Nine times out of 10 property owners will re-decorate or freshen up their interiors when they are getting ready to sell. Some even go to the trouble of baking bread and brewing coffee for the home opens, all in the belief that the look and indeed the smell of the place will lure a potential buyer over the line or better still, maximise the sale price.
Investment property owners should take heed of the power of visual presentation too if they want to achieve the highest rental income. In my experience as the owner of a property management company, a clever and inexpensive makeover can justify an increase of 10-20% on the average asking price for the property.
If you have bought wisely, that is, a quality apartment in a prime location close to business and recreational hubs and most importantly with good access to public transport, it will attract the professional executive – usually a quality tenant prepared to pay a higher rent for executive level furnished accommodation.
The key to attracting the corporate rental is a combination of the amenities available and the interior design. Remembering that corporate executives have been increasingly renting furnished accommodation or serviced apartments over the past decade due to perceived value for money compared to hotel stays, but also because many are seeking a more homely environment, particularly those executives who travel regularly.
Furnishing your investment property in order to maximise your potential income needs to strike a balance between providing a smart minimalist boutique hotel style interior and a more homely ambience. Here are 10 tips to create an alluring home style stay:
Tip one : Bedrooms- it is better to have a queen bed not a double in the main bedroom and a twin share arrangement in the second bedroom. Add bedside lamps to create mood lighting at night and choose white linen for a fresh look. Remember white linen can be washed at 70 degree Celsius without the threat of the material fading. Incorporate some inexpensive matching throw rugs and cushions which can be changed when they become tired looking. The key is the bed which needs to look inviting – plumped up wth fluffy pillows and a doona.
Tip two: Kitchen- try not tocrowd the kitchen with things on the benches especially if the space is tight. Make sure you offer a coffee plunger, tumblers, mugs and wine glasses for four-six people. Don’t buy expensive utensils and cookware, but do make sure that you a buy a range that can be topped up when things are broken or go missing. Add a bowl of fruit as part of a welcome pack for guests.
Tip three: Living room- once again keep it fairly minimalistic but try and add a few homely touches such as a vase of flowers on arrival, prints on the walls and a couple of ornaments. A flat screen TV is a must, as is the Foxtel and internet connection. Once again decorate with matching inexpensive cushions, mood lighting and a rug under the coffee table to create a warm cosy feel.
Tip four: Balconies- if there is room, a BBQ and a table and chairs for tenants to enjoy outdoor dining is a bonus. Candles on the table will give a nice ambience at night. Be sure to wash balconies down every so often as they can become dust collectors.
Tip five: Laundry- is a great asset if you have one so ensure you have a washer/dryer if space is tight, otherwise separate appliances are ideal. An ironing board and an iron is a must and a collapsible clothes stand is always handy. Be sure to have a starter kit of laundry powder for short stay guests as busy executives will appreciate not having to go out for some.
Tip six: Welcome packs- whether you have a long-term tenant or a short-term guest, people want to feel that the property is loved and cared for. The small touches can often leave a positive impression. Welcome packs are appreciated and can kick off the guest’s stay positively as they won’t be expecting your generosity. It doesn’t have to be expensive. For short-term stays it can be a starter kit with sachets of tea, coffee, milk, loaf bread and fruit. Or simply a bowl of green apples on the dining room table.
Tip seven: General paintwork- you shouldmake sure it isn’t grubby. Wash marks off with sugar soap and keep skirtings clean and dust-free. If it is tired looking it is a good investment to give it a lick of paint with a neutral colour.
Tip eight: Furniture- needs to look near-new. If it is starting to show some wear and tear then look at the ranges offered at Target, Ikea and Freedom. If your furnished property is more appealing it will achieve a higher occupancy rate and therefore you will receive a higher annual income.
Tip nine: Budget- to set up an average sized one-bedroom apartment with new furniture and all the necessary equipment plus paintwork you could budget around $7000-8,000. For a two-bedroom apartment you would be looking at approximately $9,000-$10,000. You don’t need to buy expensive to impress. You can create a champagne look on a beer budget with some clever interior design tricks.
Tip 10: Interior styling- if you don’t have the artistic confidence, select a property management service that can offer a free interior styling service. Chances are they have the right mindset that you need and will go the extra mile to help you achieve the highest possible occupancy levels and maximise your rental returns. An absolute must if you want to make your property a good investment!