30th April 2018

7 Insider Tips To Help Landlords Get More Money

Category: Lettings


Peter Lessels

Partner, Curchods Walton-on-Thames

The question we get asked the most by Landlords is how to make their property stand out from others on the market.

When letting a property, the two main goals landlords have are usually:

1. Attract the best tenants as quickly as possible

2. Achieve the highest rental income.

The answer is not always spending large amounts of money on the property, but instead being sensible with what you are spending and the areas you are spending it on.

Drawing on my ten years of experience in the property lettings industry, I have seen properties of all shapes and sizes vary in both the interest that they receive and the speed in which they let.  From this experience I’ve developed these tried and tested tips for Landlords, so by the end of this article you can be confident of achieving the best possible rental figure for your property and speed up how quickly you secure a good tenant.  We’ve also provided costs and difficulty ratings for each.


Create the best first impression externally

Whether you are renting or selling, first impressions count for a lot. From a Landlord’s perspective, you want to attract tenants from the start of the viewing, so making the garden presentable is essential!

Not every tenant is in rental accommodation because they cannot afford to buy and even if they are, tenants will be paying a premium to rent and want to be proud to call your property their home.

Gardening is very much a ‘love it or hate it’ activity, but it is such a simple and cost-effective way of dramatically changing the appearance of a property for the better. The majority of tools you will need, such as a garden fork, hand trowel, rake etc. you will likely have tucked away in a shed somewhere. If not, it is very likely that you can borrow tools from family, friends or neighbours.

You can go one step further by spending money planting or landscaping, but keep in mind – for tenants, it is best to have a garden which is low maintenance so if you are planting, get some advice from your local garden centre about using plants which require little or no maintenance. Look out for ‘perennials’ which will keep the garden looking good year after year.


Varies on the level of planting.

Skill Level: Easy

How to go the extra mile?

Dig and shape borders to show clearly defined areas for lawn and shrubbery.

Although more time-consuming as a degree of planning is required, this job can be easily done by the most novice gardener and really only requires either a spade or half-moon cutter. It is always best to mark out the area you wish to cut with garden string to ensure an accurate line. Doing this will give the effect of a manicured and landscaped garden.

If you have a patio or driveway, it may be worth considering pressure washing to restore the original colour and remove any moss, particularly in the spring. Pressure washers can be attached to outside taps and are available for purchase or hire. This is a very simple job that can take little time, depending on the size of the patio, but which guarantees a great outcome.




One of the simplest ways to increase the amount of rent you will achieve for your property is to remove everything you can that is taking up space inside the property.

It’s always best to try and present a property as a blank canvas, ensuring it appears clean and tidy without personal clutter.

If the property has a loft or garage, neatly box up personal items and store them in these areas before marketing begins.


Varies depending on the number of boxes you require

Skill Level: Easy/Medium


Leave a blank canvas

One of the first things a tenant will want to do when they move into your property is to make it their own. Usually a part of doing this involves hanging pictures.

The last thing a new tenant wants to do in the initial stages of occupying a property is to go around filling holes from a previous tenant. It may be on a ‘list of things to do nearer the time’ for the Landlord, but it’s a step worth remembering – it’s all about creating the best first impression.

Filling holes is a relatively easy task which doesn’t cost too much money and isn’t too time-consuming.

Tools required are:

  • Medium to fine sandpaper
  • Paint scraper or putty knife
  • Wall Filler
  • You will need to re-paint areas which have been filled so this will require further materials such as paint and a paintbrush/paint roller.

It is important to remember that when painting, make sure you have colour matched the wall and are using the same type of paint which is currently used. This will hopefully prevent having to re-paint entire rooms or walls and allow simple touch-ups. Depending on when the room was last painted, you may not be able to match the paint exactly and may have to paint either the entire wall or room.


Approximately £20 for materials excluding paint

Skill Level: Easy/Medium


Be clever with colour 

Over the years there have been many changes in interior fashion and style. A word of warning though, magnolia is no-longer classed a safe bet and should be avoided where possible. Anecdotally, Magnolia went out of style with the decrease in popularity of filament bulbs which give off a very warm light. The advent of cooler LED bulbs to suit the current trend for shades of white or grey much better.

