Competition on the rental market can be stiff. There are a lot of properties out there so it is important to make yours stand out amongst the rest. However, there’s a fine line to draw between adding value to a buy-to-let and wasting your hard-earned pennies.

Not every cosmetic change you make to your buy-to-let will have a positive financial result. There are, however, certain areas that are definitely worth investing in over others.

Here are a few easy-wins for you to consider when giving your property the edge.

Invest in the front of the house

You know what they say – first impressions count. And it’s true. You don’t want a potential tenant to arrive at your property and write it off before they step foot inside. At the very least, ensure that the outside of your property is neat, clean and tidy of weeds, dirt build-up and moss.

It’s a good idea to go one step further however, and really make your tenant fall in love before they even open the front door. Whilst it’s not always possible (or easy) to paint a front door, give yours a lick of paint if possible. You can’t go wrong with black or white, but grey, navy or olive and sage green shades will give your property a trendy-edge over the others on the street. Complete with some low-maintenance potted plants and/or hanging baskets either side of the door and you’ve got yourself a property worthy of standing out amongst the neighbours.

Focus on lighting

Lighting is so important when creating an atmosphere in a property. Bad lighting can make a space feel flat and uninviting – the opposite of what you want. Natural lighting cannot be beaten, so take any opportunity to let the sun flood in.

Could you install a big bay window in a lounge or dining area? Could you replace a window in a certain sunspot with a large, floor-to-ceiling version? Perhaps you have the opportunity for a skylight? Whatever it is – do it. Natural light is great for our health and keeps our circadian rhythm in check. It genuinely helps us feel happier, and a happy tenant is a profitable tenant.

It’s not just natural light that is important. Artificial light is too. Opt for spotlights in kitchens and bathrooms as they reflect off shiny surfaces and create a luxurious feel. For all other light fittings, don’t buy the cheapest low-wattage bulbs you can find. Invest in high-quality bulbs instead. To create a softer feel in bedrooms and living rooms, go for warm light as opposed to cool light to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Opt for hard flooring

Although carpets feel cosy and retain the heat, they also trap odours and are prone to stains and discolouration. Unless you don’t mind replacing them every few years, you might want to stick to laminate or other hard floorings instead. Tenants can always add the warmth back in with rugs and heavy curtains.

There are a huge range of contemporary styles of hard flooring to suit any taste, and they are easy to maintain and keep clean. They are also pretty easy to install, so no need to pay out for professional fitters.

Give your property a USP

Does your property have a feature that you can maximise and turn into a real selling point? This could be anything from creating a utility space in a garage or downloads toilet, to a basement or cellar that you could turn into a games room, cinema room or second living space.

If your property does not have anything you can maximise, create something! Perhaps install a wine fridge in the kitchen or install a smart security, heating and lighting systems to market the property as a ‘smart home’.

The more valuable your property is, the more money you may be able to make. Be aware though, not every tenant will treat your property with the same care that you would. Be sure that you have all the right contents insurance in place and compare landlord insurance quotes to make sure that you have the best price.