The growth in the number of rental properties available over recent years means renters can often afford to be a little more discerning in their choice of property.
Some renters are happy to pay over the odds for the most desirable or practical properties, and landlords can increase their rental income by making some shrewd improvements.
1. Focus on kitchens and bathrooms
The old adage says that that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, so it stands to reason that the same should apply to rental properties.
Giving an investment property a bit of attention could help it rent out faster, and for a better price. A renovation doesn’t have to mean a complete rip-out-and-replace affair. Landlords could:
• Paint the walls.
• Replace cupboard doors and countertops.
• Replace tiling and steam-clean the grout.
• Update door handles and taps.
… or any combination of the above.
Whatever they choose to do, they should ensure both kitchen and bathroom are sparklingly clean when it comes to viewings.
2. Add a conservatory
If the outside space allows, a conservatory could be a relatively inexpensive way of increasing the amount of living space available – especially for new-build family homes, which can sometimes prioritise bedrooms and leave the layout of the house unbalanced.
A conservatory could also help to emphasise fashionable indoor/outdoor living, and act as a bridge between a kitchen or lounge and the garden.
3. Use light smartly
As a general rule, larger homes command larger rents. And since light can make a home feel larger, using it intelligently can boost income.
Depending on the layout of your property, landlords could approach this from several angles:
• Roof lights and light tunnels can introduce natural light to dark spots and attic bedrooms.
• Cleverly-placed mirrors can amplify the effects of natural light from existing windows.
• Using higher-wattage lightbulbs in areas where it’s impossible to introduce natural light.
• Replace bulky curtains with blinds that can be fully opened during viewings.
4. Create an en suite
Dividing off part of the master bedroom to create a small en suite bathroom can make a property more appealing, especially to young professional sharers. In a two-bedroom property, this will give them a bathroom each.
While this in itself may not increase the rental price significantly, it could certainly make it easier to rent out – reducing void periods, and therefore contributing towards a larger overall rental income.
5. Refresh the garden
Outside space is the Holy Grail for some renters, so presenting a garden as both tidy and useful can help inflate the potential rental income.
Landlords needn’t go to great lengths with expensive plants or water features, but ‘zoning’ the space can help potential tenants visualise their life there. Perhaps create somewhere with seating, and leave a portion of space open if your target tenants are families with children. Remember that turf can make a garden more high-maintenance, so could be a turn-off for some renters.
Funding your renovations
If a landlord doesn’t have the money needed for a planned refurbishment, they could elect to take out a secured loan (or ‘mini mortgage’). Even if their circumstances would otherwise prevent them from obtaining credit, lenders such as Together may be able to help.