New research shows that a majority of tenants would prefer to rent an unfurnished home. Online property management platform Howsy analysed existing rental property listings on Rightmove and Zoopla to compare the level of stock already snapped up by tenants as a proportion of all stock listed.
The study found that in 19 of 23 major cities, demand for unfurnished homes was the highest, hitting 41% on average.
Demand for an unfurnished rental property was at its highest in Plymouth and Portsmouth, both at 62%, while Bristol followed at 60%.
In four cities, tenants opted for a partly furnished home with demand at an average of 35%, although demand for a partly furnished home was at its highest in Bournemouth (59%), Bristol (57%) and Plymouth (55%).
Meanwhile, furnished homes saw demand drop to just 21% overall, with Bristol (37%), Nottingham (33%), Oxford and Newport (30%) home to the highest demand for non-furnished rental homes.
Calum Brannan, founder and CEO of Howsy, commented: “The initial costs surrounding a buy-to-let investment can quickly pile up and so as a landlord, it’s important to decide how you’re going to furnish your home, if at all.
“It can be a laborious process and one that comes back around if any items are missing or damaged come the end of the tenancy, and our research shows that it may not even be necessary.
“Currently, the majority of tenants are opting for unfurnished homes and this could be due to a few reasons.
“In the current climate, some may not want to run the risk of using furniture from a previous tenant. Others will want to work with a blank canvass as you would when buying your own home in order to put their own stamp on the place.
“While some may already have their own furniture which they won’t want to get rid of, but it can be costly to store and unpractical to bring to an already furnished home.”
As a general rule, an unfurnished property is limited to minimal items. Items that will always be included in almost all properties are fridge/freezer, washing machine and oven/hob, flooring, window coverings, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures – but nothing in the way of furniture, free-standing storage units, or smaller items like cutlery.
If you are letting out a property in an unfurnished state, you should still include the following at a minimum:
· Kitchen fixtures
· White goods: cooker, fridge, freezer, washing machine
· Bathroom fixtures
· Carpets or other types of flooring
· Curtains or blinds
Benefits of letting an unfurnished property
· Your initial outlay will be considerably less if you don’t have to furnish the property
· No sleepless nights over damages or replacing items due to wear and tear
· No need to insure any furniture the tenant brings with them
· Perfect for tenants moving with their own furniture as they won’t have to shell out for storage
· Tenants will generally be happier surrounded by their own furniture
· Could well attract tenants looking for a longer, more stable tenancy
· No need to clear the property should you choose to sell, which will cut your costs
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