There are many things landlords need to consider when they let their property. But one of the primary decisions you will make centres around letting your buy-to-let furnished or unfurnished. To furnish or not to furnish? That is the question.
Ultimately, it's entirely up to you whether you fully furnish, part furnish or offer your rental property as a blank canvas for renters. And while there's no definitive answer, we're here to help you make an informed decision with our guide to furnishing your buy-to-let.
Should you let your property furnished?
Before deciding on whether or not to furnish your property, there are a few things worth considering. For starters, what type of property do you have? Smaller apartments (one and two-bedrooms) that are located in the city are often more sought-after when they come with furniture.
Renters may come from overseas or another town or city and would prefer to move into somewhere that's ready to go. Furnished homes tend to attract younger renters too, especially if they don't see themselves living somewhere for the long term. Therefore, you need to take location and renter demographic into account before deciding if you should furnish your place.
What about unfurnished homes?
Alternatively, larger homes – and those outside cities – attract families who want to put their own stamp on the property. Furnishing a three-bedroom-plus home can be costly too, as you have more bedrooms (and sometimes second living rooms to think about).
It would help if you also thought about how long the renter might stay in your property. While it's hard to gauge their longer-term intentions, renters who plan on staying for the long term may wish to furnish the place themselves.
What should be included in a furnished home?
If you're going down the route of furnishing your property, you'll definitely need to include the essentials that every home needs. These include:
- Dining table and chairs
However, if you want to attract renters who want to move into a furnished home, you might consider adding a few extra items. These include:
- Bedside tables
- Chest of drawers
- Coffee table
- TV stand/console table
- Extra storage space
Pros and cons of furnished and unfurnished properties
Pros of letting a furnished home
- The property should let faster, especially in places where there is a high demand for furnished homes.
- The property will appeal more to those coming from overseas or other cities and towns
- You could increase the asking rent (albeit marginally) if it comes with furniture.
- You have the option of using the furniture yourself when the tenancy ends.
Cons of letting a furnished property
- Furnishing an entire place can be expensive.
- Even if you keep furnishings neutral, renters may dislike certain items.
- Furniture can get damaged and will need replacing (though this is deductible).
- If a renter wants the place unfurnished, you may need to store the furniture elsewhere.
Pros of letting an unfurnished property
- Renters who bring their own furniture may end up staying for longer.
- You save on furniture expenses.
- You don't need to insure any contents in the home.
- No replacements required due to wear and tear
Cons of letting an unfurnished property
- Renters who want a furnished home probably won't be interested in an empty property.
- Empty properties aren't as appealing on the eye when they're being marketed.
Is there an in-between option?
If you're unsure about letting your property furnished or unfurnished, you could always choose the in-between option. A part-furnished property comes with the essentials, like a bed and wardrobe. But the renter furnishes the rest of the home.
The part-furnished option could also appease renters who want to put their own stamp on the place but maybe can't afford to furnish an entire home fully. It also means a lower financial outlay for you, which reduces the overall costs associated with being a landlord.
Fair wear & tear and tax implications
Going down the furnished route means you need to think about fair wear & tear, as furniture will need replacing when it's no longer fit for purpose. Fortunately, you can claim back the tax on any replacement furniture – though it needs to be the same price as the previous item. You should also get insurance for any furnished item that you have put in the property.
To furnish or not to furnish?
There is no right or wrong way to go about letting your home when it comes to furnishings. It depends on the property size and its location. As long as you have all the information ready to hand, you can decide on the type of furnishings that will appeal to renters in your local market.