Lara Thake, Property Manager
Lara Thake, from our Property Management team, offers some helpful hints to landlords who are about to market their rental property:
It may sound obvious but one thing tenants consider carefully when they are searching for a property is whether it is well maintained. They often see this is as a reflection of how the property will be looked after by the landlord during their tenancy. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but there are some tell-tale signs that indicate you will be a caring and vigilant landlord:
Is the decoration in order, or is it chipped, scuffed and generally tired? Are there historic leak stains present? Redecorating doesn’t have to be done throughout the property, sometimes the woodwork is in good condition but the walls need freshening up, or vice versa. This may only apply to one room or a hallway, which receive heavier traffic, or it could be that just the external parts of the property require attention. We would not recommend carrying out touch-ups if you need to paint a small area, as this can make the area look patchy. It is usually best to paint the whole wall to ensure uniformity of colour; more often than not, the price difference is smaller than you might expect. If you decide to carry out a full redecoration, it is best to stick to neutral colours, as this will mean your property appeals to a diverse group of people. Sometimes a particular colour can put off a potential tenant, which limits your market.
Are the carpets in good condition or are they discoloured, worn and fraying? If the carpets are in bad condition, it is something that people notice straight away. We spend a lot of time looking down, even if we don’t mean to. In a rental property it may be a good idea to replace the flooring with a hard wearing carpet, as this should wear better and prevent you from having to replace it regularly. Again, if you do decide to replace it, choose neutral colours to please the majority of viewing tenants. As a landlord, you have a responsibility to try to prevent accidents in the property and frayed carpet or rips could potentially cause trips or falls, which in turn could end up costing a lot in legal bills. Sometimes, only small parts of the carpet need to be replaced. If you have been prudent, you may have kept carpet off-cuts from the original installation. This will help if there is a small area with a stain or burn mark and there are contractors out there who can easily replace small areas for you. Alternatively, you should consider keeping a note of the carpet details and the contractor may be able to order a sample piece to use as replacement.
Is the garden tidy or overgrown? More often than not, the garden is the first and last thing a tenant sees on a viewing and outside space tends to become more of a consideration during the warmer weather. Simply cutting back trees/bushes/plants, weeding any flower beds and mowing the lawn can transform an ominous Jumanji-looking garden into an enticing area in which tenants can picture themselves during the summer months.
Is the furniture in good condition or it is tired/frayed? Sometimes no furniture is better than old tatty furniture. If you would rather not incur the cost of replacing the furniture, donate the old furniture to charity and market the property as unfurnished.
Are the window dressings in good condition or are they stained and ripped? Sometimes dry cleaning curtains can cost as much as replacing them and there is no guarantee that dry cleaning will improve their condition. It can be a good idea to recycle your old curtains/blinds and start again with a hard-wearing, tenant-friendly, neutral set of curtains or blinds. Tenants like to be reassured that they will have their privacy when they move into a property, so damaged curtains can be off-putting on a viewing.
Does everything work as it should or will tenants encounter loose door handles, rickety wardrobes and items held together with sticky tape? It does not take a lot to tighten up a door handle, add an extra screw to a wobbly shelf or replace a washer to stop a tap from leaking. If the address is number 9 but the door number is loose and has fallen down to read 6, this can be off-putting to tenants, who may worry that they might not receive their post. These are the sorts of issues that go through potential tenants’ minds when looking for a property. If you are unable to do these jobs yourself, a local handyman equipped with his tools and a ‘to do’ list can fix these for you.
House to rent Newstead Way, Wimbledon, SW19
Is the bathroom floor tiled and are the tiles in good condition or are they cracked/moving? If the bathroom floor tiles are cracked, the tenants may worry about walking on them barefoot, as they could injure themselves. Cracked tiles can also indicate an underlying issue with the level of the subfloor. If it is uneven this can sometimes indicate a leak, as water causes the wood to rot and move. This leak can simply be when someone steps out of the shower and water slips through the perishing grouting, compromising the subfloor. On occasion it can indicate something more sinister such as a pipe leak, so it may be an idea to get this checked. If you have sorted out any background issues and the subfloor is not damaged, it is sometimes possible to replace the individual cracked tiles and re-grout. This is only if you have some matching tiles and the cracked tiles can be removed without damaging the remaining floor area. You may decide it’s worth replacing the whole floor if more than one tile is cracked. Again, it is a good idea to stick to neutral colours and once the new tiles have been laid make sure to keep the grout in good condition to avoid having to replace the tiles too regularly.
Our established, dedicated Property Management team, based at our Wimbledon Village office, would be delighted to discuss any property management issues you might have.
Please do contact Lara on 020 8879 1199, or email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like further information.