Furnishing packages save air fare
An expansion in Britain's rental sector over the past 15 years has led to a proliferation of companies offering furnishing packages to landlords.
Property experts say the packages, which can include items ranging from carpets to artwork, are becoming more popular with Hong Kong landlords because they are delivered and installed, which means it is not necessary for investors to fly to Britain to buy and fit the homewares themselves.
Furnishing packages always include furniture, but other items can be added, ranging from clocks to vacuum cleaners to crockery, cutlery and glassware, so a home can be fully kitted out. Many firms promise next-day delivery, so a property can be put on the rental market within 24 hours of an investor purchasing it. What is more, some companies will take the old furniture away.
Interior design firms such as Helen Green and Callister Russell provide bespoke packages for multimillion-pound homes in the prime residential sector. Prices for Helen Green's HG Living series of furnishings start at GBP15,000 (HK$184,400) for a two-bedroom home.
In the mass market, furniture company Fully Furnished will furnish and add accessories to a one-bedroom home with its Essentials range for GBP3,000, while rival firm PreLet offers a basic furniture-only package for a one-bedroom property starting at GBP539.
Nicky Bloom, new-business manager at Fully Furnished, said the Essentials range provided a contemporary look. 'Glass and chrome are used throughout the living room, while bedrooms consist of faux suede bed frames and headboards with white high-gloss fittings,' he said.
Furnishing packages are proving increasingly popular with Hong Kong landlords. Fully Furnished has gathered 50 Hong Kong clients since it began marketing packages to Hong Kong investors in September 2010, and Bloom said the service provided peace of mind to clients, some of whom never visit their property.
Robert Hadfield, managing director of investment property management company Pineflat recommended Hong Kong landlords buy furniture packages because they were specially designed to appeal to tenants and it was easier than flying to the UK to furnish a property oneself.
'The people we use know the market, so the furniture will be the right size and style. In our experience the cost is usually much the same as mid-range IKEA, and delivery costs are included.
Some furnishing packages can be hired instead of bought.
Guy Meacock, associate director at buyer's agency Prime Purchase, said hiring a furnishing package helped with marketing unfurnished homes.
'By and large it makes no difference to the rental value whether a property is let furnished or unfurnished. But showing a property with furniture in it will often lead to a rental in about the half the time of an unfurnished equivalent,' he said.