Should I offer my rental property furnished or unfurnished?

Q: I am moving in with my boyfriend and want to rent out my property. Should I rent it on a furnished or unfurnished basis?

A: Tenants expect different things from different properties. For example, 90% of family houses are rented out on an unfurnished basis as most families already own their own furniture and will bring it into their rental property. A family may be renting because they’re doing up their existing home and this saves them paying for storage while the works are being completed. Or a family moving from overseas will often ship their furniture over to help make it feel more homely.

In the flat market, it is more varied. Most one bedroom flats will be rented out on a furnished basis as many tenants renting a one bedroom property are not at the stage in their life where they have accumulated furniture and therefore rely on landlords to provide it. Approximately 70% of two bedroom flats are rented out on a furnished basis too. High end, impressive two bedroom bachelor pad flats are more of a 50:50 split between furnished and unfurnished though, as a tenant at this premium end of the market may well own their own furniture and want to bring it with them. Three bedroom flats are also more on a 50:50 split as well.

If you already own furniture, you may choose to market your property on a non-negotiable furnished basis, unless you want to take the furniture with you, in which case, you may advertise it unfurnished. If however, your property is a smaller one or two bedroom flat, you will be reducing the appeal if you don’t provide furniture. If you think the move with your boyfriend is going to be long term (fingers crossed!) and you think you may hold on to the property as a long term rental investment, then it might be worth considering investing in nice rental furniture at the outset. Rental properties which have been furnished really nicely and dressed to a certain extent, for example beds being made up, coffee table books and decorative vases strategically placed tend to rent very well, much more so than empty, stark properties or those with a mixture of nonmatching furniture. A piece of advice if you do choose to go down the furnished route is to invest in good quality furniture from the outset – it will make for a good long-term investment. If you scrimp or choose badly, it may go against the appeal of the flat and could turn out to be a false economy.

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