Landlord Tips: How to Renovate a Buy-To-Let Rental Property

Getting a buy-to-let property ready for a new tenant is always a tough task. Though painting and decorating a buy-to-let property is an investment, many landlords get sidetracked by personal taste or end up overspending on high-spec, unnecessary features. However, making sure the rental property looks good is key to achieving the best rent, so we spoke to Portico estate agents and asked the question, “What does an ideal rental property look like?” Here’s what they had to say.

Renters have spoken…

Interestingly, Portico recently provided 1,000 people (each of whom were looking to rent, with a budget of approximately 400 per week) with a choice of several options for the reception room in a property, and asked them to choose the most appealing one. Watch the video to see the results!

Tenant survey results:

Modern: 41%

Simple, modern furniture, neutral colours, contemporary laminate flooring

Homely: 38%

Homely. Leather sofas, antique pieces and painted walls

Quirky: 12%

Decorated with a feature wall, quirky pieces, wooden floor and neutral furniture

Minimalist: 9%

Simple and chic, with minimal furniture, blinds and bright white walls

The results show how important to get the right balance of outlay when preparing your property for rental. Though the winning room was by no means the most expensive to create, it still appealed to the broadest range of tenants. Here are some more top tips for landlords:

Stick to neutral paint colours

Most landlords re-paint the walls at each new tenancy, so you’ll make your life much easier if you stick to white or neutral colours. After all, it will be much harder to go from deep purple to white if a tenant says they don’t like the dark hues.

White is a cost-effective paint that comes in a number of popular shades, plus it gives a rental property a new, clean look.

Make sure the property is clean for viewings

It sounds super obvious, but cleanliness is so important to renters. Don’t show the property to tenants before cleaning it – first impressions count, and seeing the property in a bad light could be enough for a tenant to say no and look elsewhere.

Focus on the bathroom and kitchen

The bathroom and kitchen are the most important hubs of any rental property. However, a different set of rules apply when to renovating or decorating a kitchen or bathroom in a buy-to-let property rather than your own.

The general rule of thumb is to spend around 5 per cent of the value of the property on the kitchen and about 1 per cent on the bathroom. For rental properties, reduce this to around 3-4 per cent for kitchens and under 1 per cent for the bathroom/s.

Less is more, so don’t spend on high-spec features and replace or ‘make over’ rather than renovate where you can. For example:

  • Reface or refinish your cabinets or surfaces instead of replacing them
  • Refinish your appliances if they’re outdated or need that stainless-steel look to increase visual appeal.

Choose laminate wooden flooring

As Portico’s survey revealed, laminate flooring is a win in rented property as it’s easy to clean and maintain, looks new and modern, plus it’s affordable for the landlord.

If you are stuck on carpet, a neutral or beige carpet is best.

Make sure the property is camera ready

So, your rental property is looking fantastic, the final step is to make sure that your agent (if the property is managed) offers professional photography to really sell your property to potential tenants. Of course, if you manage the property yourself, hire a professional photographer to get some great shots done. If you follow the steps above, your property will let in no time and you can avoid the voids!

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