Is it Best to Let a Property Furnished or Unfurnished?
Whether you are a landlord or letting agent, you will no doubt have a preference over whether you let a property furnished or unfurnished. You might take it on a case-by-case basis or you could simply favour one over the other across your portfolio. Maybe you haven’t yet made up your mind.
A recent survey taking data from Rightmove and Zoopla suggests that the majority of tenants across the UK are looking for unfurnished rentals. It took the number of available properties on these sites and compared it to those that had already been rented out to come to this conclusion.
But what are the pros and cons of furnished vs unfurnished rental properties? Take a look at our guide, which might help you make up your mind if you have yet to decide.
In the current climate, one consideration for renting out furnished or unfurnished might be hygiene related. There are different theories about how long the coronavirus can stay active on a surface, and many people are being very cautious about the risks. This could be a reason for the current preference for unfurnished properties.
The idea of relaxing on furnishings that have previously been used by strangers might not suit everybody, potentially making unfurnished a better option for reassuring prospective tenants. It is possible that determining whether or not re-using furniture really is a risk is less important than the perception of safety when attracting tenants at the moment.
The Blank Canvas Effect
Another point in favour of renting unfurnished is that it allows your tenants to make their own mark on the property. They have a blank canvas that they can work with to impose their personal taste and make it feel more homely for them.
The more a tenant feels at home in your property, the more likely they are to look after and maintain their home to a high standard. It can also mean that they stay for longer, meaning you don’t have to constantly search for new tenants every six months.
In addition, showing renters around an empty property makes it seem larger and more spacious, which could make it more desirable to viewers.
Damage and Responsibility
There are already a large number of responsibilities on your plate as a letting agent or landlord. Having to keep up with maintenance can take up a lot of time and money. If you add furniture into the mix, there is a lot more potential to go wrong, to fix and, possibly, to replace.
Having a fridge and washing machine break down in quick succession, as well as the slats in a bed going and wearing on a sofa, can prove costly and really cut into your rental profits. When you choose between renting out furnished or unfurnished, this should be a real consideration. Are your appliances new enough to outlast the tenancy?
You can (and should) insure furniture when you rent it, but that is another expense that you might not want to take on. With an unfurnished property, you have no responsibility over the items the tenants bring in.
Furnished Vs Unfurnished Price Difference
A study conducted in 2018 found that the furnished vs unfurnished price difference was an average of 21%, with furnished bringing in more cash. This was based on a two-bedroom flat, but it gives you an idea of the kind of increase in rent you can demand when you let furnished rather than unfurnished.
Of course, you have to take into consideration whether the added rent is enough to cover purchasing and maintaining the furniture for the property. But if the sums work out, then this is a definite tick in favour of renting furnished properties.
Can Tenants Afford to Furnish a Property?
By not offering the option to rent furnished, you could miss out on tenants who can’t afford to furnish a whole property. For these people, it might be easier to pay a little extra every month on their rent to not have to shell out on furnishing a whole property in one go before they move in.
If you are concerned about limiting the number of potential renters for your property, then furnished might be the way to go.
To Rent Furnished or Unfurnished?
Whether you choose to rent furnished or unfurnished to tenants is completely up to you and what suits your situation. If you opt for furnished, you need to make sure that fabric furniture meets the legal fire safety standards. You could also look into PAT testing your electrical goods to ensure they are safe for your tenants.
For help with maintenance and safety for rental properties, as well as the full range of property management services, talk to Executive Property Management Solutions today about our outsourcing packages.