If you’re new to property management, you likely have a long to-do list of everything that needs to get done before your first renter moves in. So, where to start?
Furnishing your rental is a big piece of the puzzle and may feel overwhelming. As we all know, furniture can get pricey, and the idea of furnishing an entire unit in one fell swoop might be causing some anxiety right about now. But before you go buy a ton of low-cost furniture made from plastic and imitation wood, there are some things you need to consider, including the importance of investing in furniture that will last more than just a couple of years.
What are renters looking for in a medium- or long-term rental?
As a property manager, you have to understand your renter’s needs. Remember, since they’re not bringing their own furniture, a renter is looking for specific things in a rental that will fit their lifestyle. But since you don’t know what those needs are yet, you’ll need to be prepared for a variety of scenarios.
That doesn’t mean going overboard though. Since you need to prepare for different scenarios, that also includes the different tastes and styles of your potential renters. Your renter will want to make your rental their own to call “home,” so the furniture and decor need to be accommodating, but not consuming. That goes for both the amount of furniture you put in the space and the style of the furniture.
Why fast furniture is not your best option
We’ve all had that moment: you see a really cool, modern piece of furniture for a smokin’ deal that seems a little too good to be true. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the more affordable furniture and decor you’d find on the market is mass-produced and, thus, of questionable quality. That piece you got for practically nothing looks great now, and may seem relatively sturdy, but you likely won’t get more than a few years out of it. The reason products such as these are so affordably priced is because they are made from cheap materials and are designed to be convenient, but they damage easily and can’t be repaired. So into the landfill they go—and then you’re forced to spend even more money on replacements.
Brands that could be considered fast furniture are IKEA, Wayfair, and even Target and Wal-Mart. However, these brands do carry higher-priced, higher-quality products in addition to their low-priced items, so you don’t need to totally count them out while you’re furniture shopping for your rental property.
We know that, oftentimes, higher-priced furniture isn’t accessible for a lot of shoppers who are on a budget, but it’s important to search for the best quality you can get for your buck. So instead of purchasing a bed frame made from particle board and plastic from IKEA that has a short lifespan, investing in a solid wood bed frame will actually save you money in the long run. Buying secondhand furniture on OfferUp or a local thrift shop is also a great option for those with a budget and sustainability in mind.
How to make your rental property the most comfortable and appealing to prospective tenants
Let’s talk specifics. When it comes to choosing a style for the furniture and decor in your rental property, it’s best to stay neutral. Avoid super intense colors, as they’ll be hard to coordinate with other items and tones. Incorporating tasteful accent colors is great, but moderation is key.
You may want to keep most of the walls a neutral color such as a soft white or light tan color, but having one bold-colored wall in the living room or bedroom is a fun way to bring in some personality without going overboard. Neutral textures are also a great option to liven up the space without overwhelming it. You’d be surprised at how a throw pillow or bedspread with a simple geometric pattern can pull a space together and add the perfect ‘pop.’
The fixtures and appliances you choose for your rental are also things to keep in mind when considering tenant appeal. Year after year, stainless steel appliances top the favorites lists. In a year-end roundup from the weekly Houzz Kitchens of the Week series, all five of the most favorite kitchens in 2019 had stainless steel appliances.
How to upgrade your comfort level without breaking the bank
Realistically, we know you can’t spend top dollar on everything you put in your rental property. But if there’s one room you can really invest in, make it the bedroom. One’s bedroom is supposed to be their oasis, right?
Something you should never EVER skimp on in your rental property is the mattress. Not only for your renter’s sake, but for yours as well. It probably goes without saying, but as with most things, you get what you pay for. And if you go for the cheapest mattress you can find, chances are you’re going to get some not-so-happy messages from your tenant when they inevitably have a hard time sleeping.
That doesn’t mean spending $5,000 on a bed either. Gone are the days of mattress showrooms filled with heart attack-inducing price tags. Now, you can buy a mattress online and have it delivered in a box to your door. While you’re at it, splurge on nice bedding and a protector to extend the life of the mattress. Even on a tight budget, dropping a little extra to make sure your tenant is sleeping comfortably is definitely the right move.
Hopefully you feel ready to start filling your rental with furniture and decor. If you need additional help along the way, there are plenty of resources for property managers available on the Kopa blog.
About the author:
Erin Cline is a copywriter at Tuft & Needle, a direct-to-consumer sleep company that completely changed how customers shop for the products they use every night.