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Refurbishment Case Study #1

Background and Case for Refurbishment

The landlord had recently acquired this property in Castlefield, Manchester with existing furniture and sitting tenants paying £750pcm. Our first instinct was that this was on the low side for a 2 bedroom in the development, as most 2 bedroom properties were in the £825-£875pcm region.

Upon inspection of the property, we found that unlike nearly all other apartments in the complex, this property lacked a balcony and the furniture was cheap, unremarkable and/or worn. When the sitting tenants decided to leave, despite frequent viewings, the property received no offers. Feedback was also annoyingly nondescript,  most people just took a different flat instead. Therefore, we recognised that although there was technically nothing wrong with the apartment, the perceived balance of negatives was outweighing the positives of the flat.

On paper, we had a well maintained, spacious two bedroom apartment with equally large bedrooms, an en suite, parking and in a gated community. What people saw, however, was no balcony (on the 6th floor), cheap uncomfortable mattresses, cheap worn faux leather sofas and the positive of a large built in wardrobe in one bedroom countered with only an IKEA Aneboda wardrobe in the other.

The Aenboda. Just... why?

The Aneboda. Just… why? It may be only £55, but reminds your tenants of their student houses.

Essentially we had an apartment in the professional market but furnished to a student digs standard… on a tight budget.

What did we do?

  • • Replace the faux leather sofas for one large corner sofa.
  • • Supplied a TV stand, so the living room had a focal point from the sofa.
  • • Replace the mattresses
  • • Replace the wardrobe and supply a matching chest of drawers
  • • Repainted the living room walls and ceiling

 

Ideally, we wanted to keep the layout of a two seater and three seater sofa for the comfort of the tenants, but there was limited space with the current dining set, which took up an unnecessarily large portion of the room. However, there was nothing wrong with the set, other than its size and replacing it would have been an unnecessary cost. We had to make the best of the space we had.

As space was at a premium, we offered to make a 3D model of the living room so that we could make sure that the furniture we were going to supply would fit and have a layout we were happy with. We came up with multiple layouts and the landlord chose his preference.

Modelling allowed the landlord to visualise that the sofa they originally specified would have been too small, rather than discovering this after delivery. We were able to source an alternative sofa that was on sale at the time. Changing the specification was only a marginal increase in cost, in return for a lot more functionality.

Our final touch was to add set dressing throughout including full bedding, throws, cushions, kitchenware and dining ware to allow any potential viewers to visualise the space when it is occupied and accentuate our marketing photos.

How Long Did It Take?

One week from planning to completion

How Much Did It Cost?

  • • Furniture supply and removal of old pieces – £1140.00
  • • Repaint – £150.00
  • • Set dressing and 3D modelling – included in management package
  • • Total – £1290.00

 

The Result

  • • The property was let on the same day the property returned to the market.
  • • We increased the rent from £750pcm to £850pcm.
  • • At the current rate, the ROI is just under 13 months.

 

Recognising a problem and taking swift action significantly reduced a potential void period that could have easily cost the money spent in one week. Standards have increased significantly since nearby new-builds have completed and the standard expected by tenants have, in turn, increased. Due to the lack of supply in the past and rising demand, rental prices have seen a steady increase, even where the standard was low. The supply and standard now in the Manchester market has now given tenants the choice to refuse properties that don’t meet their expectations, especially as many would rather pay a premium for better quality than make a sacrifice in living standards.

If you are thinking of refurbishing your property, one of our team will be happy to discuss how we can help. Depending on the scale of your works, we can offer incentives to our managed landlords to ease the costs. If you help us let the property by giving us a better product, it’s only fair we help you.

Call 0161 696 1212 or enquiries@rtresidential.co.uk if you would like some more information.

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