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10 tips for a profitable refurbishment

June 2017

For landlords, the benefits of investing in interior design are numerous. Not only will you keep future occupants happy, an attractively presented property will draw more interest from potential tenants, and help reduce the risk of void periods. A simple refurbishment can lead to an increase in rental income and boost the property's sale value. 

When you do come to refurbish or redesign your buy-to-let property, there are things you can do to make sure you reap the financial rewards. Here are our tips for a profitable refurbishment:  

1) Repaint when necessary

If the walls or ceilings could do with a lick of paint, make sure they are seen to. Repainting the interiors will make a huge difference to the appearance of the property when potential tenants view it. A well-kept, presentable property will likely appeal to more people, helping you secure a good tenant more quickly.  

2) Update the bathroom/kitchen

The kitchen and bathroom are arguably the most important rooms for tenants, so focus your energies there. Updates can be minimal, whether it be changing the worktops in the kitchen, repainting the cabinets, or installing new taps and fixtures in the bathroom.  

3) Opt for modern fixtures

This isn't to say that modern fixtures are better in terms of design. Often they aren't. Rather it's about making sure the property looks fresh and up to date. Make sure to install new fixtures – whether it's in the bathroom, kitchen, utility area, or bedrooms - which are fit for purpose, function well, and look appealing. 

4) How are the carpets doing?  

This is an obvious one, but stained, threadbare carpets will not sell the property to tenants. Good quality carpet can be expensive, but our advice is to either invest in a hard-wearing carpet, or install different flooring throughout communal parts of the property. If you do want to install carpet, ask the carpet retailer what type of carpet would be best in a buy-to-let property.  

5) Spend a little extra on quality flooring/carpeting

This follows on from the point above. The flooring/carpets receive the most wear and tear, so it's important to install durable floors, such as a heavy-duty, wood effect vinyl floor. This should prove more durable and versatile than, say, laminate flooring, which can cause problems if it gets damp. 

6) Decorate with your target tenant in mind

Consider who your target tenants are. Are they a family? Are they young professionals, or students? You should then consider what they will need/want from their temporary home. It's always best to keep things neutral, but make sure you tailor the property to their needs.  

7) Keep it impersonal

Again, keep it neutral. This will allow potential tenants to see how they can put their own personal stamp on the property. Remember, this is not a property that you will be living in, so don't decorate according to your specific tastes, create a blank canvas for your tenants.  

8) Invest in better quality bathroom fittings

It’s a false economy to fit the bathroom/s with cheap fittings. Good quality fittings should last for many years, and can be fitted to suit most sinks/baths etc. Quality fittings will immediately enhance the look of the bathroom, which will appeal to potential tenants. 

9) Set a budget 

Think of what rent you'll be charging. There's no point in spending a lot on refurbishing the property if you don't expect to recoup those funds over the years through rent. The trick is to identify where to invest more money, and where you can save. We advise not skimping on carpets/flooring, bathroom fittings, white goods, and even paint (you'll notice the difference between cheaper paint, which doesn't last as long as a better quality paint, like Dulux).  

10) Find a letting agent that also offers refurbishment services

A letting agent that also offers a refurbishment service will ensure the work carried out is appropriate for a rental property, giving you guidance on how to redecorate in order to maximise returns. 

At Oscar Knight we offer a complete interior design and refurbishment service for properties in the Putney, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, and Battersea areas. So whether you're an overseas landlord or you live locally to your buy-to-let property, we can carry out any refurbishment work you need, helping you to maximise your investment potential.