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Quick and Cost-effective Ways to Brighten Up Your Rental Property

Quick and Cost-effective Ways to Brighten Up Your Rental Property

How your property looks and feels to a potential renter is just as important as the location and price. If you want to ensure that your property is achieving its rental income potential, you have to make sure it’s fit for purpose and attractive. As a landlord, you have a budget in mind, and often it’s tempting to go for the most practical option. However, this can leave a property feeling a little too cold, a little too impersonal.

Improving Kerb Appeal 
Improve Kerb Appeal with a House Number
Especially during the spring and summer months, bright and attractive plants outside the property add some kerb appeal. This will depend on the market you want to target, so do take that into account. Hanging baskets and plants are relatively cheap and easy to find at most supermarkets or DIY stores. Putting together an attractive selection isn’t difficult with many resources available online[1].

Replacing the house number with a visually appealing (and easy-to-spot design) can easily lift the look of your property.

Keep on top of any gardening including removing weeds and wild grasses from the front of the property. Keeping the windows clean will also make the property look ready to move in for tenants. It’s essential to get first impressions right.

Make Use of Darker or Warmer Tones

Warm tones will soften any harsh edges or light in a property. Wood-coloured worktops in kitchens, laminate floors, or even a tasteful feature wall makes a room feel welcoming. Greys are a good, modern option to avoid falling into the old-fashioned ‘magnolia trap’. Lighter colours can look appealing but after some wear and tear, they can make the property look dirtier than it really is.

PIP Estate Agents commented: “Invest in good-quality paint so you won’t be applying many coats to cover a wall. Some paints offer hard-wearing and anti-mould properties, so consider this as a good investment over time. Painting a couple of feature walls in a property makes it appealing without imposing your own taste and style on it. Consider using a well-known brand for paint as they will have consistent, durable results.[2]

Replace Hardware

Swapping out door handles in the kitchen can easily lift the look of an older room. Consider replacing the socket covers in the bedrooms and lightswitch covers, as these small touches can make all the difference to the look of a room.

Aim for Durability

Getting the most life out of your property and ensuring that it’s tenant-proof can be cost-effective if you’re sensible about your choice of materials. Quality fittings will last for many years and need replacing less, which saves on costs to reinstall. Tiles are also worth considering for bathrooms and kitchens, and for floors[3] where budgets permit.

“We’ve seen all too often that landlords have opted for some cheaper fittings and quickly become burdened with the cost of frequent repairs and call-outs. It is possible to strike a balance between quality and cost, opting for mid-range products made from sturdier fittings. This can save time and hassle in the long term, whilst still providing an attractive feature in the bathroom or kitchen. It’s also worth keeping spare paint, tiles, and fittings in the property’s loft so that touch-ups and repairs match perfectly.”

Don’t just take our word for it, there are lots of great online resources[4] to help you make easy and quick updates to your rental property on budget.

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Laundry List for Landlords During Quiet Periods

The lockdown period has enforced a state of calm and inactivity. For landlords, this can’t feel ideal, but inactive periods are an excellent opportunity to get on with essential tasks. With lockdown rules easing and some industries being encouraged back to work, landlords can start to make more than essential repairs to their properties.

PIP Estate Agents recommend that landlords make the most of this time to get up to date with their essential paperwork and admin. When running a busy property portfolio, some less-than-urgent paperwork can be easily put aside.

‘Whilst we’re not suggesting that you Marie Kondo[1] your entire office and filing systems, now is as good a time as any to get on top of those little jobs to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running with new tenants.’

Administration jobs

As a landlord, you have many key responsibilities, so now is an ideal time to ensure that you’re fully up to date and legally compliant. PIP Estate Agents recommend ‘having a regular slot in your calendar to make sure you’re up to date with all your paperwork so you’re operating safely and efficiently.’

  • Are tenants’ information and contracts up to date?
  • Is your landlord and building insurance costing you too much? Could you find a better deal?
  • Are your EPCs up to date?
  • Are the gas and electrics safe and working in empty properties?

Property maintenance

Whilst a fall in income may make landlords want to avoid spending money on improvements to properties, a new kitchen or bathroom in an empty rental property is worth considering as part of your long-term strategy. In the meantime, here are some low-cost suggestions to make the most of downtime in empty properties:

  • Check for damp and ensure it’s dealt with quickly
  • Ensure all drains are in working order
  • Upcycle any furniture for your properties (look at places such as Facebook Market Place[2] for low cost finds)
  • Give rooms a fresh coat of paint in neutral colours, white, or off-white to allow tenants to put their own stamp on the property
  • Consider new hard-wearing carpets to freshen up a room
  • Retile any tiled bathrooms and hide pipework

Improve Kerb Appeal

Clean the windows and front door and consider a touch-up of external paint to maximise kerb appeal. Tidy up any neglected outdoor areas and consider low-maintenance options such as paving.

‘Making properties more attractive to future tenants will help you stand out and also help to conserve the value of your property, so long as you are sensible with the return on value,’ PIP Estate Agents advise. ‘Employing local tradesmen is also going to help boost the local economy and word of mouth is a powerful form of marketing for landlords. Make use of online marketplaces such as Trust a Trader[3] or Rated People[4] to procure quality reputable tradespeople. If the property is empty, repairs and changes can go ahead as long as all the people working within the building are adhering to social distancing guidelines.’


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Working with tenants in difficult times

COVID-19 has drastically changed how many businesses operate. It’s impacting the income and welfare of millions in the UK. With the UK set for a harsh economic downturn[1], the mood isn’t feeling especially hopeful for landlords with rentals. What’s important to remember is that no one is untouched by the impact of the virus, and it’s important more than ever to come together as a community.

Under current legislation, renters are protected from eviction for three months from the 26th March 2020[2]. Tenants are advised to continue paying their rent as normal, as the legislation doesn’t mean that tenants can suddenly stop paying their rent even if they are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

As a landlord with a portfolio of properties, this can place you in a difficult position. PIP Estate Agents stress the importance of working together with tenants and opening channels of communication. It’s important to show humanity during these unprecedented times, especially as more tenants may be moving on to Universal Credit or experiencing a reduction in income.

Many tenants may not wish to admit they are struggling to pay their rent, so as a landlord you could opt to approach them first. Coming to an agreement to reduce the rent for a few months, or having a fixed payment plan for rent arrears, ensures that landlords still have some income to help cover their costs.

Avoid going for overly formal letters, and instead aim to be approachable. Let them know you’re on their side and have their best interests at heart. Keeping a current tenant in place is much more preferable at the moment, even if you need to agree to a reduction in rent for the time being. It’s important to think about getting through the coming weeks, rather than months down the line.

Many tenants have been furloughed or lost their jobs entirely, so Universal Credit applications have naturally increased during the pandemic[3]. The application process for Universal Credit is long, so whilst tenants are awaiting information regarding a decision, landlords should encourage clear communication.

PIP Estate Agents understands treading the line of business and supportive philanthropist is difficult for any landlord, especially during difficult times such as the virus. It’s important to ensure that tenants continue to pay their rent as per their rental agreement, but also to understand that COVID-19 has changed the face of everyday life.