Finders Keepers

Bricks and Mortar

Upgrading a property to increase rental income


Last summer we were contacted by the owner of a property in Headington who had been letting it privately for years to the same tenant at the same rent. They knew the 3 bedroom, semi-detached house had the potential to achieve more but didn't have time to manage the project and so they contacted our East Oxford office. The property condition had fallen below market standard, so we recommended a full upgrade throughout via our in-house renovations division, Bricks & Mortar. The landlord was keen to go ahead as it allowed them to have input without having to coordinate multiple different trades themselves.

The project
The main focus was to bring the property up to standard for the rental market; if you want to get the best tenant at the best rent, the property needs to be in the best condition. You also need to consider the target market - based on its size and location this house needed to target professional couples or a family, most likely working at the hospitals or the Universities.

Bringing the property up to standard
For rental properties it is advisable to have a modern, neutral d├ęcor throughout. This included full redecoration throughout, including flooring. The boiler was previously in one of the bedrooms - not ideal for a rental property. It was moved downstairs, bringing all plant equipment together and providing more space in the second bedroom. As the project included substantial reconfiguration of the downstairs area, we also gave the option to replumb the property at this time and replace all radiators in line with the new, modern look. We gave this as an option as the existing equipment was sufficient, but the client saw the value in upgrading everything in one go and opted to proceed.

Considering the target market
There were several changes proposed to make this 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom property more attractive to the family market including increasing the size of the kitchen and adding a second shower room upstairs. The previous kitchen/bathroom layout was poor, so walls were moved to make the kitchen a better size and appliances were chosen with the target market in mind, such as better refrigeration options and a full dishwasher rather than a slimline one. The majority of renovation upstairs was to the master bedroom, where an en-suite shower room was added with space-saving sanitary ware. An electric shower was selected so that there will always be a working shower in the property if there is a boiler breakdown - a plus for both tenants and landlords. A quiet extractor fan was installed to encourage tenants to leave it on, ventilating the new shower room.

Energy efficiency
The downstairs of the property had very little natural light due to poor window configuration to the back. Bi-fold doors were fitted to the rear of the house, and a glass pane was installed in the internal door to allow light transfer between the kitchen and lounge. The property was also re-wired throughout, including upgrading the existing fuse board, and centralising light fittings.

The result
The transformation of this 3 bedroom house is impressive, and the letting team in East Oxford found a tenant on the first viewing at double the previous rent thanks to this complete property renovation. With over 45 years of experience of the letting market in Oxfordshire, we know what tenants like, and it was the application of that knowledge to this project that helped to get such a great result for the delighted landlord. If you would like to discuss your property, call us on 01865 302350.