Furnishing a buy-to-let in Sofia!
The ground rules for renovating for successful tenanting of a residential rental property are space-light-neutral-accessorise!:
Space = value: Creating the illusion of more space (hence more rental income compared to similar apartments) is based on choosing lighter space enhancing tones for paint and flooring and even the kitchen which enhance rather than detract from the sense of space. Let’s face it most developers tend to maximise the so called ‘common areas’ and your average 120 m2 2 bed apartment is then in real terms more like 95 m2 of habitable space. Obviously with such a relatively limited amount of space you do not want to crowd the apartment with heavy dark or traditional style furnishing which may detract from the illusion of space that you are trying to create. It is a highly competitive business especially after the building boom so every small advantage you can get at design stage will help to differentiate your product i.e. your apartment at point of ‘sale’ i.e. renting to a potential tenant. If with these 4 simple steps you can create the illusion of having 10% more space than is physically there then your apartment will be chosen against a similar apartment which again on paper is offering the same or similar living space. To create this sense of space I advise knocking out as many unnecessary partition walls as possible to open up the property to allow natural light and movement and communication with the person cooking in the kitchen transforming it into a shared social activity rather than a solitary experience. Of course you have to weigh this against the odour from the kitchen which will then spread around the apartment. However with modern strong extractor hoods (absorbatori) you resolve most of this issue and in any case with hectic modern lifestyles many people nowadays whether you like it or not microwave their food or simply cook a quick snack or re-heat a takeaway, this is the hard reality of modern living! The strategic use of mirrors is also as I am sure you are aware key to creating the illusion of space. Regarding furnishing space is created by choosing glass tables over heavy wood items as it is all about allowing the onlooker’s eye to travel around the room without obstruction giving this valuable sensation of space that you need for optimum rental. The other area that affects space impression is the choice of flooring polished tiles reflect back the light, whilst lighter parquet floors also create a sense of space especially classical styles with a modern twist such as bleached oak laminate flooring. Regarding the skirting the eye should be allowed again to travel to infinity without obstruction through the wall so a trick here is to make the skirting the same colour as the wall not the floor, yes I know it is counter-intuitive but believe me it works! For wall paints light yellow/primrose is good for bedrooms cosy and fresh at the same time with green undertones to reflect back light and give a sensation of space. Very pale green is space enhancing as is very pale mauve/salmon (NOT PINK!), even the lightest of biscuit or browns can accent a specific wall for detail. The best colour for enhancing space is a very light grey almost but NOT WHITE as this rather like URULU (Ayers Rock in Australia) then allows external light to penetrate the surface of the paint then reflect back so that the walls then take on a life of their own at different times of the day reflecting back the shade and light from the source of natural light. However I heard you today with Maria and you have good ideas for the paint colours so this is obviously one of your strong points where you have a clear vision.
Light = space: More lights are better than less lights it is an affordable way of zoning a property especially when it is open plan and gives a cost effective sense of luxury to the future tenant, for this it is always good to have a zone where there is a dimmer switch to allow the occupants to change the mood of their environment. Light also refers to light tones for paint and flooring and furnishing. One trick taught to me by an architect who rented out her London property to tennis stars is to have a cream or White leather sofa s a feature in the property, don’t ask me why but it works when attracting the all important tenant you seek! Many of the furnishing and finishing points such as use of mirrors and polished Gres tiles is also mentioned in the section above. Breaking down partition walls internally also allows light to filter through the property. Darker floor & wall finishing and furnishing is OK for rental but only in large apartments with high ceiling s and lots of natural light where they will not dominate or cramp the available space but rather enhance it by making it on a more human scale. So I would recommend this for apartments with over 150 m2 in livable space where you do not face the challenge of making the property feel bigger than it really is to compensate for the size.
Neutral = mass appeal:
Tenants do not need or want to feel that your style or anybody Else’s for that matter has been imposed on them. Having neutral coordinated tones throughout the apartment helps to allow the prospective tenant to imagine living there and bringing their own accessories paintings and personal possessions into the space to make it their own. Rather than restricting and limiting your options you want to appeal to the most people possible whilst offending the least possible this is where the neutral element comes into it’s own. It may seem bland and boring not cosy or unappealing to you or I but let’s face it we are not going to live there it is a rental property a rental unit a retail business commodity that you want maximum ROI on as a result!
This is another reason to avoid the heavy cosy so called ‘oyutno’ style so favoured by local designers and property owners seeking international and executive tenants for their rental property. You can always accessorise with cushions and the odd painting on the wall or a small carpet under the coffee table or curtains etc… to give the place character if you are afraid that so much light and neutral leaves the place feeling sterile believe me this is far from my intentions as you can see by an apartment I bought, gutted and renovated from a shell to a luxury hi-end property in 3-4 months when I first came to BG. It is only 111 m2 but it feels like many properties of 140 m2 due to the design focused on open spaces, neutral tones, accent colours and light space enhancing finishing materials . This property encapsulates the styling I recommend for rental property without being too crazy or modern but with that constant theme of space-light-neutral-accent-accessorise!
If you want to spend real money from the budget that will make a difference to help get your property rented-out then spend most time and thought on the kitchen and the bathroom it is still a woman’s world and they invariably choose the property for their man when it comes to renting, this is the same the world over!
I hope this diatribe has not put you to sleep yet and that you have managed to read through it if you have congratulations and I hope that at the very least I have been of help and that you now see I have method in my madness!