Kitchen FittersLandlord Advice: Kitchens for Rental Properties

Kitchen Fitters

Even the best tenants cause wear & tear on properties and landlords must protect their investment by renovating and redecorating their buildings. One of the costliest items is a fitted kitchen and landlords naturally want to keep the bill as small as possible. So what are the best kitchens for rental properties?

Make Sure The Kitchen Reflects The Rental Value

The quality and condition of the cabinet and appliances in a kitchen are a yardstick which tenants use to judge a property’s value. So it is important that kitchens in rental properties are in keeping with the price-band of the property. Or to put it simply, the higher the rent, the more a landlord must invest in a kitchen renovation. The prevalence of stylish and affordable IKEA kitchens has raised the bar on tenant’s expectations for any rental property.

Hire a Kitchen Designer

Kitchen design is one of those jobs everyone thinks they can do. After all, how hard can it be to position a few cabinets and appliances? The truth is that it is skilled work. Poor kitchen design will look bad, driving down the property’s value, and mistakes with measurements and using the wrong material is costly. Kitchens in rental properties also tend to have a harder life than home-owner kitchens and a good designer will advise on the best value appliances and cabinets.

Avoid Solid Wood

People love solid wood worktops and solid wood cabinet doors because they look and feel fantastic. They are too expensive to use in the kitchens in lower income rental properties but they are cheap enough for use in more upmarket properties. The trouble is, solid wood needs more care and attention. Wooden worktops easily pick up stains and water damage unless regularly treated while solid wood cabinet doors show the signs of wear & tear more than laminates. Landlords looking to create upmarket kitchens should stick to laminate worktops and doors, investing their money in other aspects of the design.

Make A Splash(Back)

A traditional tile splashback covers the kitchen walls around sinks and worktops. Their easy to wipe surfaces help protect the walls from the water, grease and the general mess kitchen’s generate. However tiling is a time consuming and skilled job, that is to say, costly. Modern splashbacks are made of acrylic, glass or similar and are supplied in a single, large sheet. Installing them is a straightforward job which any competent tradesperson can do. The cost saving is worthwhile for any landlord but for kitchens in rental properties there are other advantages. Modern splashbacks come is a wide range of bright colours and finishes. The addition a single splashback can lift any kitchen, giving it a fresh, stylish look which appeals to tenants.

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Kitchen showroom displayFinding a Kitchen Showroom You Can Trust

Kitchen showroom display

There are a few things we need to get clear before we start.

  1. Kitchens are major purchases which cost about the same as a new car
  2. Unlike a car, you cannot just sell kitchen if there is a problem
  3. There are unscrupulous kitchen showrooms taking advantage of the unwary

The good news is that there are lots of good kitchen showrooms who take the time to understand a customer. They sell their products at a fair price and don’t look for a chance to gouge a client at every opportunity.

Finding a Kitchen Showroom

There is a no sure-fire way of finding a reliable kitchen supplier but there are a couple tips which help.

Tip 1 – Personal Recommendations

Go to your friends and colleagues, or go on Facebook or a forum like Mum’s Net, and ask. The personal recommendation of someone you trust is the best guide to finding a showroom.

Tip 2 – 3rd Party Recommendations

Look for independent web sites and reviews. Depending where you live, you might find a site like Steve & Deb’s Guide To Kitchen Showrooms In Nottingham giving a round-up of kitchen suppliers in your area. Alternatively Google Local or Facebook often have reviews linked to a company’s page.

How To Avoid Bad Kitchen Showrooms

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a guide to kitchen showrooms like Steve & Deb’s or to have friends who purchased a kitchen recently. Sometimes you have to do your own research and rely on your instinct but look out for these three warning signs.

Sign 1 – Are they selling kitchens or finance?

A kitchen showroom offering finance to fund your kitchen is probably more interested in selling you the loan than cabinets or appliances. Finance is highly profitable. It is much more profitable than kitchen fitting because there are no costs – no raw materials, no labour and no VAT. A sales person interested in finance doesn’t care about the quality of a kitchen they are selling.

