After you have decided on the property you are going to let, the next major decision is whether to offer it furnished or unfurnished. In a furnished property every piece of furniture is provided by the landlords and tenants then make use of them during their time there. In an unfurnished property you should still provide white goods and flooring but any additional furniture will need to be brought by the tenants themselves.
The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer to this question and there are pros and cons to both scenarios. Ultimately you will have to make the decision that is best for your property and you are best placed to know what that it.
Nevertheless it can feel overwhelming, so here is advice for which one might be best for you.
The case for furnished
One of the main advantages of letting a furnished property is that it is usually easier and quicker to pick up tenants. There are generally more tenants available who are looking to simply move in straight away and either lack the time or the money to deal with furnishing a property themselves.
This means that furnished properties can be ideal if you are looking to attract young professional couples or students. You’ll also have access to the short-term let market which can be useful in minimising voids in the calendar.
Remember that you will also be able to reuse furniture with future tenants and even offset wear and tear tax up to 10 per cent of your rental income. This can be very useful and is not available if you’re providing the property unfurnished.
The case for unfurnished
While unfurnished properties are less attractive for short term lets, they are actually have the positive of being preferred for the long term. Unfurnished properties often attract a more serious long-term tenant and you are more likely to hold on to them for a longer period. They will have invested in their own furniture and let is more likely to feel like home, which will make it harder for them to leave.
It’s also true that tenants are usually happier in a property with their own furniture – it’s to be expected that they feel more at home. That means you are less likely to get complaints or have to deal with a difficult tenant. Leaving the property unfurnished means there’s no need to worry about contents insurance or the cost of replacements too.
With a furnished apartment you are also more responsible for the contents which generally means you will have to put more work in. That’s why as a rule unfurnished apartments generally require less work.
A few things to think about:
• Unfurnished properties can be exempt from council tax during any periods where they are not occupied, while furnished properties are not
• If you provide furniture you need to ensure that it conforms to a legal standard of fire resistance
• Contents insurance for furnished properties can be difficult to obtain and very expensive due to the nature that the owner of the policy is not the one using the contents most of the time
• Your decision might ultimately come down to the kind of tenant you are looking to attract. If your target market is a professional family they are more likely to have all of their own furniture than a young couple or a student household
• Furnished properties usually let for slightly more than unfurnished homes
• The best possible scenario is to be able to offer a property either furnished or unfurnished, so if you are have any storage facilities for furnishings when they aren’t being used this could be a great way to allow flexibility
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with London-based buy-to-let specialist Prime Centrum, who were consulted over the information contained in this post.