Renovating your buy-to-let on a budget
Renting is becoming more and more common as the property ladder remains out of reach for so many people. With rental properties in high demand, it’s important to keep your buy-to-let property as well maintained as possible for it to stand out and hold its own against the competition and attract new tenants.
Renovating your buy-to-let on a budget
If you’re thinking of undertaking a little renovation project in your buy-to-let, it can be easy to go overboard. Be sure not to spend too many pennies on improvements that won’t necessarily add value. Set a budget, do the maths and make smart choices. Here’s a few simple ways to add value to your rental property that won’t break the bank…
Invest in your kitchen and bathroom
Think about it; lounges, bedrooms, hallways and dining rooms are essentially empty rooms with no fixtures or fittings. They can be personalised and styled up in pretty much any way an individual would want. Kitchens and bathrooms however are a different matter. You won’t want your tenants ripping out cupboard units, baths or sinks because they aren’t to their taste, so you need to give them something that already looks great.
Of course, refitting an entire kitchen might not be in everyone’s renovation budget. If you can invest, then you’ll likely make your pennies back on it so it’s worth your efforts. If not however, you could hit a few easy wins and give cupboard doors a lick of paint to keep them looking on trend. Dark colours such as navy blue and dark grey look great when contrasted with white or light coloured work surfaces, walls and tiling. It looks super sophisticated and also adds depth and dimension to a room, making it look bigger and more open. Also, make sure your appliances are up to date, fresh and in good working order. If you can install a few mod-cons such as an induction hob or a fancy coffee machine to entice tenants, then even better.
Bad flooring can really let a property down. Carpets are amongst the cheapest flooring choices but they can get stained, worn, burn and they trap odours. When you’re trusting other people to look after your property, you might be better playing it safe and sticking to hard flooring. It’s much easier to maintain and keep clean.
Laminate flooring is a great choice for rentals. It’s more affordable than many other hard floorings and it’s pretty easy to install, so no need to pay out for professional fitters. You can get a huge range of styles and colours. White or grey wooden effect laminate is perfect for giving a neutral, premium feel. If for any reason the flooring you choose isn’t to your tenants taste, it’s nothing they can’t fix with a few choice rugs.
Turn practical items into design features when renovating your buy-to-let on a budget
Could you maximise and improve any features that your property already has? For instance, you could swap out a standard light fitting in the kitchen or lounge and install a show-stopper instead. Contemporary, statement lights are a great way to give a property the edge. Opt for an industrial style, exposed filament light in the kitchen, or perhaps a modern take on a chandelier in the lounge. You might be dubious about installing something so nice that could easily get broken, so be sure you have all the right contents insurance in place. You can compare landlord insurance policies over on CIA.
Alternatively, could you add a window seat to a large bay window? It makes for extra seating, a comfy spot to curl up in and special something that other properties in the market probably won’t have. You might be surprised when looking around just how many practical things within your property you can turn into a design feature.
Upcycle your furniture
When dealing with many renovation costs, splashing out on a luxurious new sofa might be out of the question – especially when your tenants might not take as good care of it as you would. Unless it’s truly awful, there’s things you can do to transform a sofa and make it a comfortable and cosy place to sit.
You could re-cover your current sofa with a fresh and stylish fabric. Keep it neutral to appeal to the masses. That way, your tenants can adorn it with colourful cushions and throws to put their own personal stamp on it. A typical two seater sofa only requires around eight metres of fabric, so this is an inexpensive DIY job to try your hand at.
Renovating your buy-to-let on a budget – Keep it well-lit
You’d be surprised at how much difference a well-lit property can make. Poor lighting can be unwelcoming and somewhat depressing – and that’s the last thing you want tenants to be feeling when in your property. It’s important to think about both natural light and artificial light. In terms of natural light, think about how to get as much into your rooms as possible. Nothing quite compares to natural light to lift your mood and keep a property well-lit. Could you install a skylight? These work particularly well in kitchens or open-plan spaces.
In terms of artificial lighting, spotlights are often the most effective way of ensuring a room is well-lit. They work well for kitchen, dining spaces and bathrooms. For bedrooms and lounges, opt for something a little softer. Your tenants will want to create a soft and warm atmosphere for the evenings when winding down.
Choose warm-toned bulbs as opposed to cool. Warm bulbs instantly make a room feel more relaxing and welcoming.
Renovating your buy-to-let on a budget is a feature post you might also like my post on renting your first house