If your property is in need of redecorating, consider a clean, fresh colour such as an off-white or light grey.

These colours are somewhat timeless and very easy shades to come by, with most DIY/hardware stores stocking both premium and own brands to suit all budgets. These shades will also help to make rooms appear larger. A good tip here is if you see a premium colour you like, you can often use paint mixing services to match the shade for a fraction of the cost.


Varies on size of the property and paint required.

Skill Level Easy/Medium:

How to go the extra mile?

Painting/Re-painting woodwork will brighten up any room particularly if you have re-painted the walls also.

This is a little more expensive with most woodwork requiring gloss paint. Re-painting the woodwork is certainly more time consuming and also requires a steady hand and concentration; but if you are prepared to put in the effort, it will pay dividends and won’t need to be repeated for at least 3-5 years.  


Clean grout and sealant in kitchens and bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are the areas where most agents will recommend money is spent on a property. However, the cost of a new bathroom or kitchen can cost thousands, so for rental properties, you may not be able to recoup the cost of your investment with increased rental income.

If you’re not replacing the kitchen then decorating can make a big difference. Our advice is to look a little closer at the finer details which can often be overlooked – without regular maintenance they can look unsightly.

Removing and applying fresh silicone/sealant can dramatically transform the look of any bathroom and kitchen and is a relatively easy and cheap task.

On first impressions, this can look like quite a fiddly and time-consuming task, but a professional handyman or skilled DIY enthusiast will get the job done in no time at all. The ‘fiddly’ bit is the finishing as opposed to the removal and application process. The best way to remove any excess and create a smooth finish to a uniform thickness is to purchase a specific Sealant Finishing Tool. These are readily available from most DIY/hardware stores and should cost no more than £10.


Approximately £30-£35 for materials but dependant on how much sealant is required.

Skill Level: Medium

How to go the extra mile:

Sometimes it’s easier to cut your losses and re-tile.

Although more expense is required, you can update a bathroom or kitchen dramatically by changing the tiles to a modern/contemporary style. This is certainly a job for a professional or competent DIY enthusiast as the tools required are more extensive.


Fix the Squeaks & Creeks

Every property has its individual quirks, but don’t let yours be remembered for the wrong reasons. By simply going around all the doors and cupboards in the property with a can of WD40 and a screwdriver, you can make sure that any squeaks and creaks are eliminated and that all cupboard doors hang correctly.

This relatively quick task will not only show what a diligent Landlord you are, but will deter people from thinking there may be any underlying issues with the cupboards and doors if they are of an ‘aged’ style.


Approximately £5-10 for materials.

Skill Level: Easy



Window Dressings & Lighting

Make sure all windows have some form of dressing that compliments the colour of the walls. As with the paint colour choice, go neutral.

If you have light fittings which hang from the ceiling, consider providing a neutral lampshade to give the room a finished look. This may be a good opportunity to test and replace the light bulbs if necessary. We would recommend low energy LED bulbs where possible.

Finally, a couple of scent diffusers will go a long way to showing prospective viewers the care and attention you are taking in order to rent your property. These can be purchased for as little as £2 from most homeware shops or supermarkets.


Varies depending on needs but starting from £2.

Skill Level: Easy/Medium

How to go the extra mile?

Instead of a new lampshade, change the light fitting altogether.

This simple step could dramatically change the look of the room. This should be the same for any wall mounted light feature. Contemporary fittings can be easily sourced in most DIY/hardware shops and can start from as little as £20 per unit for wall mounted lights and £25 per unit for ceiling and pendant lights. The cost of replacing shades can be as little as £4.

Our recommendation for installing new light fittings is to enlist the help of a professional tradesman with an electrical qualification to conduct these works.



Energy Performance Improvements

To let a property, Landlords are obliged to comply with minimum energy performance standards.  Making improvements to the property can vary in cost and work required dependent on the age of the property. To find out more, you can read up on how to comply with new EPC regulations.


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