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posted on 18 Oct 19 by Jayde

How to renovate your Birmingham city centre investment property

Blog | Sales | How to renovate your Birmingham city centre investment property

There is a lot of investment currently going into creating new homes for Birmingham. While this is fantastic news for Brum, it does mean that there is more competition than ever when it comes to letting your property to good tenants. 

With brand new builds popping up on every corner (complete with members clubs, gyms and cinema rooms) quality tenants have more choice when finding their new home.

Tenants are increasingly opting for new and shiny, but we’ve found a solution.

We have found that landlords who have updated their kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and furniture are retaining the value and desirability that others are losing. Now is the time to bring your investment property up to standard. Sometimes, you have to spend a bit of money to make money, and that it doesn’t have to be as arduous and costly as it first may seem.

What features or updates will encourage a new tenant to pick your property over a new-build, stay longer, and look after the property?

Flooring

Understandably, flooring experiences a lot of wear and tear throughout tenancies. Depending on how long your property has been let for, it may be time to think about replacing the flooring. Typically the most crucial thing to think about when choosing a new floor is how long it will last in a rented environment. We would usually recommend a laminate or wood flooring as these tend to stand up better in the long term. In some developments, you are restricted to carpet in the main living areas as harder floors can be noisy for those living beneath you. We’ll always check with building managers for you before replacing your carpet with laminate. 

Walls

It can be tempting to paint everything magnolia and call it a day, but we promise you, the property will look so much better with lighter, fresher colours on the walls. White is always an excellent choice for a base colour, but adding greys, sages and other neutrals can give your property a bit more personality. If you’re confident, why not try a jewel green or royal navy feature wall? They’re a bit more on-trend but aren’t too in your face. 

Appliances

Appliances wear out over time. An oven that was brand new 10 years ago may now be on its last legs. Inspect all of the appliances and decide which ones could do with replacing. It may seem costly at first, but if you then factor in future breakdown and emergency call-out costs, you’ll be saving money. Eventually, temporary fixes lead to massive costs – invest in high-quality appliances with good warranties instead. 

It might also be worth thinking about adding extra appliances. Most tenants will now be looking for a dishwasher, even if it’s a slimline model. Apartments will benefit from washer-drier combo models, this will stop tenants drying clothes on airers (which is known to cause condensation and eventually lead to mould).

Kitchens

Now, we’re not recommending you rip your entire kitchen out, but smaller updates like replacing bright or outdated cabinet doors with simpler more minimal ones can make a whole world of difference. Some cabinets could even just be painted, depending on what they’re made out of. Mid grey is always a safe choice for cabinetry. Tenants are looking for homes they can make their own – neutral kitchens mean they can put their own stamp on it with their own accessories. 

In a kitchen, the worktop usually gets the most usage and so can see the most damage. Replacing countertops with hardwearing quartz can prolong the life of your kitchen exponentially.

The actual fabric of your kitchen may already be fit for purpose, but updating handles or taps may just give the space the freshening up it needs.

Adding storage pieces can also help to make a kitchen more appealing – you could add another cabinet, a wall cabinet or some free-standing storage furniture.

Bathrooms

We often see chips and cracks in older bathroom tiles. This is generally down to their age and turnover of tenants. Think about replacing these tiles with a more hardy version. You can also update them to a more timeless style such as large flat tiles or subway tiles – something that won’t go out of trend, is easy to obtain if a repair is needed but is minimalistic enough to look up-to-date. 

Sanitary wear very rarely needs to be updated, but you can swap older taps, shower fittings and flushes for more modern designs and it will refresh the sanitary wear as though it were new. 

Window dressings

Blinds that have been used by tenant after tenant will need replacing. Invest in good quality, well-fitting and professionally installed ones and they will last you longer than the off-the-shelf alternative. 

Curtains often need to be steam-cleaned between tenancies, heavier and better quality fabrics will withstand these regular cleaning procedures better than their cheaper counterparts. 

Don’t scrimp on window dressings. More substantial blinds or curtains will always perform better, last longer and lead to happier tenants. 

Soft Furnishings and Decorations

We’ve all heard that the devil is in the details, but so often the smaller pieces are missed when revamping an apartment. Throw cushions, rugs, artwork, ornaments, coffee table books, decorative towels, mirrors, lamps and plants can give your property personality.

Make it easy for tenants to imagine themselves snuggling on the sofa with a good book after work by adding the blanket onto the sofa for them already. Cookbooks and salt and pepper shakers in the kitchen, soaps and candles in the bathroom, decorative pillows and a mug in the bedroom will all help tenants visualise their new life in your apartment. 

Pictures and artwork are just as important. Contemporary and classic is your best bet. Frames in neutral colours like light woods, whites and blacks will go with most tenants own furnishings. While you don’t want to cover every single wall with artwork, you also don’t want a dull, bland box either. Keep it to one or two walls maximum. If you have side tables or bookshelves, you could also add smaller framed artwork to them instead of a wall. 

Every apartment is different, they won’t all need the same amount of work. That’s why we are offering our landlords an apartment renovation consultation for free. We’ll visit the property and feedback to you on what we think you should do to make your investment work for you. We’ll base this on our 15 years of knowledge of the Birmingham city centre rental market and feedback from our current applicants looking for new homes. We manage over 500 properties in Birmingham city centre so we know what lets, and what causes properties to stagnate.

Once we’ve collaborated with you to decide on what should be done, we’ll orchestrate the whole thing too.

You’re busy, you don’t have time to deal with the hassle of contractors, that’s why we’re here to do it all for you. Let us help you protect and maximise your investment.

If you want to work with us on a property improvement plan, please contact Becky by emailing rebecca@fleetmilne.co.uk or calling 0121 366 0456

If you’re not yet a FleetMilne landlord, we’d love to have you. Learn all about our letting & management services here

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