In our previous article, I gave some tips on identifying the target market for your condo unit. Once this has been done, the next step is to furnish or renovate your unit. Should you fully furnish it or leave it bare? If you decide to furnish, what furniture and appliances do you include? Do you hire the services of an interior designer or just decorate it yourself?
Personally, I would advise on fully furnishing your unit. Although there are tenants who would be bringing their furniture with them, I believe the market requiring fully furnished units is still bigger.
Furnishing Your Unit
Normally, a tenant will avoid buying big appliances as these can be difficult to move, so it is best if the owner buy these items. These may include the following: air conditioner, washer/dryer, refrigerator, stove/oven/cooktop, microwave oven, bed & mattress, curtains, lighting fixtures, side tables, cabinets and drawer, and television set. If you would like to make your unit more irresistible, you may go as far as putting in a nice sound system, Ipod dock, wifi router, rice cooker, kitchen and dining utensils, lazy boy seats, king size bed, and others.
I would suggest that you hire an interior designer to help create your unit’s design. Good designers not only create attractive and tasteful designs, but know where to purchase the right furniture and accessories at the best price. It is also best that you sit down with your designer and agree on the design theme for the unit. This saves time on site inspections and helps prevent problems or misunderstandings.
If you have design taste and time to spare, here are some tips to help you create your unit’s unique look:
1. Decide on a theme – Will you go Asian, European, modern, funky, classical , or Oriental? it is important that you stick to one theme. Self designed units have a tendency to have too many elements. Have a central focus on your unit. This can be a beautiful painting or artwork that complements your unit’s design and adds unique flavor or character.
2. Make it unique – In order for your unit to stand out and be a cut above your competitors, have at least one market differentiator in your unit. Some examples are: an expanded toilet, and a large LCD or LED TV with surround sound system for the male target market; or a walk-in closet and well-lighted dresser with glasstop drawer for your female market.
3. Provide plenty of storage – A secret to keeping your tenants happy and staying in your unit is to provide plenty of storage for their personal belongings. Unless another unit will have similar storage space, it will not be easy for your tenant to transfer to another unit. Maximize space by creating cabinets under beds, shoe cabinets, and floor to ceiling cabinets in the toilet or closet.
4. Think of tenant comfort – Always have your user in mind when you furnish your unit. Design your unit in a way that you will personally be happy living in it. As much as possible, avoid buying appliances or furniture based on low price alone. Consider durability, ease of use and whether it adds beauty to your unit. Give your tenant something to look forward to when they come home. How about an automatic washer/dryer? A nice cooktop, deep fryer, espresso machine, high thread count Egyptian bedsheets are just some suggestions for you to consider.
5. Focus on quality and durability – When buying furniture and furnishing materials, give priority to products that will last. Having this is mind will help save you on future expenses. Good quality furnishing will also look better and add more value to your unit.
Furnishing a unit can take from as fast as one week (for quick renovations, where you just buy off-the-shelf furniture), to as long as 6-8 months if you obtain the services of an interior designer and a contractor to execute the drawings. Made to order furniture, ceiling works, repainting, and change of flooring can also add to the length of your renovation.
In my opinion, furnish your unit to the best that you can afford and to the quality that you personally will be happy to rent the unit. If you provide a well designed unit and make your tenant comfortable in their stay then rest assured that you will get tenants who will return the favor by taking good care of your unit and renew their lease contracts.
Carl Dy, is a property investor and Director for Sales at one of the Philippines leading developers. He has 10 years of experience in the property business, and is continually building up his property portfolio with an ultimate goal of living on passive income from property. He believes that property investment, just like business is not an automatic money generating product. One must have a passion for it, create and execute a strategy and give time and effort for the investment to flourish. For tips and advice, feel free to contact him at email@example.com