Furnishing a buy-to-let property is the best way to attract high-value tenants, maximise rental income, and minimise void periods. However, knowing how to furnish a buy-to-let property can be challenging at times. Furnishings can quickly become expensive so you’ll want to make the right decisions that will help you attract potential tenants whilst ensuring a good return on your investment.
Struggling to decide on how to furnish your London buy-to-let property? Read our top tips below.
Letting a Furnished Property vs Unfurnished Property
There are several reasons why a landlord would decide to let a furnished property. The main reasons include increased rental rates, finding tenants quicker and deducting the cost of the furnishings from taxes. Many renters are in the market for furnished properties in London, so you can appeal to this sector. This is especially true for tenants coming from overseas to work in London for a fixed time period – having a furnished property means they don’t have to worry about transporting furniture and other large home furnishings and can move in straight away.
When considering whether to furnish your property or not, it’s crucial to calculate the cost. Always ensure that the return on furnishing the property is greater than the initial investment. For example, if your rental property is in area where there is great demand for furnished properties and your rental rates can increase if you do furnish the property, then it’s likely a worthwhile investment as long as your budget sensibly.
How to Furnish Your Buy-to-Let Property
Spend what is required to furnish your rental
It’s a good idea to buy the best quality furniture and appliances that you can afford within your budget. These items tend to last longer, and your tenants are more likely to look after them. Also, you will attract higher-paying tenants if the furniture is of good quality, modern, and functional.
Although it’s tempting to buy something cheaper, cheap furniture means you could end up spending more money replacing it than buying new items.
Decorating a buy-to-Let
The best colours to appeal to a wide range of tenants are neutral tones. So, focusing on light colours like beige, off-white, and light greys is the best choice. These colours reflect light well and give rooms a spacious feel.
It’s always best to avoid bold patterns and bright colours because they may not suit everyone. However, if you choose bolder colours, make sure they are muted enough to avoid turning away potential tenants.
Window coverings for rental properties
Curtains and blinds are essential for any rental — furnished or unfurnished properties. Typically, window blinds can be suitable for small rooms because they make rooms seem larger. Curtains make rooms feel cosy and increase insulation. Always try to choose fabrics that are easy to clean and are durable.
Top tip for furnishing a buy-to-let: Window coverings in a south-facing room should be pale to avoid fading in strong sunlight.
Flooring in buy-to-lets
As a general rule, choose flooring based on the amount of foot traffic and the room’s purpose. Choose carpets with medium tones for bedrooms, stairs and possibly the living room. Hard flooring — tiles, laminate or hardwood — is best for high traffic areas. For example, tiles are ideal for kitchens and laminate or wood flooring for halls and kitchens.
It’s also good to note that laminate floors are more durable than hardwood, but they may scratch easily. Wood floors are also very durable, but they do require additional maintenance.
Install affordable lighting
Install energy-efficient lighting like LED lightbulbs. LED lighting for landlords has several advantages. First, they last longer and need replacing less often. Second, LED lights are more durable and harder to break. Lastly, LED illumination minimizes the risk of burning.
However, there is another consideration for buy-to-let landlords. Increasing a building’s energy efficiency can help your property meet the minimum ratings for the compulsory Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Furniture in a furnished but-to-let
Here are some tips for what type of furniture to provide in your rental for individual rooms:
Living room — Essential pieces of furniture include armchairs, sofas, and a coffee table. It’s also best to provide built-in media units made from wood rather than chipboard.
Bedrooms — Beds, bedside tables and wardrobe space are must-haves in a furnished buy-to-let. Mattresses can be a considerable expense for many landlords. Make sure you get a good quality mattress that will last. Provide a mattress protector to protect the mattress from stains and wear.
Kitchen — As a minimum, kitchens should have fitted cupboards, a hob and oven and a fridge-freezer. To provide the best service, consider adding a washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher. You may also wish to provide a dining table and chairs.
Furnish to your tenants’ needs
When furnishing a buy-to-let, it’s crucial to furnish a buy-to-let to the standards your tenants want and can afford. In the prime Central London rental market, you would want to provide high-quality, luxury furniture that’s modern and durable.
Health and safety regulations
All upholstered furniture and furnishings you supply must comply with fire safety regulations. Therefore sofas, cushioned seats, chairs, or mattresses must be marked with the fire-resistant symbol. It is also vital that tenants don’t remove these.
It’s a requirement to provide smoke alarms on each floor. In addition, you must supply carbon monoxide detectors in any rooms containing fuel-burning boilers, stoves, fireplaces, gas cookers and gas heaters.
After furnishing your buy-to-let, don’t forget to insure your building and contents. However, you must inform the insurance company that the property is a rental. On the other hand, the cheaper option for you would be to state in the rental lease that tenants must take out tenants’ liability insurance.
Renting Your Property in London
If you’re a landlord looking to rent your property in Central London and are unsure whether to furnish it, get in touch with our expert lettings team today on the contact details shown below. We have extensive experience in helping landlords to successfully rent their properties across Fitzrovia, Marylebone, Soho, Mayfair, Covent Garden and the surrounding areas.