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Buy to Let might have fallen from the headlines recently after its popularity during the pre-recession housing boom, but it is still an option for many investors.

If you are making your first move into this market it’s important that you make your property as attractive as possible to your target tenants. Here are our tips for decorating your property which can be tweaked to suit any budget:

  • Decide whether you will be offering your property furnished, unfurnished or part furnished. This will partly depend on the property type – for example student lets need to be furnished and they have specific requirements such as desks in bedrooms. For other tenancy types it’s best to research the local market and see what’s standard for your area and if it’s cost effective for you to furnish it. For furniture, choose fairly neutral pieces but tailor them to the market. For example, if you want to make it more homely you could use French style furniture in a bedroom to create a feminine family feel.
  • It’s the standard piece of advice for landlords, but keep it neutral. Tenants will want to walk in and be able to quickly imagine themselves living there, and styles or colour schemes which are too individual and daring can be off putting. Avoid white apart from in bathrooms as it can look too stark. Magnolias and hints of yellow add warmth without being over the top.
  • Think about your target tenants. Young professionals? Couples? Families? Students? This will impact on your design choices. Students are more likely to appreciate interesting or personal touches, while young professionals in general will want sleek, modern décor which is stylish but also easy to maintain and keep clean. Families are more likely to prioritise comfort and practicality, and touches such as storage space.
  • Don’t forget that when your tenants move out you will need to fully clean the property for the next inhabitants. Decorating your property with this in mind can save you a lot of bother down the line. For example, choosing silk finish paints will make your walls easier to wipe clean and is durable and less likely to be marked. Use mould and water resistant paint for bathrooms and kitchens. Good quality carpets withstand industrial cleaning better than cheap ones, but this will depend on your budget. It might be more cost effective to choose cheaper carpets and just replace them every few years. Remember – patterned carpets hide stains better. Wood or laminate floors which have a good coating on them can be cleaned easily but consider whether your target market will prefer exposed flooring or carpets. You might need to change mattresses and update bedroom furniture, so think about how easy this will be do to.
  • Always make sure the property is sparkling clean for viewings and think about other ways to show off your space and fulfil its potential. If you have a small room, putting in a mirror is a simple way to open it up and increase the light. If you have the budget to add a couple of fairly neutral decorations, such as a picture or wall hanging, and you think this would be appropriate then do it. Tiny touches such as putting a toothbrush holder in the bathroom can make it seem more hospitable and welcoming.

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