Furnished V’s Unfurnished rentals: The pros and cons for landlords

When it comes to renting out a property, one of the main dilemmas a landlord will face, is whether to market it furnished or unfurnished. Both have their good and bad points, so it’s just a case of deciding which suits you best. To try and make the decision a little easier, we’ve listed below some of the pros and cons.

Insurance

When you lease out a property, you need to insure it, so buildings insurance is necessary regardless. When you have a fully furnished property, you need to make sure that the contents are also covered, so even with a combined buildings and contents policy, it will cost you more each month.

Shop around for the best deals and keep an eye on the figures. If your contents insurance premiums each month are on par or higher than the extra rent you can obtain, it might be worth ditching the furniture and renting unfurnished instead. 

Rent levels

Furnished rentals will usually command higher rent levels, but if you aren’t sure, talk to a local agent and find out typical rent levels and what the market in your area usually calls for.

If, for example, it’s an area that attracts students, furnished will likely be the way forward. If, on the other hand, you are targeting large families, there is every chance they already have furniture.  

Unfurnished equates to less hassle

Although renting your property fully-furnished might earn you a bit more money each month, you need to weigh up the hassle factor. Fire regulations can change, which could mean you have to replace sofas or mattresses etc., from time to time, and may be costly. Although you can get away with a bit of wear and tear, if furniture has seen better days and needs replacing, it could substantially eat into your profits.

You are also at the mercy of your tenants to a degree when it comes to including furniture and other items within the rental agreement. If they don’t keep things as clean as they should or look after things very well, you could find yourself reading the best guide for getting rid of bed bugs online or figuring out how to fix a damaged washing machine. Consider your options in their entirety before committing, or you could regret it.

You may be reducing potential interest

When making your decision, bear in mind that you could alienate a huge chunk of your target market if you get it wrong. Many people don’t have furniture of their own and rely on their rental property being fully-equipped with everything they need.

You will never please everyone, of course, so as we touched on earlier, your best bet is to establish what your target market is likely to want. If it’s furnished properties that are in the most demand, then doing so could make things a lot easier, and you will be less likely to have periods where the property is empty.

On the flip side, there will always be tenants that don’t want the same as everyone else. They could be desperate for a place that has nothing in it, so you may find that going against the grain poses no issues at all.

Agency costs

If you are using an agent to find suitable tenants for your rental and manage the income, bear in mind that they will probably charge more for a furnished property. If they provide a full management service, most will take a percentage of your monthly rental figure. As furnished properties usually warrant a higher rent level, the agents will also take more each month.

Inspection and inventory fees will also be higher as there will be far more involved at the beginning and end of each tenancy. A full inventory check is needed before each tenant occupies and vacates, which can be fairly time-consuming. Inspections will also take longer, so be prepared to pay more to your agents.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are various pros and cons when it comes to renting furnished or unfurnished, and you may not know if you’ve made the right choice until it’s too late.

If you have furniture in place already, it might be worthwhile renting furnished for the duration of your initial let.

If your property is empty, it might be worth putting it up for rent and seeing how you go. If there are no takers, you might need to bite the bullet and kit it out.

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