You may have just bought your first buy-to-let property, you may be rejuvenating an existing property or you may even be just trying to attract a different kind of tenant – whatever your reasons for decorating are, there are some key considerations you should take into account.
1. Audience & budget
Before you start to plan decorating, or even your budget, have a think about the area your property is in, the rent you’re going to charge and what kind of tenants you’re looking to attract.
This way, you can consider what your prospective or ideal tenants will be looking for in a property and plan accordingly.
For example, a family of four may want somewhere comfortable, durable and easy to keep clean. On the other hand, a young professional may just ask for the basics, but would want it to look moderately stylish and be able to put their own stamp on it.
When budgeting, think about the rent you hope to be receiving and make sure you don’t overspend - it’s easy to forget about the return on investment.
The less you need to redecorate between tenancies, the better. Everything you buy for this project should have some aspect of durability. Larger items, such as flooring (including carpet), appliances/white goods and furniture (if applicable) should be bought in a slightly better quality – with warranties where possible. These items will be used time and time again and will show signs of wear faster than anything else. Replacing a carpet every 2 years may start to become expensive!
3. Look & feel
A mistake many landlords make is decorating to their own tastes. Keep it neutral, long-lasting and as high quality as your budget allows and you’ll attract tenants much more easily than if everything were purple. It’s easy to get carried away with making the place look amazing but, remember, you’re not going to be living there. If it’s neutral enough for your tenants to make it look like home, they’re more likely to stay.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete the project. Every month it takes is another month where you’re paying the mortgage without rent coming in to offset it.
Concentrate on correcting damage, safety issues and structural problems first – as well as getting rid of any mould. This is far more important in the long run than the way your property looks.
Prioritise decorating on what will make the biggest differences to the look and feel of the space. It’s amazing what a lick of paint and a new carpet can do, even if you didn't get a chance to replace the kitchen cupboards.