If you’ve invested in a property and are seeking ways to give your property an ‘edge’, there is no doubt a well-presented property is more attractive and appealing to potential tenants and, although it may not always increase rental return, it will help attract a quality tenant and reduce void periods.
What is staging?
Home staging is a term used to describe preparing a home to go onto the market to attract potential tenants, therefore letting quickly and often for a higher value.
Landlords can achieve the same effect that home staging has on the sales market, using the same principles to maximise the potential of a property for the rental market, but why?
Let’s take two new build homes, both exactly the same in design and finish, the only difference being one has been staged – dressed to appeal to buyers – and the other is an empty shell. The staged home will get more of a reaction because it already feels like a home, with potential buyers able to picture themselves living there immediately. The undressed home needs lots of imagination, which sadly not all of us have.
It does take time and some investment to stage a property, but the results are worth it. It doesn’t need to be as big a job as you might imagine, even if you are renting your property unfurnished. But before you start, make sure you are clear on the type of tenant you are seeking to attract.
Walls are bound to take some rough and tumble throughout a tenancy, no matter how careful your tenants are – just think about your own home, especially if you have children! You should use quality, durable paint and choose silk finishes rather than matt as they can handle a little more action; this will make it easier for you and your tenants to wipe away any small spills or marks.
Neutral shades should generally be used, but don’t just stick to the industry-standard magnolia – ‘neutral’ covers a wide range of shades for you to explore – taupes, greys, and off-whites should all be given consideration.
Flooring should be practical and hardwearing, but also attractive; ideally you should have carpets in living spaces and bedrooms, and laminate, stone, tile or wooden floors in the kitchen, dining room, bathrooms and entrance hall. Think about each room and what would be the best fit; again, keep in mind your budget and the type of tenants you are looking to attract.
For example, in a high-end rental you wouldn’t use cheap laminate flooring and, similarly, for a property at the lower end of the market the expense of a real wood floor would not be appropriate.
Light can transform how a space feels; a dark room can feel drab and small, whereas when it’s filled with natural or artificial light, it is the opposite. Natural light flooding into rooms is always best, so during viewings ensure that any curtains and blinds are fully open.
Rather than a single pendant bulb in the centre of the room, investing in modern lighting, whether halogen or highly-efficient LED units, will give real impact to any room but particularly functional ‘task areas’ such as the kitchen, utility & bathroom.
The natural light in some rooms may be poor, and the time of year also affects the amount of light through windows, so always ensure the bulbs of all light fittings are working before marketing a property and that they have enough strength to light the room fully. Switching all lights on during viewings, regardless of the time of day, will ensure your property is seen by potential tenants at it’s best.
Don’t forget the exterior of the property also; your tenants want to feel safe, and knowing that a property is well lit will help them to feel secure.
Make sure outside spaces are also presentable, particularly at the front as this will be the first area potential tenants see, so needs to make a great first impression. Also, if the property has a garden, the difference a little weeding and pruning can make is really worth it. Applicants will be able to imagine themselves spending time in the garden, rather than seeing it as an unusable space.
For furnished lets you can completely transform a space by adding a selection of colourful and beautiful furnishings. Liven up a sofa with a selection of contemporary cushions, a bedroom with crisp white bedding, a bathroom with fluffy, same-coloured towels, and place settings in your dining area. Make sure you keep to a colour scheme, and only select accessories that complement your chosen palette.
Over to you
I don’t believe in micromanaging my clients, but what I do want to do is give the best advice I can to ensure you are getting the most out of your properties, whilst meeting the needs of today’s tenants. For more advice on maximising the potential within your property and portfolio, just give me a call on 01233 663266.
As always, if you are currently considering a particular property as an investment, I would be pleased to give you an opinion on it; just send a link to the property listing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.