Today, we are going to talk all things interiors and how I think you can maximise your rental income through a bit of ‘interior styling’.
Interiors are something that I feel very passionately about and I really do believe that thinking hard about them is critical for maximising rental income… so let’s get going.
Firstly, as I am sure you know, the competition in the rental market is getting stronger and stronger. Quite simply your rental property needs to stand out from the rest.
If you don’t stand out, you won’t be the first one to let your rooms and you won’t get the highest rental income.
My one bit of advice that I always live by is… ‘your house needs to be the best house on the street’.
In my opinion, interior design is absolutely one of the most important things that you can do to achieve this.
Creating a beautiful interior gives you an edge, a point of difference, a USP.
I am also aware that over the last few years, more and more investors are putting a lot more thought into interiors and the days of magnolia walls are numbered.
So you could be thinking, ‘if everyone creates beautiful interiors, then how do we continue to stand out?!’
I think the answer to that is that with interior design there is always opportunity to be better, be bolder and be more creative… it isn’t something that stands still.
With that in mind, I have put together my 5 top tips for interior styling to maximise profit…
This one really should just go with out saying, but you do still see beige walls and flooring around. I understand why this route is appealing because you can tend to buy those colours a bit cheaper or in bulk, which does make it cost effective.
However, things are changing and with a bit of planning, shopping around and for not that much more money you really can use colour to create a sense of warmth and to make your property feel instantly inviting and luxurious.
In our houses, we always tend to use colours from high end paint companies… but we don’t use the real deal, we get the colours copied (which you can do at various paint shops). The difference it makes to the feel of our houses is huge and we always get comments from our tenants about the colours.
I really do believe the paint colour is the soul of the house and it is your basis for the rest of the interior design. However, it isn’t all just about the paint. I also really take my time to make sure everything else tones together too… wall colours, flooring, kitchen colours, fabric colours, soft furnishings.
Get samples of everything and put them all together before you buy… make sure the colours and tones compliment each other. Whether your look is a bright pop of colour or a more muted cosy grey… toning everything together really is critical!!
You are creating a home for someone… I think sometimes that’s easy to forget. Going the extra mile with soft furnishings will really make you stand out.
It will make the property feel complete and you want your tenants to instantly be able to imagine themselves living there. The key to this is your ‘nick nacks’ or your ‘homely touches’.
The good news is that with the likes of Ikea, Dunelm Mill, B&Q etc you don’t have to spend a fortune to do this. Hang pictures on walls, put mirrors up, put a rug down, put lamps in, put curtains up, use plants, get some ornaments, put a throw and cushions on the sofa.
These are all little things but they really do make your property feel like a home. If styling isn’t your thing, then take inspiration from other peoples styles… Instagram, Pinterest, house magazines, even a trip round Ikea are all great sources for inspiration!!
This one is always a tricky one. It’s hard to know what the right quality of furnishings to put in to your property are. It is always a toss up with the budget and also the type of tenant you are trying to attract.
At the time of renovation when the budget is already creeping up, it is tempting to save some money and buy cheaper products. However, if you can afford to buy a bit better, then it is something I would strongly recommend.
Things like carpets are a great example to use here… it is tempting to buy a cheaper carpet and I am sure it will probably even look ok in photos. However, for a bit extra per square meter you can change the whole feel of your house and take it from a ‘rental property’ to a ‘luxurious home’.
Not to mention that a better carpet will also last longer and you can even get the bleachable carpets now, which I think is a must in any rental house!!
Another quick example here is tiling… we always fully tile our bathrooms, including floors. It makes them far more luxurious but it also makes them last longer… we get less mould issues and if we were put a vinyl on the floor then we would just be replacing it every few years… which in my opinion is extremely counter productive.
Taking this approach will not only make your house stand out and look like a higher quality rental but the furnishings should last longer too. Which in theory should mean that you aren’t replacing everything every few years, which will ultimately save you money off your top line. It is worth the investment upfront. Buy cheap, buy twice comes to mind here!!
Think about who is going to be living in the house. Think about how they will use the space and style the home to work well for their needs. Each house will vary completely and there is no one stop shop for this. Again this one is also hugely dependant on who your tenants are… a HMO functionality would be totally different to a single let for example.
This is also where thinking about how you are going to furnish the property before you even start renovating really comes into play. I personally furnish every room on paper before we lift a finger. It is critical for me, as it allows me to decide where to put plug sockets, radiators, tv cables etc.
If you know you want a lamp down the side of the sofa, then you know to put a socket there, if you know where your bed is going then you know not to put a radiator in the way… you get the idea!! Think about everything upfront and make decisions.
The key is all in the planning. I also think that really tailoring your property to the tenant you are trying to attract means you are far more likely to attract the right tenant the first time. Ultimately meaning you save time and money and get the property rented much quicker… win win!!
Dressing to sell
You are ultimately selling a lifestyle and home and let’s face it who doesn’t want to
live in a nice house. The photos you use on your adverts need to reflect this. Similarly to my point above about attracting the right tenant… if you are advertising a beautifully presented house, then I truly believe that you are more likely to attract tenants that will respect and look after the house when they live there… something which is every landlords dream!!
There are soft furnishings that you will leave in the house once it’s rented (like the ones above), but there are also soft furnishings that you can just pop in for the photos and viewings. These are things like bedding, candles, diffusers (smell is so important), books, magazines and flowers.
Equally, if you are selling an unfurnished rental, then I would always still furnish and dress it for the advert and the viewings. It is annoying when you know you have to take it all out again and it is a cost, but in my experience you will get a lot more interest in the property and more rent… so it’s worth it.
I have basically created a ‘staging kit’ that I use for this and I move it from house to house. There was an initial investment when I bought it, but once you have the kit you can just use it again and again. So I think it’s an investment worth making!!
So there you have it, my top 5.
There is absolutely no right or wrong with interiors, it’s not a one size fits all. But if you can be creative and think outside the box, then I really do believe that it can make the biggest difference to the success of any property business…
I want to say a huge thank you to Mike and Victoria for having me over here today, it’s been an absolute pleasure and hopefully I will see you all again soon.