Sign 2 – Measuring Up Takes Hours

A few kitchen showrooms (including some nationwide chains) use a visit to measure up the client’s home as a chance to pressurise the client in to signing a contract then and there. They will drag the process out for hours, wearing down the client’s resistance until they sign on the dotted line. This is a deliberate policy to deny the client a chance think about the options or to get alternative quotes. A trustworthy kitchen showroom will visit to measure up, then go away to prepare a custom design and quote, allowing the client time to think and consider their options.

Sign 3 – Pressure & Special Offers

The reason why unscrupulous kitchen showrooms (and other companies) use high pressure sales techniques is that they work. In the face of relentless pressure, many people will simply give in and buy the product just to get peace and quiet. Sales people who call repeatedly or won’t leave your house are the most obvious examples of this but special offers are another pressure technique. They place a time limit on the deal to make the customer worry about missing out on a real bargain. In reality, prices change slowly and a reputable kitchen supplier will honour a quote for several months.

Finding A Kitchen Showroom (Which Is Right For You)

Everyone’s experience buying a kitchen is unique. What seems like high pressure selling to one person might be exactly what another person needs to focus the mind. Different sales people at the same showroom have different styles and showrooms and staff change over time. All a customer can do is trust their judgement and remember …

  • You are the customer, you are in charge
  • A lot of money is at stake, take your time
  • It is OK to walk away if you feel pressurised
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Quirkly carrot sharpnerThe Quirky Kitchen Makeover

Before becoming the heart of a home, a kitchen must acquire the personality of the owners. For those of us with a quirky and individual take on style, this can be a challenge if the house is rented or the kitchen too expensive to remodel. Fortunately, it is easy to give a kitchen that personal, oddball touch using clever gadgets and quirky prints. Below is our guide for a quirky kitchen makeover.

Remember The Wise Words of William Morris

Quirky William Morris

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Being quirky is about finding things which distinctive, and either useful or beautiful. Luckily the kitchen needs lots of tools and gadgets which gives plenty of scope for quirky-but-useful items.

quirky spice rack

One of our favourites is this test-tube spice rack. It is not available in the shops but can be simply made which adds to its distinctiveness. No one will own a spice rack like yours. The rack is also very practical making it perfect for the quirky kitchen.

Use Humour

quirky humour

Laughter is best medicine, though I find antibiotics work, but humour is important in life and the kitchen is a great place to display it. Everyone’s taste in humour is different but in my kitchen you will find this ‘complex carbohydrates’ cartoon. It came from The Curious Pancake who have a wide range of quirky and funny prints and cards.

Illuminate The Situation

quirky kitchen lightshade

With so many quirky kitchen gadgets and accessories available, normal room features such as light fittings can be overlooked. The kitchen has great opportunities for themed lights and one of our favourites is this home-made colander lamp shade. Check out this article for loads of ideas on fixtures made of kitchen utensils.

Big & Small

Quirkly carrot sharpner

A great technique for making distinctive furnishings is to take small objects and scale them up. The process takes objects so mundane we are oblivious to their use and makes them special by enlarging them. Our favourite example is this pencil / carrot sharpener though that is a bit of misnomer. The point is not to sharpen the carrot into a lethal weapon but to produce interesting shaped garnishes. Another great example is this giant safety pin for hanging tea towels.

quirky tea towel rack

This article was created on behalf of Fitted Kitchens, Nottingham

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6 Tips For Selling Your House: Kitchen Edition

The kitchen is the single most important room to anyone viewing your property. Living rooms and bedrooms are empty spaces, easy to decorate and furnish but fitted kitchens are different. Replacing a kitchen costs around £8000 on average and involves weeks of visiting showrooms, planning and disruption which no one wants. Buying and selling houses is stressful enough and most buyers are looking for a house with a kitchen which already fits their tastes and needs.

Tips For Selling Your House – 1. Cabinet Makeover

Styles of cabinet doors and handles change and different colours come into and out of fashion. Right now, high-gloss white, handless cabinet doors are in vogue and featuring on house makeover TV programmes, telling potential house buyers what a modern kitchen looks like. If your kitchen looks old and outdated, it is a big it mark against the property in the eyes of the house hunter.

