The Ins and Outs of Furnishing Your Rental Property

rental apartment furniture

There is a lot of debate out there about whether or not it’s worth a landlord’s time to furnish the properties they have for rent. The merit of including a basic arrangement of furniture does, after all, depend on a lot of external factors, and there is no advice that’s suitable for all landlords in all cities across all nations. However, with 69% of people under 40 renting apartments instead of buying homes, offering a furnished living space may make your rental more appealing for a more frugal generation.

Assessing Your Space

First thing’s first: when you start looking into whether or not you should furnish your rental space, you’ll need to consider the kind of people you want living in your units and, in turn, what kind of furniture will fit your mutual needs. Is your rental near a university or in the middle of a thriving city? If so, you can assume that your potential tenants are likely to move frequently and carry little with them, making furnishing your rentals the right move. These college students and twenty-somethings are more likely to want furnished apartments than more settled business professionals so that they can chase their education and careers, and you’ll be able to entice them into your property if you show that you’re willing to meet their needs.

Furnishing Basics

With that in mind, you’ll be able to proceed with setting up the basics of a furnished apartment. Think about a space that you’d like for yourself when picking out the furniture you want to introduce to your rental, but keep in mind that this furniture also has to hold up to wear and tear. Also remember that accessibility is essential. If a potential tenant tours your rental and can’t navigate the space appropriately due to the furniture you’ve included, then you’ll lose out on that business opportunity.

What Not to Include

However, you’ll also want to take care to not go overboard in furnishing your rental. Basic furnishings include a dresser, lighting, a bed, and major kitchen appliances, not expensive electronics, dinnerware, or even shower curtains. Not only do you want to allow your potential tenants room to personalize their space, but you’ll want to keep your presence in the rental balanced. In other words, you’ll be providing basic décor, but you won’t be parenting the tenants who rent from you.

Furniture Tips: Oops!

Just like the rest of life, it’s usually better to prevent a bad thing from happening than it is to fix it afterwards. You made a significant investment in your wood furniture, to keep it beautiful for longer:

• Maintain even humidity in your home since the rise and fall of moisture in the air can lead to the splitting and cracking of the wood.

• Use a pad under your writing paper to avoid bleed through marking or the scratches caused by a pen.

• Keep your furniture out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can fade a finish.

• Toss those rubber-based plastic placemats. The materials in them can discolor furniture.

• Never clean your furniture with glass cleaner. The ammonia base can discolor and dull a finish.

• Use trivets and hot pads. Hot kettles, pots, etc. will damage the finish on furniture.

• Be picky about your coasters. Metal coasters can sweat moisture underneath them and plastic ones can cause a chemical interaction with the finish, marring it. Those with a cork or felt underside are best.

• Wipe up spills immediately. Water marks can cloud a finish.

• Avoid silicone-based furniture polishes. They can bleed into a finish over time. To tell if it’s silicone-based, run your finger over the piece after you’ve polished it. If you can see the line, there’s silicone.

Despite the best of care, accidents happen. When something happens to your wood furniture, you’ve got 2 choices.fix it or hide it. Refinishing is best but it takes a lot of time and some skill, so here’s a bunch of sneaky little tips for hiding what’s wrong.

Water Marks and Rings: Often, rings are in the wax, not the finish. Cover the stain with a clean, thick blotter, press down with a warm iron, and repeat. Or rub with salad oil, mayonnaise or white toothpaste. Wipe dry and wax or polish. Why toothpaste? It has just a little grit in it so it works like a very, very, very fine sanding.

White Marks: Rub with a cloth dipped in a mixture of cigarette ashes and lemon juice or salad oil. Or rub with a cloth dipped in lighter fluid, followed by a mixture of rottenstone and salad oil. Wipe dry and wax or polish.

Milk or Alcohol: Use your fingers to rub liquid or paste wax into the stain. Or rub in a paste of boiled linseed oil and rottenstone with the grain, substituting pumice for dull finishes. Or rub with ammonia on a dampened cloth. Wipe dry and wax or polish.

Dark Wood or Stain: Fill scratches with shoe polish that matches the lightest shade of the finish, or rub with walnut or Brazil nut meat in the direction of the scratch. A child’s crayon or felt-tipped marker can also be used.

Cherry: Fill the scratches with cordovan or reddish shoe polish that matches the wood, or apply darkened iodine with a cotton swab or thin artist’s brush.

Light Wood or Stain: Fill scratches with a tan or natural shoe polish, or apply darkened iodine diluted 50 percent with denatured alcohol. There’re several commercial products on the market. My favorite is Howard’s Restor-A-Finish which comes in several different colors (golden oak, cherry, mahogany, etc.). It’s basically a wipe-on, wipe-off refinisher. Although I rarely use them, some folks really like the marking pens made to cover scratches. And they come in a variety ofcolors.

Unless the piece of furniture has a really uniform finish that hides the grain of the wood, like a highly lacquered piano or a coat of paint, you can use the variation in the wood grain to your advantage. Imperfections in color or variation in the grain will mostly go unnoticed. It’s the variation in the shine that will be most noticeable. The good news is that this can usually be fixed by applyinga good uniform polish over whatever fixes you’ve made.

