Whether you’re a seasoned property manager preparing your latest investment or an accidental landlord who’s wondering how to let your home, decorating is a key consideration. It’s important to find the right balance between making the accommodation attractive to tenants and managing your costs. Here are our top tips.
Create a canvas
A neutral palette is the go-to, and this instinct is backed up by solid research. One YouGov poll found that 72% of tenants prefer neutral rather than vibrant shades. When choosing the colour scheme, consider whether you’re creating a warm and cosy or cool and fresh atmosphere, and which demographic you’re targeting. Young people are more likely to appreciate a splash of colour. For skirting boards and doors, bear in mind that plain white emulsion shows up dirt and grime. An off-white shade will provide a cleaner and longer-lasting effect.
Gloss and satin paint will give a wipe-clean finish that could help postpone the next round of decorating. Laminate flooring is cheap, hardy and easy to clean, and comes in a range of effects from oak to tile. It also gives your property a modern feel which will appeal to a wide range of tenants. Aim to combine contemporary with cosy using machine washable rugs and curtains.
If you decide to invest in a new kitchen or bathroom, focus on the main components – including the shower, cupboards and hob – rather than overspending on smaller fittings like taps and handles. These items are unlikely to sway potential tenants. Instead look at examples that are affordable, durable and easy to clean.
If you’re trying to appeal to the top end of your market, focus on high-end essentials like energy efficient, well-designed appliances, rather than bold design features. Avoid clutter, however, as tenants are often concerned about storage space. With that in mind, consider investing in smart, space-saving solutions.
Finally, ensure your investment makes financial sense before spending. If the renovation will take ten years to recoup based on a small increase in rental income, you may want to reconsider. If you do go ahead, remember that certain investments in your rental property can be written off for tax purposes. Keep a record of what you spend and submit it to HMRC at the end of the tax year.