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Buying to Let on a Budget

You’ve decided to take the plunge and invest in a property to rent out but now you’re left with very little funds for renovations. While it may seem ideal to rip everything out and start again, not only will this take serious money, you may not see a return on your investment. Here are some basic steps to take, in order to get those tenants knocking on your door.

Redecorate

Emulsion and gloss paint won’t break the bank, particularly if you can pick it up wholesale and it’ll be worth every penny. Choose one or two neutral but warm colours and take them right through the home, as it will make the property flow and seem more spacious. If the colours can coordinate with any existing curtains, so much the better but if not, shops like Matalan, Dunelm or even T K Maxx sell very reasonably priced drapes and blinds. You might get away with just shampooing existing carpets but if stains persist, then it’s definitely a good idea to renew them. As you don’t know what your tenants will be like, it’s not worth going for an expensive option; just ensure it looks good and will stand up to wear and tear.

Kitchen

Kitchen

The kitchen is often a deal-breaker for rental properties, as so much time is spent there. Although there are plenty of cheap kitchens on the market, if your budget is extremely tight, then simply opt for replacement kitchen doors instead. You’ll get the look for a fraction of the price. It’s always prudent to replace the sink and taps, and you can sometimes find great bargains when showrooms have last year’s kitchens for sale. A fresh-looking kitchen can really impress perspective tenants.

Bathroom

If the existing bathroom fittings are good quality porcelain, you can get away with bleaching them, while vintage taps can be descaled and polished. Even old enamel baths can be resurfaced. If anything looks worn or stained, it will need replacing. You can choose a budget basin or bath but it’s never worth buying cheap taps, as they won’t last. If you only replace one thing in the bathroom, it has to be the toilet seat! If you want a room that’s easy to keep clean and won’t need much maintenance, it would be worth tiling the floor and at least half way up the walls. Steam will cause wallpaper to peel, so stick to bathroom paint or tile to the ceiling.

Lighting

A sole pendant light in each room won’t suffice. People like mood lighting, particularly if it’s adjustable. Installing dimmable spot lights can be expensive but you can compromise by picking up some attractive halogen uplighters from somewhere like Ikea. Creative lighting can really enhance the look of your property and make it more appealing for tenants.

White Goods

Install a cooker with two ovens, as this is more desirable than a single. It doesn’t need to be brand new but it must be spotless, including the ovens and grill. There are oven-cleaning firms who will do this unpleasant job and it might just save you the cost of a new appliance. There are plenty of good, second-hand white goods out there but beware of fridge freezers that have been switched off, as they will have a stench that’s almost impossible to eradicate. Having a washer and dryer are big selling points for tenants. These can be stacked if you only have space for one item. Condensing dryers don’t need venting, if you don’t have a suitable outside wall. Combination washer/dryers aren’t efficient, so avoid them.

Even if your budget is limited, these common-sense steps should help to let your property in no time.

Written by

Jyotsna Ramani is a passionate writer and an avid globetrotter. She had a knack for writing since her early years, though that was mostly letters to her penpals and jotting her thoughts down in her "Dear Diary". Over the years, she realized how her hobby could turn into a full time career and she started writing web content, books and pieces for local magazines. There has been no looking back ever since. Follow Jyotsna Ramani at Google+

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