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Preparing the property

Preparing the property

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A lot of the time, you will be showing your property to prospective tenants whilst it is occupied by your current tenants. This makes it a bit difficult to do much to the property in order to influence the opinion of any tenants you show round. Your current tenants will not be too happy about living in the midst of any redecorations or renovations you have planned. However, you can give them an incentive to get the place in tip-top condition for the re-let, with a cash bonus always being a good bet to achieve results.

There will be times when your property is vacant before you let it out. This gives you the opportunity to do all you can to ready the property for new tenants and give yourself the best chance of achieving the highest rent possible.

Before you begin, set yourself a budget and stick to it. Now is not the time to get carried away - this is an investment after all. Keep in mind the 3 main criteria:

  • Cost
  • Non-offensiveness
  • Ease of maintenance

Before you start redecorating, you should carry out any running repairs to your property that are required. These can easily catch the eye of potential tenants if they have not been done, and it's better to do the handyman jobs that could cause a mess before you redecorate. Below is a list of things to check and fix if possible. They won't increase the rental value, but they'll help create a good overall impression:

  • Treat any serious problems such as damp or dry rot.
  • See to faulty door latches so that they shut properly and do not stick.
  • Oil or replace squeaky door hinges.
  • Make sure all your windows open smoothly.
  • Empty or mend guttering so that rain actually flows down the drain rather than pouring over the edge of it.
  • Fix any loose roof tiles and replace any that are missing.
  • Replace any dead light bulbs, preferably with soft lighting.
  • Put new washers into any dripping taps.
  • Mend loose or broken handles.
  • Make sure that all the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen open and shut OK.
  • Check that the doorbell works - if it doesn't, get a new one or replace the battery.
  • Replace any damaged glass anywhere on your property. This will make the place look quite run down.
  • Get some adhesive and stick down any peeling dog eared bits of wallpaper.
  • If it's winter, bleed your radiators and make sure that there are no noisy airlocks in your boiler pipes.
  • Make sure that you fill any small cracks with a thin layer of filler and sand them down before you do any painting.

Most rental properties will need to be repainted every few years at the most. When you do do redecorate, try to be tasteful in the colour schemes you choose. Go for creams or magnolias rather than anything too strong. Once again, making sure that you alienate as few potential tenants as possible is the name of the game.

Refrain from getting carried away. Unless the existing one is in desperate need of replacement, a whole new kitchen or bathroom suite will not raise the rental value by as much as they cost.

As always, think about the kind of tenant you want living in your property and make sure that the property and the contents provided are attractive to and match the general requirements of these potential tenants.

Finally, remember that less is often more. It is better to provide fewer, more essential items of a higher quality, than it is to supply loads of things that won't last. Remember that whatever you do supply you are then obliged to maintain.

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