Is it better to let your property furnished or unfurnished?
Furnishing is a major difference between sales and letting with over 95% of properties for sale1 furnished by the seller, who is motivated to make the house look great. The buyer accepts that the property is to be sold unfurnished unless by specific negotiation and extra payment.
In the letting market, some tenants will expect a property to be furnished and other tenants will expect a property to be unfurnished. The decision to furnish or not is driven by the profile of the tenants and the type of property.
A grudge purchase?
In letting, furnishing is sometimes seen as a ‘grudge’ purchase. Landlords would prefer not to spend money on it as it is a sunk cost. The reverse is also true: landlords do not enjoy un-furnishing a furnished property (for example, when a tenant has their own furniture) as it requires manpower and incurs storage costs.
However, furnishing matters. Successful landlords put their energy into working with the prevailing tenant demand rather than fighting it.
Should I furnish my property for letting?
This is driven by the property type and the market. We strongly advise that you listen to the market rather than become entrenched in your opinion.
In our market, we know that Oxford apartments need to be furnished, as many tenants come from abroad without furniture. Outside Oxford we recommend that studios are furnished and larger apartments are unfurnished. Family houses are mostly unfurnished in all areas, though flexibility may be needed.
Listen to viewing feedback
These guidelines are not set in stone. If your property is not letting, listen to the viewing feedback: you may need to furnish or unfurnish to attract a good tenant. This can be annoying (see ‘grudge purchase’ above!), but with good negotiation we will make the letting work.
Should I include appliances, crockery and bed linen?
Appliances: Yes. 99% of applicants expect good quality white goods as standard. If you expect the tenants to provide their own appliances, you create a barrier between your property and a good tenant.
Crockery and linen: No. 20 years ago perhaps this was expected, but times have changed. We strongly recommend not providing crockery and linen unless you are offering short lets.
This is one of the 50 most asked questions in our new book: Landlord Intelligence.
(1) With newly built properties it is different. Normally a show-home represents the finished article and contracts are exchanged on an unfurnished property.