To furnish or not to furnish, that is the question! There are a number of arguments on both sides of the fence as to whether it is worthwhile renting your property with furniture and this blog will look at just a few of them, making you aware of the implications of renting a furnished property but also the benefits that furnishing could bring.
Dressed to Rent
Dressing your property well is proven to help attract both sales and rentals. Putting basic furniture in the rooms shows their purpose and potential and can make the rooms look more spacious as tenants can then envisage the extra available space beyond the furniture. Having a cluttered property however can put prospective tenants off so you can’t leave a property full of your old furniture and junk and expect it to rent well!
If your property is unoccupied you could be exempt from some or all council tax, however if you have furniture in the property you will almost certainly have to pay full council tax as technically the home isn’t empty even if it is little more than a glorified storage container. On the plus side if the property is furnished you are able to offset a wear and tear tax allowance against 10% of the rental income.
If you are renting a property as furnished you will need to insure your items, you will also have to ensure that all of them comply with legal requirements such as fire safety regulations. You must also agree on the condition and wear and tear on the items with tenants which can lead to disputes and problems. Obviously any broken items will need repairing or replacing which just adds to the cost and work for a landlord so certainly renting unfurnished makes the landlord’s job easier and minimises the risks which makes profit margins easier to calculate. To put this one briefly – the more furniture, the more problems!
It sounds obvious but some tenants do not have their own furniture, therefore they will be looking to rent a furnished property! On the other hand, many tenants have their own goods and will not want a furnished home unless there is room for the furniture they already have. One way around this is to offer minimal furniture, this works well particularly in larger properties as tenants may not have enough of their own furniture to ‘fill’ the property.
You can charge more for the rental of a furnished property. If the furniture remains intact and doesn’t require maintenance regularly and if the initial outlay wasn’t huge then you are set to make more money by renting furnished. However, the likelihood is that you will have to replace and repair furniture which eats into your profits and begs the question as to whether furnishing is indeed financially beneficial.
A furnished property gives you the potential to offer short lets (higher income) and the opportunity to let to the corporate market (only if the finished standard is very high). If you are targeting students then you will most likely have to offer furniture as students don’t tend to have their own wardrobes, beds etc. but if your target audience is families or young professionals they may have acquired furniture or be looking to do so.
Ultimately knowing your market is the best way to decide whether or not furnish. Your own personal situation may also have great bearing on your choice as if you plan on returning to live in your buy-to-let you may wish to keep your furniture there knowing that you will be moving back in ultimately. Whatever you decide for your buy-to-let’s make sure you read up on all the benefits and drawbacks and that you follow all the legal requirements and best practice in carrying out your decision.
For help and guidance contact the team at NFPM at www.nickfox.co.uk; we offer personal consultations, mentoring packages and sell a variety of books and resources to help you as a landlord.
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