Friday, May 25, 2012

To furnish or not to furnish

The question of whether to furnish or not is always asked of property managers and the answer is really determined by the following factors:
·        Where your property is
·        What type of property it is
·        Who your target market is
·        Timing of your property being available
As a rule, apartments in the city are often well received furnished or part furnished with whitegoods included. Most properties in areas surrounding the city are better off as un-furnished. A lot of potential tenants already have their own furniture or are happy to purchase to make the property “their own”. Apartments or units in inner city suburbs or seaside suburbs can sometimes also be popular furnished, but not as much as the city.
The type of investment property you have is also a factor to determine whether to furnish particularly because of the tenants it will attract. Typically apartments and units are often sort after for furnished properties because they are places people stay but not necessarily “live” in. They have apartments when they don’t need a lot of space or want much to maintain but need somewhere based on location.
Furnished properties are normally more popular during the summer period and also at the end of financial year. The reason for this is because this is when most interstate and international transfers occur and helps with an easier transition for these newcomers to the state. It is also when more university students arrive, a lot of international students are after furnished accommodation.
The target market for furnished properties is predominately students and executive business people. They look for properties that take low maintenance but are convenient to work or university. If your property is more suited to student accommodation, it is often a good idea to have it furnished in a way suitable for students ie. Desks. When marketing towards a business executive, you need to make sure that your property is furnished with quality furnishings, the same as what they would expect and already have in their own home.
If you do decide to furnish your property, there are a few rules to follow:
·        keep the furniture simple
·        furnishings will need to be at the same standard that people are now used to (modern and good quality)
·        keep the property uncluttered
·        normally have all double beds (or larger) in each bedroom
·        keep furnishings neutral and hard wearing
·        allow to have to update the furnishings over the years, as they can easily date a property
·        don’t leave linen, but do place mattress protectors on each bed
·        don’t leave anything that is close to your heart
Another decision is whether you would like to equip the property with basic equipment eg. cutlery, crockery, saucepans, knives, vacuum cleaner, lamps,  rugs etc. Once again, keep this simple, neutral and expect that accidents do happen and therefore a glass or two may be broken.
You also need to remember; anything that is included with the property (tv, microwave, fridge, washing machine etc) will need to be attended to if it breaks down. It is the same as if an oven stops working, the owner is responsible to have this repaired or replaced (if necessary).
With all furnished properties, whether self-managing or through an agent an inventory should be created of all furnishings and equipment included and the condition of them.
Historically, furnished properties will receive a higher rental return then un-furnished, but this is no reason to make a decision to furnish your property. Having a furnished property can severely limit your market to one third of potential tenants.
Before rushing out and purchasing furniture, it is recommended you speak to a professional or check what other properties are in the market. Currently, there is an over-supply of furnished property, so recommendations would be to leave the property empty or advertise as furnishings negotiable.

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