When looking to prepare a property for rental it is often very tempting to acquire the latest mod cons, decorate the property to the highest standards with the idea that this is a one-off additional investment. There may be occasions where high spec equipment and interior design will pay for themselves but these opportunities are relatively few and far between. There are many ways to save money with your furniture choices while still giving tenants a comfortable, affordable property with all of the facilities they will need.
1) Don’t overload on the latest trends
If you want to go high spec and/or trendy, you will need to appreciate what, if any, value the items you are considering will add to your property. If you are buying simply for the sake of it then you need to ask yourself whether you are doing the right thing. For example, the latest in mood lighting may be a step too far but modern trendy fold down tables would look good and also save on space. If you are careful it is possible to save a significant amount of money.
2) Buy styles that will appeal to your target rental market
Before you put your property on the rental market it is important that you are clear in your own mind what kind of tenant you are looking for and what part of the market you are targeting. Young professionals would demand a different style to young families and it is imperative that you prepare your property with your target tenant in mind.
3) Opt for a durable, modern finish (not solid wood, marble, or expensive features)
It can be tempting to buy top of the range furniture even when cheaper and often more durable products are perhaps a better option. While this choice will depend on the type of tenant you are looking for, you will need to replace furniture in the future due to inevitable wear and tear and you must bear this added expense in mind. You need to weigh up whether it will it be more cost effective to go for more expensive furniture or actually can you keep the standard higher if you buy cheaper furniture and replace it more often?
4) Keep an eye on charity shops for good quality second hand furniture
The historic stigma often attached to charity shops has disappeared over the last few years. They are now run as modern businesses that appeal to a wider audience and many charities operate specialist furniture branches – perfect for student lets. The online market has picked up dramatically over the years with the likes of eBay and Gumtree providing many options for acquiring second-hand furniture. When buying products such as second-hand sofas you need to be vigilant and ensure that the appropriate fire labels are still attached – safety must always be paramount. However, you’d be surprised at the amount of good quality second-hand furniture available so keep your eye out for a bargain and you can potentially save a lot of money by shopping around.
5) Register for voucher code websites
The internet has brought many new services to our fingertips and one which we Brits love more than anything is the voucher code website – who doesn’t love a bargain! Very often you will see huge discounts on items such as mattresses, TVs, sofas and other furniture for your home. You might need to act quickly as a number of these offers will be limited in stock and sold on a first-come first-served basis. However, a word of warning, a bargain is only a bargain if it is appropriate to your property, your target tenant market and it will actually be used.
6) When buying a property ask the sellers whether they are interested in selling any good quality existing furniture
When acquiring a property to put on the rental market you should approach the seller about any existing furniture or white goods which they can include in the deal (you should be able to negotiate a good price as you are buying the property!). While many people prefer to start with a clean slate when decorating a new property why go through the added expenditure of acquiring new items when you don’t need to?
7) Lease your furniture – don’t buy it
Many future landlords may not be aware but you can now lease good quality furniture for your rental property. By leasing, you can pay in manageable monthly instalments whilst at the same time reducing your initial cash outflow, allowing you to use that money elsewhere in your property business. It also gives you the option to purchase better quality furniture than if you had to find the capital upfront. By using this avenue instead of buying outright, you can claim back the full cost of these goods as an expense in your business before tax thus reducing your tax bill whilst conserving your capital for investing in other income generating assets.
8) Furnish for the market, not for yourself
Furnishing a property for you and not for future tenants is a simple trap which many buy to let investors fall into. There are many different areas of the rental market, for example professionals, families, students or holidaymakers. To maximise your return you need to focus your furnishings towards your target audience and avoid items which may reduce your appeal. This sounds simple but it can take some tweaking and adjustments.
9) Furnish to a level that provides everything a tenant will need and no more
You should look to furnish your properties with equipment which is needed on a day-to-day basis as opposed to additional extras such as a jacuzzi! Put yourself in the position of a potential tenant; if they see lots of mod cons in your property this will immediately alert them to a relatively high rent. Keep it simple and maximise your tenant pool.
10) Style it up! Make it look as though you have made the effort
Sometimes the smallest tweaks to relatively cheap furniture can make it look more stylish, eye-catching and expensive. Maximise the furniture you have with clever use of colour, soft furnishings and décor – a nice bright throw over a slightly tired sofa with a few scatter cushions can make all the difference!