Any landlord deciding whether to let his property unfurnished or furnished, should consider only one factor: will furnishing the property increase the rental yield? In other words, will the additional rent achieved outweigh the investment required to furnish the property?
In most cases, the answer is yes: but only if some simple rules are followed to ensure the property is furnished in a way that maximises both demand and rental values. Faata Adam, Head of Lettings at Clifton Homes in Ghana, shares her top 4 tips for furnishing rental properties:
1) Know your market
It is vital to know what type of tenants are searching for properties in your area. It’s obviously ill-advised to invest in luxury, high-end décor for your apartment if it’s located in an area where the majority of tenants are students on a budget. Both the budget and style of your furnishing should reflect the type of tenant you expect to attract (and the rent they will be willing to pay). Faata explains that, in central Accra, a significant proportion of apartment rentals are corporate lets for predominantly male tenants. “When we furnish apartments for our buy-to-let investors we steer clear of colour pallets and patterns which might be considered overtly feminine, keeping things neutral so that no segment of the tenant pool, male or female, is excluded”.
2) Make it last
Durability is paramount when choosing furniture items. Even with a respectful tenant there will be a good amount of wear and tear, and (depending on duration) you do not want to have to replace every item at the end of the first tenancy. Avoid scrimping on beds, sofas or the dining table, which all need to be good quality to withstand daily use. Choose durable, easy-to-clean materials such as tile flooring and wooden tables, and try to purchase a sofa with a removable, washable cover. Avoid light, plain fabrics that mark easily, and any intricate pieces that may be easily broken. There are of course some items that are always likely to get broken with everyday use – such as dinner plates, glasses and toasters – so do not overspend on these items. For crockery and glassware sets, think ahead and buy a couple of extra pieces to keep aside – at the end of the tenancy you can then replace any broken items and complete the set again.
3) Keep it Neutral
It is very important to keep personal preferences in check when decorating for tenants. Regardless of your own taste, refrain from using bold colours, striking patterns or quirky furniture items. What you may see as design flare, a potential tenant may consider bad taste. You want to create a clean, light, neutral space which any tenant can “mentally decorate” with added personal touches during a viewing. Where you do add subtle colours or patterns try to apply them on removable, lower cost items such as sofa cushions or bedside lamps (rather than major items like the sofa, curtains or carpet) - that way the tenant can always remove and store those items if desired.
4) Stick to budget
In the midst of the furnishing process it can be easy for landlords to get sidetracked into buying more additional, or higher specification items than originally anticipated. It is easy to think that an extra feature mirror, or stylish armchair will be the perfect finishing touch to the property, even though it was not in the original budget. But will spending $300 on a mirror translate to an extra $25 per month in rent over the year? Probably not. Landlords need to keep their “investor-mindset” in play and stay focused on the end goal: maximum rental yield.
Clifton Homes provides a range of Lettings Services for our clients. For information on these services, as well as properties available to rent or purchase, please contact us at:
+233 (0)20 467 7033
34 Senchi Street, Airport Residential, Accra, Ghana