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Planning to renovate your rental? There’s one thing you should know before you start pulling up carpets or ripping out cabinets.

It will help you avoid a costly and avoidable mistake that many landlords make, and it’s this.

Don’t let your emotions cloud your decision-making.

It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many landlords lose sight of the fact that they’re supposed to be making business decisions. As a result, they do one or more of these things:

  • Spend more than they need to.
  • Spend cash in the wrong areas.
  • Wind up with a longer void period than necessary.
  • Do a sub-standard job that requires repairs.
  • Put off doing much-needed work.

Here are some tips to help you stay on track.

Identify your market – Don’t decorate to your personal tastes. Consider who will most likely rent your property – students, families or professionals – and renovate to suit this demographic. A bespoke kitchen might be justified if you’re targeting wealthy professionals, but not if you’re renting to students. 

Neutral tones – If you’re yearning to make a bold interior design statement, do it in your own home, not your rental. Prospective tenants may not share your tastes and could be put off by your aesthetic choices. 

Go beyond the cosmetic – Do the locks need fixing? Are the fences wobbly? Does the boiler need replacing? It can be tempting to blow your budget on sexy, eye-catching features, but don’t overlook the basics.

Family matters  If you have a strong emotional attachment to the property (perhaps it was your former family home), don’t let sentiment misguide you. You must separate any nostalgic feelings from your duties as a landlord.

Be practical – A rental will always be subject to wear and tear, so opt for durable products and steer clear of light wall colours and flooring that will get mucky quickly.

Be realistic – Not even the best tenants in the world will treat the property exactly as you would, so look for low-maintenance solutions. This is particularly relevant if you have outdoor space, as garden maintenance is a common cause of disputes.

Avoid false economies – While some landlords go overboard and spend too much, others don’t spend enough. For example, tiles are easy to clean and don’t attract mould, so it can make sense to tile the entire bathroom to prevent issues from arising.

Don’t be a DIY hero – Instead of paying a tradesperson to do work, some landlords consider it a personal challenge to do as much as they can themselves. This means work can take longer than necessary or it isn’t done to a professional standard.

If you’re a landlord, contact me for advice about investing your renovation budget wisely.