If you have questions about any of these articles, or suggestions for future columns, you can always drop me a line at ken@olyfurnitureworks.com.

Importance of Choosing Furniture for Your Home

You can’t help but adore the gorgeous pieces of furniture you see whenever you flip through the pages of a lifestyle magazine. After taking a transform your home survey, it makes you wish you own some of them or even find a cheaper version to match your own house. While it makes your interior look good by adding character to your home decor, you have to keep in mind that furniture should be a combination of both form and function.

Having the right furniture could spell the difference between a charming and comfortable abode, and a cramped house that’s simply an eyesore. This is the reason why it’s essential to choose the pieces that are fit for your home. After addressing the need for a piece of furniture’s functionality, here other reasons why it’s important:

The Right Fit Matters

It is important to know the measurements of your house, so you can choose the right sizes of furniture you plan to purchase. Having stunning pieces won’t do much if you can’t even comfortably navigate through the rooms. They take up the majority of your floor space, so it’s prudent to pick wisely while considering both form and function.

If you have a few pieces that you want to own, it’s always a good idea to measure the space you plan to put them. Arm yourself with a carpenter’s tape measure and determine the size of the area you want to place a certain piece of furniture. Make sure it fits the floor area of the room and there will be enough space to comfortably move around.

A Reflection of Your Taste

The design and theme of your house should also be considered when choosing furniture. Your style is a reflection of personal taste, so try to stick to a design that blends well with the house. It’s okay to blend different styles as long your pieces don’t clash and make a certain room of your house look tacky. Antique pieces in a modern home? That works if you do it right.

It is worth noting that you don’t have to be dictated by the current trends. As long as the look appeals to you, nothing is going to stop you from having it as a part of your home.

Both the size and look are two important factors to consider in choosing the right furniture for your home. They can help you decide which one has the right fit and design that complements the room where they will be in. Choose wisely, so you can live comfortably in your own home with a delightful disposition.

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About the author:

Christina Santos is a real estate agent for Hoppler.

A quick note on furniture tariffs

On September 17, 2018, the President of the United States announced that imports from China will be subject to a 10% increase on tariff which went into effect on Monday, September 24 and last up till the end of the year. Subsequently, on January 1, 2019, the tariffs will again be raised; this time up to 25%. The final release of the so called “List 3” covers most of furniture products imported from China.

Although many of our vendors are working to absorb costs as much as they can, we can expect that several of our vendors will be raising their costs on November 1.  Since this increases what we have to pay for new furniture there will inevitably be increases in the retail prices as well.  We do not yet know what those impacts will be.

Please note that the increases mentioned about are an increase in the tariffs only, in other words, retail pricing will not be going up 25%, it is the tariff that is increasing by that percentage.  However, if you have plans for purchasing new furniture for your home, you’d be wise to buy before the end of this year.

Should You Buy New Furniture or Restore the Old Stuff?

When it comes time to remodel the interior of your house, you have two basic options for what to do with your furniture. You can throw out the old stuff and get new furniture. This will be the easiest option that requires the least work from you; however, it will also be the more expensive option. You can offset the cost in some cases by selling your old furniture. Alternately, you can choose to restore your existing furniture. This is especially good  if the furnature has sentimental value or are antique. Restoring your furnatiure will give you the most control over the look of the furniture but it will require more work from you. Each has pros and cons; here is a quick rundown.

Pros and Cons of Restoring Furniture

If you choose to restore your own furniture, you need to make sure you have the right tools. If you just want to refinish your furniture, you’ll need sandpaper, wood stain, polyurethane, and some drop cloths. If you want to do more extensive remodeling, you’ll need tools. A cabinet table saw, even a budget priced one is a great choice for cutting wood for furniture frames.

You could also make furnature from recycled  objects. For example, if you decide that you want to remove a door from your house or you get one from somewhere, you can cut it down to a manageable size and use it as a kitchen table. Repurposed wood is very popular for contemporary kitchens. The cons of this approach are basic; you have to buy the tools and do the work yourself. If you don’t want to do the work, you can buy new furniture.

Pros and Cons of Buying New Furniture

The most basic benefit of buying your own furniture is that you will be able to have new furniture without lifting a finger. You can buy furniture in many different styles to match your interior design. It will also allow you to trust that it is durable and reliable. Restored furniture might have some technical problems that you don’t notice or can’t fix. New furniture of good quality should last you for years.

The con is that you have to pay for it; you will likely spend more money on new furniture than you would restoring furniture. Also, you might have limited options. For example, the dining room table that you prefer might not come in the stain or the type of wood you prefer.

Price Comparison

 To restore a kitchen table and chairs, you’ll need:

  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Polyurethane
  • Paint brushes
  • Power Sander

All together, those will likely cost you about $90 at a big box hardware store. It will require about three hours of work and about forty-eight hours of drying time for the stain and polyurethane.

A table and chairs at a big box furniture store will cost you between about $100 and $500. It will only take as long as it takes to order it and have it delivered.

If you’re trying to save money, you should probably restore your own furniture. If you’re trying to save effort and time, you should buy new furniture. A happy middle ground is hiring someone to restore your furniture; that gives you the control of restoration with the ease of new furniture.

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