The solution is a simple cabinet makeover. Replacing the cabinet’s doors and end-pieces with more modern designs and colours will give the whole kitchen a lift. This costs a fraction of the price of a new fitted kitchen. Budget between £500 – £1500 depending on the size of your kitchen.

Tips For Selling Your House – 2. Worktop Makeover

Worktops are far less susceptible to whims of fashion than kitchen cabinets but they are much more likely to be damaged. Burn marks, stains and scratches are the most common forms of wear & tear on worktops. If you are serious about selling your house, take a good look at worktops and ask yourself, do they look new? Buyers will be put off by anything less than perfect when it comes to worktops. No one wants to prepare food on anything other a perfectly clean-looking work surface.

The good news is there is no need to install expensive worktops in granite or solid wood. The desirability of more costly worktops comes down to personal taste whereas everyone can live with a laminate worktop. For the house seller, an inoffensive laminate worktop costs about £75 – £200 per three metre length.

Tips For Selling Your House – 3. Grease is the Word

A clean house is a house which sells but it is an unavoidable fact that kitchens accumulate a thin layer of grease on every surface which attract dust and smells. A kitchen deep-clean is the absolute minimum anyone selling a house should do but sometimes cleaning is not enough. Getting grease out of tile grout and flooring is hard. It can be just as quick and more effective to repaint walls, regrout tiles and replace carpets. Don’t forget about ceilings and light fittings while you are at it.

The cost of this tip depends very much on the state and size of the kitchen but give it serious consideration. The smells and dirt which grease attracts builds up slowly and is easily ignored by the seller but is obvious to the potential house buyer. Plus, freshly painted walls, without the knocks and marks of day-to-day life, give any space a lift.

Tips For Selling Your House – 4. Match The Kitchen To The Buyer

Tips one, two and three involve spending money and giving your kitchen a makeover. This tip is free but in many ways harder to do because it involves thinking about who will be buying your house. Will they be a young couple buying their first home, a family looking for somewhere bigger or an older couple looking to downsize? Different buyers look for different things in kitchens. The young couple will want style and the latest gadgets. The growing family needs a bright and friendly environment they can call home and elder couples prefer plenty of storage space and everything easily accessible.

When choosing your replacement cabinet doors, new worktops or the colour for your walls, think about the buyer. Pick safe, neutral styles and colours. The goal is not to create a kitchen straight from a showroom. They are too cold and impersonal. The house seller’s aim is to create a kitchen which appeals to the widest range of people possible.

Tips For Selling Your House – 5. Declutter

This house selling tip is easy. Any house house seller following tips one through four will do this out of necessity so walls can be painted and cabinets given a makeover. Kitchens accumulate stuff, things, whatnots, mementos, junk – from kid’s pictures on the fridge to the spare keys in the jam jar via unused wedding present at back of the cabinet. Whatever it is, whatever you call it, every house has it and all of it has to go.
Apply the simple rule: If it is not helping sell the house, it should not be in the house. By removing the clutter it free’s up space which makes the kitchen seem bigger and allows the house buyer to focus on the kitchen’s strengths.

Tips for Selling Your House – 6. Accessorise

Yes, the previous tip advises house sellers to clear the kitchen and now the idea is to add things but the secret is what to add. Clutter is anything which isn’t needed but there are plenty of things which are need in the kitchen – utensils, tea towels, bins, draining racks etc etc. These are cheap to replace and come in a wide range of styles.
In tip four we advise picking safe, neutral colours for the walls and cabinet makeover but with the accessories go for bright colours displayed prominently. They add personality to the kitchen, demonstrating the kitchen’s potential, but in a small, easily changeable way.

This post was written on behalf of Fitted Kitchens, Nottingham by Chris Tregenza.

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Donabe SmokerKitchen Gadgets That Top Chefs Recommend

We have all been there – attempting to recreate our favourite dish from our favourite restaurant in our own kitchen. The results are predictably disappointing – the food lacks flavour, the sauce is lumpy and everything is overcooked. No matter how hard we try, home-cooked food is never the same as restaurant food.

The good news is that it’s not your fault, you have been let down by your tools. Your kitchen lacks the equipment that professional chefs use every day. The even better news is those kitchen gadgets are available to buy. So we found out what six professional chefs recommend for the home kitchen.

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