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Dress To Impress – Rooms To Let
So you have bought the perfect house to be converted to a HMO and all the work has been done. All regulations have been met and its now time to start furnishing.Its an exciting time as you are almost ready to let the rooms and start seeing an income from your investment. It may seem a tedious task, how hard can it be to furnish a few rooms and get them on the market? Well of course its not hard at all compared to all the work you have probably done so far but don’t underestimate how important it is to get this bit right. How you furnish and present the rooms in your property are vitally important and can be the difference between selling a room on the day it goes on the market compared to weeks down the line at a discounted price! Just think of the lost rent, extra advertising costs and extra time that could be much better utilised elsewhere.The big question I get asked so often by my mentees is “How do I furnish and dress the rooms?” This is a very important question and one that I will do my best to answer for you. In this series of 6 blogs I will share my experiences of what makes the perfect room, the perfect communal bathroom, the best communal areas and the best kitchen. Today we are concentrating on the Bedrooms.Before you even think about furniture you need to decorate the room. The most important thing here is to completely ignore your personal taste. Its just that, yours and you are not going to be living in the room. You need to think about the practical side. You may be tempted to have different themes in different rooms and explore your artistic side but this will just end up costing you more money. If you have a HMO property you obviously have more than room to let so it makes sense to do them all in a neutral colour like magnolia. That way you can buy a stock of the paint and then every time any of your rooms change occupant and need freshening up you have the paint in stock and can even make use of left overs from last time. Also worth considering where your property is. If your tenants are students and the rooms are priced low then just making sure they are freshly painted will be fine. However if you have a prestige home demanding top end rents and professionals there is nothing wrong with investing a bit more money in a feature wall. We have done this in some of our superior properties to give the feel of luxury and have that homely vibe. Same goes for the carpets, keep them dark neutral and the same. You will be able to get a deal from most carpet suppliers if you order lots of one product as opposed to small pieces of different ones. When considering carpets do remember about general wear and tear and go for something slightly darker than you may want to. These will wear much better and not show so many slight stains. In our rooms we alway opt for a plain carpet with no patterns. Don’t forget that the tenant will bring their own influence to the room so neutral colours will go with any taste.Now for the furniture. For a double room you are expected to provide a double bed and mattress, a wardrobe (either free standing or built in) and a bedside table. These are a must and if the room is big enough we also supply a chest of drawers. The key here is to have all the storage the tenant will need without over filling the room. This can be tricky in some rooms but there are many storage solutions of all sizes out there now, so there is no excuse not to get this part right. Again we tend to go for quite neutral products with clean lines and no fuss. The mattress is important as this will be the part of the furniture that will need replacing the most. You may be tempted just to go for the cheapest on the market but this is not a good idea. You will replace them after every tenant if you do this. If a tenant complains about the mattress you will need to replace it. Go for mid range ones that will be better wearing and ALWAYS use good mattress protectors, these are your new best friend. If you did your conversion work correctly there will be a tv point in each room. If not you need to get one! It is not necessary to provide a television, just the facility is enough. The same with WIFI. We supply free WIFI to all of our tenants but not computers. Lastly you just need to dress the window and the light. At the risk of sounding like a parrot, once again its neutral all the way. The curtains will be staying in the room so just get a neutral pair that go with the walls and carpet, same with the lampshade. Of course in your prestige properties if you have feature walls then picking a colour and matching to that will look great and really make the room stand out.Thats it, the room is ready to let. But there is one more thing to do. Purely for the purpose of letting, you need to dress the room. You are selling a lifestyle so you don’t want the room to look unloved! Invest in some duvet covers, quilt, pillows and bedding. You do not need to supply any of these to the tenant so your investment on these products is just for the purpose of dressing the room for let. You may wish to present a neutral room that could be a blank canvas for the tenant to make their own or add some colour for some character. Either is fine as long as the room is clean and welcoming. Make sure all the bedding is freshly cleaned and pressed, pillows plumped and the room is spotless. We often put some table lamps, candles, vases etc in the room and also some artwork to add to the homely feel.If you have followed all the steps above then your room will be ready to let now and should fly off the shelf. During the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about dressing communal areas, kitchens, bathrooms, thinking about your gardens and also the extras you can incorporate to make your HMOs stand out from the rest. If you would like to follow our blog series then please click here and we will keep you up to date. Please feel free to comment on this blog as we love to hear all feedback.Best Wishes, Nick Fox (HMO Expert)