Preparing the property

Furnished v Unfurnished

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Furnishing a property does not absolutely guarantee that you will be able to charge more rent for it. In most cases you will be able to, but the difference is not as much on a monthly basis as you might expect. Having said that, some exclusive properties will almost be required to be furnished to an exceptional standard.

As a rule of thumb, tenants usually prefer smaller properties such as one or two bedroom flats to be furnished, whilst larger houses, which attract families who probably already have furniture, are in greater demand when let unfurnished. But you always get exceptions to the norm, and you will eventually be able to find tenants for unfurnished small properties and furnished large properties.

Legally there is no difference in the type of tenancy agreement.

Unfurnished
An unfurnished property will have only the bare minimum. This must normally include carpets or other floor coverings, curtains and white goods such as a fridge and freezer, oven and possibly a washing machine. You won't get beds, lounge furniture or much else in an unfurnished property apart from the things already mentioned.

With an unfurnished property, you will not be eligible for the 10% wear and tear taxation allowance. This is one reason why some landlords will part furnish a property as this then allows them the tax breaks.

Furnished
Furnishing the property usually gives it a broader appeal as there are generally more tenants looking for furnished property. 'Furnished' means different things to different people, with some properties that get let as furnished containing little more than the items mentioned above. Most lettings agents will indicate that the furnishings are somewhat sparse, by advertising the property as part furnished.

The bare minimum is kitchen appliances, fittings and fixtures, curtains, carpets and beds and often lounge furniture. Then again, you can find landlords who will provide absolutely everything, right down to bed linen, kitchen utensils, cutlery, pots, pans, crockery, curtains, shelving units, bedside tables, a microwave, toaster, kettle, vacuum cleaner - basically everything you can think of that you would find in a normal home, apart from personal artefacts.

The crucial thing is that a furnished property should be ready for immediate occupation. For this reason, they are often offered on an 'as seen' basis, which means that you get everything that is in the property apart from the stuff that belongs to the tenants.

One of the major downsides to providing furnished property is the increased cost of equipping the property in the first place. This can add a substantial amount to the overall cost of the venture. Also, the higher the standard in the first place, the greater the cost of maintaining the standard. The 10 percent wear and tear allowance probably won't be sufficient to cover the cost of this over a long period of time. You also have to make sure that all the furnishings and furniture is compliant with all the safety regulations, adding further hassle.

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