Being a landlord comes with some great benefits. Not only is it an investment but it provides means to a regular income. It can also bring stresses and frustrations. Here are some things to consider when decorating and maintaining a rental portfolio.
Furnished or Unfurnished
One thing you must consider is whether you will rent your properties with or without furniture. Whilst the latter can be less popular with tenants, there will always be those who already have furniture and want somewhere unfurnished. There are fewer unfurnished properties available so less competition.
If you do go down the furnished route, the initial outlay can prove quite costly. You will, however, be charging a higher rent so will recoup the costs over time. Don’t fall into the trap of buying things to suit your taste. Try and buy items that will appeal to the masses. You are furnishing a rental portfolio, not your own home.
Set a realistic budget for decoration and furnishings and make sure it falls in line with achievable rent levels for each property. There is no point in spending thousands on expensive wallpaper and Farrow & Ball paint if you are leasing a one-bedroom apartment for a few hundred dollars a month.
Once a budget is set, don’t exceed it. It’s all money off your bottom line so you must stick with your estimated figures where possible.
Whilst going fairly neutral is a good idea, that doesn’t mean your properties need to be painted a sea of magnolia. Don’t be afraid of adding some color and going a bit warmer. Magnolia and white will show marks and stains easily, so going a bit darker isn’t a bad idea. Try and decorate with your target audience in mind.
Choosing the right flooring
If carpets are your preferred choice, you want to choose something that is of fairly decent quality. Buy cheap, buy twice can come into play here. The same goes for underlay. They need to be able to stand up to lots of footfall and regular cleaning so don’t go too cheap!
Laminate can make your property look bigger and achieve a bright and airy feel. If it is not properly looked after however it can look tired and worn out.
Vinyl is a great option to consider. It is very different from the vinyl of decades ago. There are some really good quality options available which you can use throughout your property. It’s not only cost-effective but can also create a professional look.
Not only will regular and timely maintenance make your tenants more likely to remain, it will benefit you too. As stated earlier, these properties are an investment. It is up to you to look after them. Letting a property deteriorate doesn’t benefit anyone.
To ensure that maintenance is carried out efficiently and timeously, it’s a good idea to create partnerships with local companies in advance. If a roof is leaking or a tenant reports a boiler breakdown, a reliable roofer and boiler engineer will be a phone call away. Sometimes, when a tenant vacates, you can discover issues you weren’t aware of. Make sure you know who your local specialists are to deal with bed bug pest control, mice or even cockroach infestations. The sooner matters are dealt with the quicker you can proceed to show and let the property to new tenants.
Its really important you obtain landlords insurance when you have a rental portfolio. Shop around for comparable quotes. It shouldn’t be too costly month on month and could save you thousands in the long run. If renting furnished, make sure you take the necessary buildings and contents cover so you are insured for both.
Setting the right rent levels is important. Whilst you can increase them with a changing market, it is important to get it right. If your expectations are unrealistically high, your property could be unoccupied for some time costing you money. If they are too low, you will get a tenant but won’t maximize your income potential. Do local comparisons and find out how much similar properties are being rented for.
It’s important to ensure that your tenants are looking after your property so it is not uncommon for regular inspections to be carried out. You must give tenants adequate notice of this rather than just turning up. It’s always good to remember that whilst it is your property, it’s their home.