19 Jul 2018
Poorly kept houses and flats are only going to dissuade people from renting with you, or from renewing their tenancy, as well as giving a poor impression of you as a landlord. However, it does not have to cost the earth to update your rental property and keep it looking fresh.
Today we are providing you with a list of tasks you can do to your rental property, at a range of price points, to help you keep your house, flat or apartment attracting a steady flow of tenants.
When should you update your property?
Before you start working through the list we have provided, it is worth considering the best time to update your property. The ideal time to work on your house or flat is when your previous tenants have moved out and before your next ones move in. You should also consider setting up a schedule so that every year you alternate between a couple of these tasks (excluding the more major installations such as new fittings, unless it’s necessary), and then every 5-7 years you give the house a deep clean and update (including new fixtures and fittings). This will help spread the cost of the tasks, as well as your time, as to do them all in one go can be quite intimidating.
With this in mind, here is a list of suggestions to keep your house looking fresh and new so it can keep attracting tenants for years to come:
It might surprise you to hear that the majority of tasks we are suggesting cost under £20 (although as with all the prices we will quote in this article, it depends on what products you use and how much/many you buy). Each of these tasks are simple and don’t take long to accomplish.
Grouting: Stained and discoloured grouting can make any space look worn. Therefore, replacing it, despite seeming like an insignificant detail, can actually make a massive difference to the feel of a room.
Windows and Frames: Windows are one of the first signs of the state a house when you first approach it. However, sometimes all they need is a quick wash to make them look as good as new. It might also be worth considering polishing any similar surfaces, such as mirrors and shower cubicle panes, to remove any unsightly marks before any potential tenants look around. Details like this give the impression that the house is well looked after, meaning your client will have more faith in you as a tenant.
Lights: Consider replacing lightbulbs and shades to make rooms feel brighter (and therefore bigger). Furthermore, older lampshades can make a house feel dated, so new ones are an easy way to make it feel up-to-date and modern.
New sockets and light switches: Following along the lighting theme, replacing any grubby or old switches can also make a house feel new again. Of course, if they are just grubby, all they might need is a quick clean to remove any marks and make them look good as new (make sure to turn off the electricity though before cleaning them, to avoid electrocution).
Change orientation: If your rental property comes with furniture, all you may need to do is re-orientate the room to give it a new feel. If the space feels overcrowded, either change where the furniture is placed or remove a couple of unnecessary pieces, putting them in storage for the future, transporting them to another one of your properties or donating/selling them.
Garden: An often-forgotten part of the property, with decent gardens an increasingly rare part of houses a tidy outdoor space can often be the final touch that can help seal the deal. Just a trim of the hedges and lawn might be all you need, but some new shrubbery or ornaments never hurt anybody.
Clean the walls: Before you start buying new tins of paint, consider cleaning any marks off the walls if they are looking grubby. Products like Magic Erasers will do the job at a fraction of the price of a tin of paint.
Paint: Whether you just want to freshen up yellowing white walls, or are bored with the colour scheme, a lick of paint is an easy, cheap way to update your home and make it feel like new. Don’t just stick to walls either. Ceilings need painting, though nowhere near as often, as does any exterior paint work (window frames and walls etc). You might even want to consider modernising worn furniture with a lick of paint or varnish on cupboards and doors. Don’t go mad though. A good rule to follow is to stick to neutral colours – few people are going to invest in a property with a bright green feature wall.
Update surfaces: You don’t need to buy new kitchen surfaces to update them. Stick on surfaces with look-alike patterns, such as marble, are a much cheaper alternative, with products such as D C Fix even being heat resistant.
Clean Carpets: Unless they are stained beyond repair or threadbare, replacing carpets is a costly and unnecessary job when cleaning them is a much cheaper and effective alternative. Unless you own a considerable amount of properties, where buying the machinery would be cost effective, you can hire a cleaning machine for around £20 a day or spend a little bit more and hire someone to do the job for you.
Tiles: If you have a bit more money to spare, and are handy at DIY, you might want to consider replacing some of the tiling in your house. Of course, try to clean them first, especially in the bathroom where there are normally a lot more to replace and so will be a pricier job, but if they are beyond repair, or you want a change, they could be just the update you need. To reduce the cost, you could replace every other tile in a different colour, to create a stylish pattern, or create a new splashback behind the oven with on-trend patterned tiles.
New curtains: A much less regular job, but when your old curtains start to look worn or out-dated, new ones could be just what you need to modernise and freshen up a room. If you don’t have them already, black-out curtains (or black-out material to add to existing curtains) could be a valuable upgrade and USP, especially if the property is located near street lamps.
New fixtures and fittings: To really give your house a new, modern look, without redoing the whole space, consider updating fittings such as taps and showerheads. Whilst cheaper options are available, it is worth investing in them, when possible, to avoid having to replace them so often. In between replacements, make sure to clean them to remove any water marks, especially in hard water areas, to keep them looking new for longer.
Keeping your rental property up-to-date and attractive to prospective tenants can be intimidating and a potentially costly venture, but hopefully you now have some ideas to keep your property looking its best with minimum investment.