Happy%20older%20couple_iStock_000018264648MediumMeeting tenant expectations can mean the difference between a rented apartment and an empty one, writes Head of Residential Property Management PAULA JONES.

With a host of apartments on the market chasing potential tenants, positioning your property in the right way is vital. For investors, this can mean offering a partly or fully furnished option so a good tenant can walk in and start living.

But that doesn’t mean cobbling together old furniture and hoping for the best. You can get a better rental return if you provide quality, modern furnishings that are both durable and attractive.

High on tenant wish lists are light, neutral colours (on walls as well as furniture), wooden floors, natural light, modern window treatments and a lack of clutter. Minimalism is better than overcrowding. Decoration matters, so appropriate cushions and throws, artwork and other elements can add to the overall perception of quality. Inexpensive doesn’t have to look cheap, and tenants won’t be impressed if it does.

They also want a fridge, dishwasher and washing machine in place – and frankly, so do you. The fewer bulky goods tenants are moving in and out of your apartment, the less damage that can be caused to your walls or floors.

Lastly, they want everything crisp and clean, so professionally clean any furniture when a tenant departs, dry-clean cushions and throws, and ensure things are as good as new.

THREE MUST-HAVES TO WOW TENANTS

The full Monty: There are several Perth companies that will fit your entire investment property out, right down to the pots and pans in the kitchen drawers and vase on the table. Expect to pay between $15,000 and $20,000 for a mid-sized apartment. This can save you having to piece together a complete furnishing kit yourself and most companies engage an interior designer and moving team to ensure you don’t have to lift a finger.

Clever lighting: No-one looks their best under a single fluorescent globe, however cheap they are to run. Ensure your apartment lighting is warm without being blinding and that there are options for different purposes – something for reading by, something moody for watching a film, and lamps for specific purposes if you are renting the apartment with furnishings. Your property manager should be able to provide this advice; otherwise talk to a local lighting store about cost-effective options.

The MasterChef touch: Tenants usually expect to find a fridge, washing machine and dishwasher in their apartment but surprise them with other kitchen touches as well. Tenants like to be able to have a selection of kitchen appliances, which might include a juicer or small coffee machine, blender or kitchen whiz. You don’t have to invest in everything but one or two standout items can separate your apartment from the others available nearby.