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To furnish or not to furnish: Landlord advice for your rental property

To furnish or not to furnish: this is a question we are often asked by landlords. The truth is, there's no one-size-fits-all answer as there are a number factors that that should be taken into consideration such as property type, location and prospective tenant profile. We’ve put together a list of key considerations to help you make an informed choice.

Who are your prospective tenants?

This is largely linked to the type of property you are renting out and the area that property is in.

Family homes are likely to attract… you’ve guessed it… families, and longer term renters who usually come with their own furniture and like to make the place feel like home. This can often mean that the tenants will likely to want to occupy the property for some time, as the prospect of regularly moving a house full of furniture is unappealing to most tenants.

Conversely, there are many who actively seek furnished homes. For example, flats and apartments in high density locations are often favoured by first time renters and young professionals, so a degree of furnishings and fittings can make a move much less costly.  

Part furnished is a common hybrid option, favoured by lots of our landlords, and involves providing the minimum bulky items to tenants, such as beds, sofa, wardrobes, and maybe dining table/chairs. The tenants can then bring their own smaller personal belongings, but don’t have to worry about buying or moving larger items.

If you plan to accommodate short term lets, then fully furnishing the property is almost always required, to include cutlery, crockery, bedding, towels, etc. Short term tenants are essentially looking for a ready-made home to be provided, and they will have their own fully furnished home elsewhere.

Flexibility is key, but not essential

Being open to accommodating tenants' furniture preferences will give your property the broadest appeal and will maximise the amount of potential tenants for you. Of course, if the property is already furnished and you have no means of removing or storing furniture, then it doesn’t make sense to offer it as unfurnished, but you will inevitably exclude your property from some tenants’ searches in that instance. Equally, offering your property as unfurnished only will inevitably exclude other tenants for the same reason.

Ultimately, giving tenants the opportunity to rent with or without furniture is always the best option, but where it’s not possible or viable, there is no need to worry, a suitable tenant can always be found with the right marketing.

If you decide to rent your property unfurnished, it's still a good idea to "dress" a couple of the rooms for marketing photographs. This enables prospective tenants to envisage what it would be like to live in the space, likely leading to more viewings, compared to photos of empty rooms, which can sometimes be a little uninspiring, even in the hands of the best photographer.

Furnished Properties: The Essentials

If you opt to provide a furnished or part furnished property, bear in mind that a high-quality specification can potentially command a premium. However, it's important to note that furnishing a property won't necessarily yield a higher rent than an unfurnished one.

When furnishing, remember that today's tenants have high expectations for furniture and fittings, especially in areas where the rents are relatively high. Allocate a reasonable budget for items that enhance the property's appeal and longevity. In terms of colours, neutral tones are generally a safe choice, as they allow tenants to personalise their living space with their own decorative accessories.

Lastly, be prepared to invest time in maintaining the property's inventory and ensure that all soft furnishings display visible fire labels in compliance with the Fire and Furnishings Act. The good news is that expenses for fixtures and fittings are tax-deductible.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Finally, consulting a lettings agent can be a prudent move when deciding whether to offer a property furnished. They can provide valuable insights into the local market and help you gauge the property's desirability when furnished. Market trends change over time, and what was true last year may not be true today – your estate agent should have a good insight into exactly what tenants are looking for at any one time. They can also assist with ‘dressing’ your property, to maximise its appeal for the open market.

In conclusion, the decision to furnish or not to furnish your property must take into consideration a number of factors, and it's essential to weigh these up carefully to make an informed choice that aligns with both your financial goals and the preferences of your target tenants.

If you have a property to rent, get in touch today to see how Easthaus can help you.

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