Festive Season Vacancy? Turn Lemons into Lemonade

By Sharon Fox-Slater on 5 Dec 2014
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Festive season vacancy? Turn lemons into lemonade

Photo: Speedoglyn1, Creative Commons

Vacant investment properties can be almost impossible to fill over the festive season.

No-one really wants to move over Christmas so, ideally, leases should be designed to end early in the new year, which is peak house hunting season for renters.

However, if the unexpected occurs and you find your property empty in December, you can take advantage of the break to give your asset a spruce up so it’s looking its best.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. A new lick of paint – keep the colour palette neutral and remember to prepare surfaces properly before repainting or touching-up chips and scratches. If repainting is too expensive, washing the walls thoroughly with sugar soap can make a world of difference.
  2. Tile paint can be used to give dated kitchens and bathrooms a fresh, clean look. 
  3. Replacing tapware, cupboard handles and fixed fittings and furnishings (eg curtains, blinds, lighting) is an easy way to give your property an up-to-date look.
  4. Have curtains professionally cleaned.
  5. If your property is air-conditioned, check the units and, if necessary, get them serviced. If it’s not air-conditioned, consider installing a unit or two.
  6. Polish stainless steel benchtops and appliances.
  7. Add extra storage such as built-in robes.
  8. Make sure overhead fans and exhaust/extractor fans are working well.
  9. Fix leaking taps, loose hinges and screws (especially on handrails and stairs), sticking windows and jamming doors, torn flyscreens, broken tiles, cracks, damaged paths and driveways.
  10. Check that door and window locks and security systems work properly.
  11. Use a high-pressure hose to clean outdoor areas.
  12. If your property has a pool or spa, make sure the water is treated and that fences and gates are working properly.
  13. Give the garden a once over – mow, weed, prune, mulch, fix watering systems etc.
  14. Create or improve an outdoor seating area.
  15. Consider inexpensive security upgrades.
  16. Replace old-fashioned light-weight plastic toilet seats with sturdier modern equivalents.
About the Author

Sharon Fox-Slater is the Executive General Manager of RentCover, a division of EBM Insurance Brokers which insures 120,000 investment properties around Australia. With 20 years’ experience in landlord insurance, Sharon’s top priority is customer service and positive customer comments are her biggest marker of success. Despite leaving school at 15, Sharon has forged a ground-breaking career – she was the first woman to become a Fellow of the National Insurance Brokers Association. Sharon was recently honoured to have been included in Insurance Business magazine’s Elite Brokers 2013 list.

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