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Renovating a rental property

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From time to time, it is a good idea to reinvigorate a rental property as a means to stay ahead of the competition and attract new tenants. It is important, however, that return on investment is taken into account on every penny spent. Prior to planning an overhaul, big or small, do the maths. What is the budget I am working with? What value, if any, will it add?

Getting the most out of your buy-to-let investment can be achieved by implementing the right tweaks and changes and if the right amount is spent at the outset, the financial rewards further down the line will make the financial investments made worthwhile.

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Where do I even start with a budget?
Above all else, renovating a rental is about maths and finance. The rent a property can generate in proportion to its value (rental yield), is a highly important consideration in all aspects of a renovation. If the renovation will add no extra value in the long run, is it really worth doing?

Being sensible with money and budgets may be vital, with that said there are some areas of a property that there is just no point cutting costs on, such as carpets and flooring, paints (opt for the reputable brands and invest in anti-mould paint for bathrooms) and bathroom fittings. With these, you will likely end up spending more in the long run if you opt for the cheaper options, other than splashing out from the outset with good quality materials.

Take into consideration your time frames and schedule. After all, time is money and the longer that is spent on renovating your property between tenancies, the longer the property will be vacant which is ultimately a hit financially. Schedule any work for the day after the tenancies are due to leave the property and try to minimise the timescale as much as possible without rushing your chosen tradesmen. Speaking of tradesmen, we highly recommend having a builder you trust to initially look over your property so they can make recommendations for improvements or upgrades throughout your property. A professional opinion could be the difference between making much needed and beneficial changes to the property, and wasting your money on improvements that needn’t be undertaken for years to come.

How can I easily add value to a rental property?
Today, the rental market is notoriously competitive with landlords everywhere looking for ways to their property the edge over the competition, without breaking the bank. There are definitely a few easy wins when it comes to adding value to a house. The carpet may be homely and cosy but this can be easily marked, damaged and worn – buy-to-let properties tend to take a beating. How about opting for laminate or wooden flooring instead? This is much easier to maintain, looks chic and contemporary and it’s fairly easy to install yourself, saving you money on labour costs.

In the world of renovations, it is common knowledge the money-makers are a property’s kitchen and bathrooms so this is always a good place to start. However, renovating these rooms can be costly. Therefore, weigh up the pros and cons and be smart with the changes. Painting cupboard units is a great way to update and refresh a kitchen. Particularly popular at the moment are greys and greens, with these being more hard wearing than whites and light neutrals.

Understandably, most people do not like a dark property, however, no one wants to be installing extra windows either as this is a costly task. Ways around this include adding thoughtfully placed mirrors to create a trick of the light, making the room feel brighter. Perhaps think about transforming practical items within your property into head-turning design features, giving your property the edge. For example, install a dramatic light fixture in the kitchen or living area. Industrial style lights with exposed filament bulbs look great and are sure to impress prospective tenants. Remember though, to maintain a healthy balance between aesthetics and a sensible budget.

How can I set my property apart from the competition?
Perhaps even something as simple can become a unique selling point for your property. Including a few large wine racks to the wall can transform your cellar into a wine cellar. This way, something which is often seen as not being all too exciting becomes something unique and interesting – and this might be what sways it for prospective tenants.

Other options include turning your property into a ‘smart home’ by installing thermostats such as Nest, or smart door locks such as August to give your property the edge over others. Maybe fitting an intelligent security system or some other special extras will work to entice interest.

In the end, rental renovations boil down to a balance of aesthetics vs budget. Blowing thousands to turn your rental into a palace, does not mean tenants will treat it as a palace. It is not their money which has been invested into the luxurious carpet or expensive wallpaper. Keep it simple, fresh and clean and make smart changes to add value and turn your property into the most desirable in the area.

This article was provided by:
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Comments to Renovating a rental property

  • Great article and tips! This is perfect since I’m planning on buying some properties and make them rentals. Thanks for sharing!

    Joel Valenzuela 16th May 2019 9:00 am Reply

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