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6 ways to upgrade your property if you're considering renting it out

Ensure both you and your potential new tenants get the best deal going.
May 11th 2017, 4:37 PM 17,506 9

WITH DEMAND FOR properties at a high, now is a great time to be a landlord, but there’s a lot to consider before putting your place on the rental market.

Many renters now view places with long-term tenancy in mind, so ripped couches, damp walls and bare lightbulbs just won’t cut it. By putting time and investment into your property before renting it out, you’re not only providing your renter with a better deal, but you’re getting a better deal for yourself in return too.

“A clean, well-decorated property is the bare minimum expected standard these days,” says rental expert John Leahy of IrishLandlord.com. “Research comparable properties on the market to get a sense of what other landlords are providing.”

If your property is in need of an upgrade before you rent it out, either for the first time or to a new set of tenants, John suggests keeping the following guidelines in mind:

Avoid flatpack furniture

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Cheap flatback beds, tables and shelves are a false economy, John warns. If you can afford it, invest in more durable furniture. Not only will it save you money on repairs and replacements down the line, it’ll position your property that bit higher than the rest.

“Generally the better furnished the property, the better the tenant, and the more willing they’ll be to pay a reasonable rent,” advises John. “If you’re looking for longer-term tenants though, you may also consider renting your place unfurnished, as per the European model.”

Any colour, as long as it’s not magnolia

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A little bit of imagination can go a long way to adding some character to your property, so avoid whitewashing.

“Neutrals are a great option, but vary things – at least a little – to make the place more inviting and memorable,” suggests John. Soft furnishings like cushions, rugs and throws can make a property feel homely, while painting feature walls with a vibrant tone will instantly add life and colour.

Insulate the property

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A house that’s freezing ten months of the year definitely won’t add to tenant satisfaction. When preparing your property for rental, consider the factors you’d deem essential if you were about to move in yourself. As John advises:

Good insulation and a modern energy efficient heating system should be top of your list if you’re upgrading your place to rent it out. Effective heating and ventilation are legal requirements for any rental property.

Consider professional cleaning

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If you’re a first-time landlord or between tenants, take the opportunity of the property being empty to give it a thorough top-to-bottom clean.

“No property should be rented out in an unclean condition. Many landlords opt to do the cleaning themselves to save money, but if you know you won’t have the time, a professional cleaning service is a great option,” advises John. Of course, your previous renters are obliged to have left the property in a clean condition and free of excessive damage.

Don’t scrimp on the shower

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“People want proper showers,” insists John, who says the days of “poor quality water pressure with a hose over a bathtub” are long gone.

Many new properties come with a power shower as standard, but if you’re putting an older place on the rental market, this probably isn’t the case. For a few hundred euro you can get a basic power shower fitted, and John advises chalking it down as an unavoidable investment.

There’s no legal obligation to provide an electric shower, but for many tenants it’s a basic requirement.

Be prepared for wear-and-tear

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You can’t expect every tenant to be as houseproud as you are, so choose furnishings that can survive spills, active kids and other inevitable facts of life. Items on John’s suggested shopping list include leather sofas or those with durable upholstery, mattress protectors, rugs to help keep wooden floors in top condition, and washable cushion covers.

He also advises carrying out property inspections twice a year, not to spy on tenants but rather to get a sense of what might need cleaning, repairing or replacing. “A good landlord manages proactively,” he says.

Ensure your property is always warm, inviting and cost-efficient with Hive, now available in Ireland from Bord Gáis Energy. Hive allows heat, hot water and lighting to be controlled at the touch of a button, even when no-one’s home. For just €299, you’ll get the Hive system, professional installation, and smartphone app, all from Bord Gáis Energy.

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