When it comes to investing in a buy-to-let property, it’s often the case that you’ll make a bigger profit by choosing an older or more dated property and putting your stamp on it. An appealing rental not only minimises vacant periods, but it also means you can charge a higher rent which in turn increases your rental yield.

However, transforming a drab space into an in-demand property doesn’t have to be a drain on your finances and it doesn’t have to take months to complete. In fact, with a few strategic changes, you can breathe new life into an outdated rental. If you’re keen to invest in a rental property this year, here’s some advice on how to bring it back up to date and make it irresistible for tenants.

[Image source: Deposit photos]

Begin with a plan

Going into your refurbishments with a clear idea of what needs changing can make the whole process run a lot more smoothly. Conducting a building survey on the property will provide you with valuable insights into the condition of the building, and any potential issues or maintenance requirements that could impact your rental income in the future. This will enable you to make informed decisions and avoid wasting money on pointless changes when there are more pressing repairs or improvements needed.

Refresh the walls

Walls can quickly gather stains and dust, particularly if previous tenants haven’t taken good care of the property. So, a quick but very effective update you can make to freshen up the space is to apply a fresh coat of paint, ideally in a bright or neutral colour that will reflect the light and make the room appear bigger and brighter. Landlords often choose white or beige for a rental, but this can make the space look drab and dated. Instead, choose warm pastels like yellows and greens, or soft greys which will still look modern and appeal to a wide array of potential tenants, without looking outdated.

Replace worn out carpets

Floors take a lot of wear and tear, so they’re one area that can have a big impact when you swap them out. If the carpets are in good condition but simply dirty, a deep clean to remove stains and odours can have a significant effect in brightening up the room and making it feel fresher. If the floors are worse for wear, replacing them with a high quality laminate or LVT tile will ensure a durable surface for future tenants and makes the property look more contemporary and stylish.

Include more storage space

It doesn’t matter who your target tenants are, everyone needs space today. Most of us are inundated with belongings that we don’t know what to do with, so providing space for your tenants to store those items can make a huge difference to the appeal of your property over others on the market.

Whether it’s a few extra hooks on the backs of doors, adding vertical storage with shelving or making better use of nooks and crannies with some cupboards that allow for bits and pieces to be stored out of sight, your tenants will certainly appreciate more storage. There are always ways to get creative with a property, no matter how big or small it is, so think about how you can make better use of the available space to appeal to the modern tenant.

Add in new fixtures and hardware

It’s not always necessary to make big changes to see a big difference. Often, attention to detail can completely transform the feel of a property. One example of this is fixtures and hardware, because we use them without thinking every single day.

Changing out white plastic light switches, for example, to a metal cover that lends a modern touch, or swapping damaged or missing cupboard door handles for a sleek alternative can make the whole room look more considered and put together. Tenants notice these details and it can make a property feel more luxurious and elevated, without requiring a lot of time or money.

Address exteriors

The exterior of the property may not be in your sole control as a landlord, such as in the case of a flat, but if you do have a say in how it looks, make sure it’s inviting. If you can make changes, consider trimming back any overgrown plants or trees, clean and repair blocked or broken guttering, power wash the walls if they’ve become mossy and grimy, and make sure door and window frames are sanded back and repainted. Chipped paint and overgrown gardens can make a property look neglected and derelict, so it’s worth taking the time to carry out some simple maintenance to bring them back to life.

Add greenery

The demand for gardens has grown exponentially in recent years, so landscaping outdoor spaces can make a huge difference to the look and feel of a rental property. Create areas for entertaining with paving or decking and choose low maintenance shrubs and evergreens that add colour throughout the year without the extra work for tenants. Couple this with outdoor lighting that’s both practical and atmospheric, and you have the makings of a beautiful garden that tenants will love to call their own.

A clean, modern and well decorated rental may look better in the property listings, but making these changes is about more than aesthetics. It’s a strategic upgrade that can make your investment more appealing to tenants – when people find a place they love and that ticks all the boxes in terms of looks and functionality, they’re more inclined to stay put which is great news for landlords. Implementing budget-friendly repairs and swaps to make a rental look and feel well maintained and contemporary can make all the difference to attracting and retaining reliable, quality tenants.