenants in mind
It’s all well and good to be renting out updated properties with beautiful interiors, but you should also be thinking about the kind of tenants you wish to have in your property. For instance, if you’re trying to appeal to a wider audience you should opt for neutral colours and simple furnishings with a lot of room for personalisation. This means reconsidering any existing designs that are little bit too outlandish for a more accessible home.
Remember that any given rental property will be occupied by several different people with unique requirements. Therefore, more general designs will give the house greater long-term appeal over the years. But while ‘blank canvas’ properties are more profitable in the long run, the interior design of your property should still take into account whether your tenants are students, professionals, or families. As such, you should figure out these details in the preparation stage and design your property accordingly – only then should you tell your estate agents which kind of tenants you wish to target.
Conduct any necessary repairs
Making sure that a property is safe and functional should be a top priority for any landlord. Indeed, renovations and repairs are simply part and parcel of the job, and they should be carried out promptly and regularly. When getting a house ready to rent, it is your responsibility to render it free of risk by carrying out the necessary repairs. Broken furniture should be replaced, damaged fittings/fixtures should be repaired, and white goods should be tested for functionality.
You can also limit the need for repairs in future at the preparation stage by choosing designs that are easily replaced should they become damaged by your tenants – e.g. carpet tiles can be replaced more efficiently than hardwood floors, and dark colours don’t show stains and scratches as much as lighter colours. The most important thing is that your property meets all the necessary legal requirements of safety so that its tenants live free of household dangers.
Sort out utilities and appliances
In addition to repairing compromised items throughout the property, landlords should ensure that all utilities and appliances are operating in line with safety requirements. This will involve getting gas appliances (i.e. boilers, ovens, radiators) tested by registered engineers, checking that all lights and electrical outlets are working safely, and installing the necessary safety devices (e.g. smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors). Older boilers may be considered unsafe by modern standards, and could need replacing before tenants can move into the property.
In order to ensure that all electrical appliances are safe to use, it is often necessary for a PAT test to be carried out on a rental property. Likewise, landlords are required by law to produce an Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate before renting out their properties. In conjunction, these measures ensure that a given property is both efficient and safe.
On a practical note, you could consider leaving your tenants the necessary instruction manuals for all cooking appliances, white goods, alarm systems, boilers and thermostats. These will come in handy when your tenant is getting to grips with the property, and save you some valuable time explaining how things work every time they get stuck.
Keep the house clean
Nobody wants to move into a property with black mould in the bathroom, dirty carpets in the living room, and grease in the kitchen appliances. It’s your responsibility as a landlord to make sure that your property looks clean, hygienic and fresh by the time your tenants come to view (and eventually live in) the house.
You have two options when it comes to cleaning a rental property: you can either pay for a professional service to give the property a thorough clean, or put on some rubber gloves and do it yourself! While the latter is certainly cheaper, the former is recommended for those who have less time to themselves (landlords with several properties, for instance).
If you are a prospective landlord currently looking to purchase a new property in South West London, feel free to check out the sales we currently have available or have a chat with a member of the James Anderson team.