It could be argued that renovating property to rent is an inevitable part of being a landlord. After all, there must surely come a day when a given home on a landlord’s books will need a little (or a lot of) TLC.
Regardless of whether this argument holds water, there are definitely right and wrong ways to go about restoring a rental. Today’s post is all about showing you how to get the renovation results both you and your tenants want.
Let’s jump straight in, shall we?
Plan out your rental renovation
This should go without saying, but it can be easy to overlook the obvious and wait for the inventory report to hit the mat. Naturally, this would be a mistake.
If you know for sure that certain things are going to need attention when your current tenancy agreement comes to an end, it’s well worth taking the time to plan the work out in advance. Failing to do so runs the risk of extending the void period unnecessarily, which ultimately means money down the drain.
Regardless of whether you’re simply repainting the interior or redoing the roof, planning the project well before work begins will allow you to gather the required materials and hire the right people for the job. Don’t leave things until the last minute. It’ll come back to bite you...usually in the pocket!
Set a date and timescale
Once you have a basic idea of what the renovation entails and have planned accordingly, the next step is to estimate how long the work will take and schedule it into your diary. Remember, the number one priority should be to keep the void period as short as possible, so you should explore all avenues that could potentially save time.
Ask the current occupants if they would be open to the idea of work commencing whilst they are still in situ. If they are, great! You can get a headstart. If they don’t give you consent, that’s great, too, as you’ll now have a solid start date - namely, the day after they move out!
As for how long it’ll take, you can only really estimate this part of the project, but be realistic and incorporate a little leeway for any I-didn’t-see-that-coming moments as well.
Don’t be cheap
Although saving money wherever and whenever you possibly can may seem like the best course of action, great landlords know that this isn’t the most prudent move you can make. A more sensible course of action is to strike a balance between the initial outlay and the longevity of the changes made.
A simple example would be replacing a washing machine or any other big electrical appliance. It can be extremely tempting to pop online to your retailer of choice and filter the results by ‘lowest price first’. But, will that sub-£200 washing machine actually end up costing you more than if you opted for a £300 appliance instead? Buy cheap, buy twice, springs to mind.
Same goes if you’re decorating. Cheap gloss looks good on paper, but not on your woodwork. Spending a bit more on good quality materials will generally pay you back handsomely in the long run, and could be the difference between a bit of touching up and completely redecorating again when your new tenancy finally comes to an end.
Far too often, landlords get carried away and try to do too much, adding personal touches they would love to their rental. Here’s the thing...it’s not going to be you living there, so don’t waste your money.
Keep it neutral and let your tenants put their stamp on it, not yours.
If in any doubt, call a contractor
Before we get to the top 10 things to tackle when renovating rented accommodation, you really should have this subheading in the back of your mind. Yep, if you are uncertain over your ability to perform any of the tasks required to make your rental renovation a triumph, get someone who knows what they’re doing on board to help out.
Yes, hiring contractors costs far more than a DIY job, but only if your skills are up to scratch. A failed attempt means the professionals will need to be called anyway, so save yourself the time and the hassle. Skip the heroics and hire accordingly.
Renovating property to rent: The top 10 to tackle
So, now that we’ve got that lot out of the way, it’s time to run through the top 10 things landlords take on when renovating rental properties.
Do away with damp
Damp and mould are common problems for landlords, so it’s not unusual to see this hit our top 10. Whether the root cause is condensation or a damaged damp course, this is something that needs addressing sooner rather than later.
Change the locks
Changing the locks of your rental property every time a tenant moves out can seem excessive, but it’s a job that definitely needs taking care of. Changing the locks will give both you and your new tenant peace of mind, which is something you can’t put a price on.
Repaint the walls and woodwork
Standard stuff, but a lick of paint can work wonders nonetheless. While it’s still wise to keep your rented accommodation neutral, don’t be scared to move away from magnolia. Depending on natural light, a slightly darker tone might have greater longevity as well, so keep that in mind, too.
Think about flooring
Whether it’s cleaning the carpets or upgrading the floor altogether, flooring is often on the renovation agenda when landlords are in between tenancies. If you are thinking of redoing the floor from scratch, laminate flooring is a great choice and nowhere near as expensive as it once was.
Laminate flooring is also pretty easy to lay yourself and frequently comes with 10 years or more guarantee.
Change or paint kitchen cupboards
Kitchen cabinets and cupboards can take a bit of a bashing in rented property, so they are often cited as areas that need attention when tenants move out.
If you are replacing the doors, consider upgrading the hinges as well. These doors are worked hard, so spending a little more on moving parts is often money well spent.
For paint jobs, you’ll need a water-based polyurethane to go over the acrylic latex paint and any time spent preparing the cabinets before the brush comes out is always repaid double, so don’t skimp on cleaning, keying, and priming.
Replace old windows
One of the larger projects on our list, especially in terms of outlay, is changing the windows. Granted, this won’t happen often but, if you find yourself in a position where they need replacing, this is one of those jobs you really shouldn’t put off.
Poorly maintained or fitted windows can cause no end of problems for landlords, and even the smallest issue can soon turn into a big pain in the neck. Bite the bullet and get the windows in your rental replaced or repaired as soon as possible.
Update white goods
White goods often fall into the you-get-what-you-pay-for category, so bear that in mind if any of yours need replacing. Don’t disregard the option of buying a better quality brand second hand if the deal is right, as many white goods hit auction sites in ‘almost new’ condition thanks to our obsession with upgrades.
Freshen up furniture
Tired old furniture can be given a new lease of life by way of a little bit of TLC and some upcycling knowledge. If you find yourself faced with buying new stuff for a furnished rental, think outside the box and see if you can give some second hand pieces a fresh new look.
Tidy the front
Kerb appeal isn’t restricted to those looking to sell up and move on, it can also help attract more tenants, too. You don’t need to go to extremes, but a quick spruce up can make a massive difference. Think about repainting the front door, weeding the front garden, washing the windows, etc.
Brighten the back
For those who are renting property with either a backyard or garden, the rear of the property is just as important as the front. Again, things don’t need to be perfect, but they should definitely be tidy and in a good state of repair.
That’s it for renovating property to rent, we hope you found it useful. If you’re a landlord and would like to find out more about our management services or our lettings expertise, give us a call today. We’d love to talk property with you.