Making sure your buy-to-let property stays looking fresh and inviting is key to attracting and retaining tenants in the long term and helping you to secure the best possible rental income. If your property is in need of a bit of an update, where should you begin and how much time and money should you be devoting to these changes?
That’s exactly what we’ll be covering in today’s blog post. We’ll point out some important things to keep in mind when planning renovations to your buy-to-let property and list some of the best updates and upgrades for your property to attract and maintain tenants and to increase rental value, whatever your budget may be.
Things to consider before you start
1. Your responsibilities as a landlord
Naturally, there are some minimum requirements your property needs to meet in order for it to be considered a safe and adequate home for your tenants, so it’s important to keep yourself up to date on local legislation around tenants’ rights.
Your property needs to have the necessary equipment for water, gas and electricity supply all in good repair. Additionally, any fittings, white goods and furniture you provide should be in a reasonable condition.
If you feel like any of the above things aren’t being properly met or that some of your property’s fittings or appliances are nearing the end of their life cycle, they should be your first priority when it comes to updating your property. Working with a professional property manager is a great way to make sure you remain compliant with local regulations at all times.
2. Do the math
“Sprucing things up a bit” can quickly get addictive – after all, its great to see how you can use your skills and creativity to make your property homely and inviting. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is not your home, but an investment that needs to be profitable, so you need to do a careful cost analysis for any major upgrade you’re considering.
A good way to do this is to study ads for residential property to let in the same area as your flat, paying attention to what these properties have to offer and what kind of rent they’re asking for. A letting agent with substantial experience in working in the same geographical area can also be a highly valuable asset for this cost vs. profit assessment.
Keep in mind also what your main goal is for these upgrades. Is it to attract new tenants with mainly cosmetic fixes or to make more substantial renovations to increase your rental yield or even raise the capital value of your property? This can help you figure out your ballpark budget for the changes. In any case, your investment in improving your property should pay for itself within a set amount of time.
3. Target market
To figure out the most beneficial upgrades to your investment property, it’s also important to keep your target market of prospective tenants in mind.
Want to attract families as long-term tenants? Making some updates to any outdoor spaces your property has and installing higher-end fixtures and surfaces can help you to attract these kinds of renters. Alternatively, if you want to attract students or young professionals, simple, cost-effective and on-trend updates to your decor might just be the thing you need.
Best inexpensive upgrades to buy to let property
When it comes to attracting new tenants, first impressions are everything, so make sure your property is professionally cleaned before viewings. This small investment helps prospective tenants see your property in the best light possible – especially if you have departing tenants still living there. A fresh lick of paint and replacing worn items and fittings are also easy ways to improve your property’s “wow factor”.
Kitchen fittings like taps and sinks can start looking dingy and outdated quickly, so updating them to something fresh and on-trend like oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel can be an easy way to update your kitchen. Changing drawer handles and painting cabinet doors are two additional easy projects for the kitchen.
Storage space is a common headache for renters, especially when it comes to apartment living, so investing in some extra storage space is a simple and affordable way to make your property more appealing. This could be something as simple as some new shelves and hooks for storing items on the walls or perhaps adding a built-in wardrobe or a garden shed to your property.
Renovations requiring a bigger investment
If you want to attract long-term tenants or simply make sure your property is resistant to wear and tear, investing in some bigger renovations and upgrades could be your best bet.
Water and energy bills can really add up, so making sure your flat is as energy efficient as possible can help you attract tenants and keep them for long periods of time. Double glazing, gas central heating and more energy-efficient appliances can help you raise your property’s EPC rating.
Updates to the kitchen and bathrooms are among the best things you can do to increase your property’s rental value. New, higher-quality countertops, better and more durable flooring and clean and stylish tiling are good ways to make your property more inviting and resistant to wear and tear.
Whatever updates you choose to undertake, maintenance is hugely important. Making regular check-ups that you schedule with your tenants well in advance helps you to keep them happy and ensures minimal damage and wear and tear to your property.
If you’re looking for some support for your property investment journey, Cox & Co is here to help. We offer fully-customised support for your buy-to-let investment portfolio every step of the way, from financial planning and mortgages to sourcing you the perfect flat or house to planning renovations and sourcing and managing your tenants on your behalf.