One of London’s best known lettings agents says unfurnished properties can take 30 per cent longer to let than a furnished equivalent, even in the capital’s current strong rental market.
Anita Mehra of Benham & Reeves adds that around 80 per cent of her firm’s tenants prefer fully-furnished properties.
These figures apply to both existing and new-build units, Mehra believes.
“A new apartment may be a blank canvas but it lacks character – that homely feel. When a new building launches, there is a lot of competition from virtually identical units, so stylish furnishings allow a property to really shine and stand out from the crowd. If applicants can picture themselves living in the apartment, they are more likely to fall in love with it and make a swift offer” she says.
“Most of our landlords recognise this and factor furnishings into the start-up costs of their buy to let property.”
Mehta says the precise cost of furnishing will be determined by the property’s target market: “A professional with a good accommodation budget will expect stylish, high quality furnishings to match their aspirations and reflect their status. Students will probably be content with a good, but more basic standard” she suggests.
She says a rough guide would be to spend 1.5 per cent of the value of the property on furnishings including accessories, cutlery, linen and so on - or, more simply, to buy a furniture pack from a developer or agent if one is on offer.
“If renters are paying top dollar, they expect their apartment to offer that luxury lifestyle – a sophisticated home where they can simply unpack their belongings and get on with their life” she concludes.