The Public Liability Insurance Blog

Furnished or unfurnished? That is the question...

Modern FurnitureThis is a guest post from Urban Sales and Lettings.

About six years ago I bought one of my first buy to let properties. It was a repossession in absolutely immaculate condition, a great buy and I didn’t need to do a thing to it to get it ready to rent out. Feeling more than happy with my purchase a few days before completion I uploaded it on to an online estate agents and was setting up viewings before I even had the keys! The property is in South West London and I advertised it as unfurnished hoping to find that perfect let, a young professional couple with good city jobs ready to move immediately with all their furniture in tow. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

On the day after I received the keys I had four viewings setup. Two professional couples and two professional sharers. I felt sure one of them would take the new jewel in my property crown on at full price. The first viewing showed up well presented and very impressed with the general specification I was waiting for the offer right there on the spot, then the question “What kind of furniture will you be putting in it?” To my disappointment they were looking for a furnished let even though I had clearly advertised the property as unfurnished, they just missed that part of the advert.

Slightly frustrated and annoyed, I explained the property was unfurnished and waited for the next couple. They arrived, and not to my surprise loved the place again. As we finished the viewing and approached the door I eagerly awaited the offer or at least a positive response and what did they say? “We love it! What furniture will you be providing?” Viewing three and four came and went and you guessed it both were looking for a furnished let.

I had totally misjudged my market, looking back it really was obvious, the demographic of the area is 20 to 30 something young couples or professional sharers, just a few years out of uni, not many are investing in beds and wardrobes and they want no hassle easy living from their rental. After four wasted viewings I listened to what prospective tenants wanted, furnished the flat with modern sturdy furniture and let it a week or so later with no trouble at all.

So what’s the lesson learnt here? You need to get your property right for the market you are in and be flexible, furnishing or being prepared to offer essential furniture can significantly increase the chance of securing good tenants for a property quickly; which will end up saving you money in lost rent caused by void periods. Be prepared to be asked about furniture even if you have made it very clear in your advertising that the property is unfurnished with your estate agents. If you do decide to purchase furniture for the right tenants don’t be tempted to do it on the cheap. Certainly look around for bargains and the best deal but ensure you are getting good quality furniture that will last for longer than one tenancy period.

Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings

Image credit: AgnosticPreachersKid, Creative Commons License