London Landlords- to furnish or not to furnish that is the question
Whilst the debate over this question may not haunt you like a Shakespearean ghost, it is a tough and important question for almost any London Landlord. Here are some key things to consider:
Probably the most important thing to understand here is who your 'target tenant' is and go from there. This isn't just a case of super-imposing your wishes on the local market but understanding what categories of Tenants rent in your vicinity and which of those you most wish to attract. Once you have figired this out, you can then form this decision based on their requirements.
It's an Investment
Remember, this isn't your home it's an investment and, as such, the figures should dictate most decisions of this nature. You need to understand what quality and range of furniture you shoud provide- getting this wrong can be a waste of money, reduce the rental value of your property and lead to increased void periods. You then need to understand the outlay, the financial return on this investment and how long you expect the furniture to last. Ideally you need something that loooks great, will last at least 5 years (preferably 10+) but is reasonably priced. Again a good furnishing company, or quality expert agent, will be able to assist with this.
Rush or Wait
Of course, you don't always have to decide straight away. You might want to wait and see- offering to furnish if people need this. However, you need to be cautious of a few things here:
- Does the property show well empty (smaller rooms & properties typically look smaller if unfurnished)?
- Individual taste- careful not to let one tenant dictate how the property should be furnished (they can have input but 1 person's taste is too specific)
- How quickly do you want it let and how quickly can you furnish it?
What to buy
Again, local markets will affect this. In some areas, Tenants expect everything to be there including essential electrical goods, TVs and other itmes such as bookshelves, sidebaords, artwork and so on. In others they will be very happy with the key essentials- bed, wardrobe, sofa and a dining set. Again, it is important to understand your target's needs and desires to make sure you acheive the 'sweetspot'.
If you are happy to furnish then you need to understand the allotted timeframes involved. If you use an industry supplier such as David Phillips, these concerns are limited with many items available for next day delivery in London- but you are restricted to their stock. If you wish to purchase from other mainstream retailers such as Ikea, DFS and Habitat then make sure you understand ordering schedules. After all no pint agreeing a deal with a tenant only to tell them they'll have no sofa for the first 4-6 weeks.
The trick is giving the property a strong look without making it too 'marmite' (love/hate). You want the property to look stylish, potentially nodding its head to several complimentary styles, without going for one. This will attract a broad range of decent tenants and offers. If you struggle have a furnishings company/service help and advise or talk to your chosen letting agent.