Does letting investment property furnished appeal to a wider audience?

Furnished property is no longer only for the student market

In my last article, I discussed the pros and cons of furnishing your buy-to-let property. One of the biggest advantages of letting furnished is that your property will appeal to a wider audience. In this article, we’ll look at why and who.

The appeal of furnished apartments

For tenants moving into a new home, there is a host of reasons why they might choose furnished over unfurnished.

Money savings

For younger tenants, perhaps those who are first-time renters, the appeal is obvious: there is no need to spend money on furniture and white goods. This can save thousands in upfront costs. These savings are the same for other potential tenants, too – when couples split, the furniture is not usually divided. The partner moving out and needs a home that is furnished. As the private rented sector grows, we’re finding that more long-term renters prefer to live in furnished homes than provide their own furniture.

Ease of maintenance and refurnishing

Furniture wears out – eventually. Washing machines need replacing – eventually. Even though we all know this, homeowners and tenants rarely plan for it. One of the biggest advantages of renting is the ease with which maintenance and refurnishing can be made.

Tenants don’t have to find money at short notice to replace a broken-down washing machine. They don’t have to spend time traipsing round shops to find a model the right size and with the right freezer compartment proportions. These are huge advantages of renting. Savvy landlords will have a reserve fund available to pay for such costs – saved from the extra rent they have charged for the furnishings in the property.

Moving into furnished properties saves time (and money)

Another positive factor for the tenant moving into a rented home is the time it saves. If all you are moving is your clothes and other personal belongings, these can often be moved in one or two trips in your own car. There is no need to hire furniture removal services, a man with a van, or rent a van yourself.

Tenants who rent furnished properties don’t have to spend half a bank holiday weekend lugging furniture from one property to another. They don’t have to arrange it, and they don’t have to pay for removal. It’s cheaper, quicker, and cleaner to move into a fully furnished property.

Furnished property is more flexible

For most tenants, a furnished property offers a great deal of flexibility. Those who need to rent a property for, say, a year because of a work placement, want furnished property. Others with only a few pieces of furniture can negotiate with a landlord to move in a bed in place of the one supplied in a furnished property.

Who really wants furnished property?

As the size of the private rented sector continues to grow, the breadth of tenants who want furnished property is growing. People are renting for longer, and more likely to rent for longer. And we’re finding that people across the spectrum of renters want furnished property – from students who don’t own their own furniture, to silver-haired renters who don’t want to own their own furniture.

Traditionally, investors think that furnished homes only appeal to:

  • Students
  • Short-term tenants
  • Holiday lets

This really isn’t so today. Of course, these traditional markets still exist, but the appeal of furnished property to rent is now much wider.

The corporate market

The corporate market is increasing in size, as companies hire people on year-long contracts to cater for their changing business focus. These tenants want furnished homes. This can be a very lucrative market, though landlords must also prepare for longer void periods.

Young professionals

Young professionals want to live near work and nightlife, with the flexibility of moving jobs, too. These people want furnished properties.

Young families

Moving from being single young professionals to starting young families, couples already in rented accommodation are already used to renting furnished properties. With the added cost of children on the horizon, these young families can’t afford huge outlays on furniture.

Silver-haired renters

Silver-haired renters are increasingly selling up and downsizing. With fixed incomes and less ability to borrow to cover emergencies, we’re finding that many prefer the cost savings and ease of maintenance of not owning their own furniture.

Rent to Buy

Finally, the Rent to Buy sector is growing. These are investors who buy a property in a cheaper area and rent one near to where they want to work. This gets them on the property ladder. The out-of-town property is often rented to an established family, who have their own furniture. The home the investor rents to live in? Well, they want a furnished property.

Long-term rental in action

I have a friend, George, who moved hundreds of miles. His children had grown and flown, and he sold his home to live a different life. He decided to rent for a year while considering what he really wanted. He didn’t want to move all his furniture, so he either sold it or gave it away. Much of it was years old and had little value, anyway.

So, this place he rented for a year was fully furnished. All the furniture had been in place for at least five years. But he didn’t stay for a year. To date, he’s been there almost 10 years. That’s 10 years of unbroken rental income for the buy-to-let property investor.

He’s a great tenant, too, who looks after the property. It suits his lifestyle to rent and his pocket. He’s told me that he never intends to buy his own property again. And why would he? During his tenure, he’s had a new boiler, a new fridge freezer, a new oven, and a new washing machine. Though he has replaced other furniture himself.

In my next article, I’ll look at how to calculate whether furnishing your property could increase the profits from your buy-to-let investment. In the meantime, to discuss how furnishing your buy-to-let property might impact its appeal to prospective tenants, contact Gladfish on +44 207 923 6100. 

Live with passion

Brett Alegre-Wood

Brett Alegre-Wood
April 18, 2018

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