article: last month

Furnishing Your Investment Property
By Scott Derrick, G. Miles Interiors

The Panhandle communities of Northwest Florida, once known more as quiet commercial and sport fishing havens, have given way over the years to developers who discovered “gold” in the beauty of the white-sandy beaches and emerald-green waters. This beautiful region surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, intriguing bays and lakes, and an array of topographical splendor has become an attractive new destination for upscale buyers who prefer the laid-back atmosphere and rich local color to other more traditional Florida destinations. Investors from around the globe are taking advantage of steadily rising prices to purchase and speculate on condominiums located on these pristine beaches.

If you’ve just taken the plunge and purchased your own piece of paradise, how do you go about furnishing your new condominium, and what should you consider if you plan to rent?

“Plan before you buy and buy to your plan”
First, consider working with an experienced design consultant who can assist you with a creative plan for your total needs and work within your spending plans. The adage “Plan before you buy and buy to your plan” can save you time, money, and energy while avoiding mistakes that could limit your investment income down the road. Starting with a total plan is always the best approach even if you choose to work in phases. Also, if you live out of the area, select someone who is committed to manage your project from start to finish and keep you informed along the way.

A professional design consultant starts a plan with an assessment of your needs and likes including each room’s function. If your builder offers you choices of materials, colors, and upgrades, allow your designer to review your choices to ensure they fit your total plan.

Next, some basic space planning will determine what size and scale pieces will function best. Your designer will want to discuss your preferences in style, color scheme, fabrics, art, lighting, and accents. He or she will also need to assess your time frame, and of course, your spending plans.

Although furniture will generally be your largest expense in outfitting your new condominium, there are several other options that you should consider. Some available options include house wares’ packages, ceiling fans, chandeliers, faux finishes, wall coverings, window treatments, mirrored walls, accent tile work, appliances, and electronics. An experienced project manager can help you with these choices and time their installation with your furnishings.

Avoiding Some Common Mistakes
There are some common mistakes property investors make that a good project manager can help you avoid. There are areas where you should invest more money, and there are areas where you can cut back. As a new rental owner base your decisions on the fact that your unit will be used often and will experience abuse.
Many investors spend additional money on carpet upgrades unnecessarily when the carpet will need to be replaced from stains and spills long before it wears out. Dark carpet colors may hide dirt but they may prove more difficult to work with and make the space appear smaller. Verticals and blinds are more often than not difficult to maintain and will discolor with time and exposure to bright sunlight. They also do not provide complete darkness for guests to sleep in bedrooms and in living rooms. Consider draperies with thicker lining capable of blocking out sunlight and exterior night lights. Draperies will be more expensive initially, but you will make up your investment later.

Consider how many guests your condominium can accommodate comfortably early in your planning stages and stick to that number during rental periods. Crowding too many guests into a unit adds wear and tear and rarely provides additional rental income.

Certain fabric patterns can hide dirt, spills, and stains and some fabric textures generally wear better than others. Any fabric or leather can and will fade when exposed to bright sunlight. Even the salt air, suntan lotions, and sand can act as an oxidizing or corrosive agent when combined with fabrics and metals. No fabric mill warranties fabric, and few warranties apply to products used for rental purposes. Be sure the store you work with has a dedicated service department willing to assist you when a problem arises.

Choose the right scale of furniture for your plan. Pieces that are too large will constrict traffic flow and make it awkward for guests to move about. Choosing correct proportions of one item to another, for example, a table lamp to the table where it is placed, will achieve better visual balance.

Easy-clean shower curtains, rugs, and placemats prevent germs, and they can be washed and reused frequently while custom ones may need to be professionally cleaned.

Mirroring walls and selecting glass-top cocktail and dining tables can add the illusion of space, but the trade-off is that they will require more frequent cleaning. Choose sofa sleepers with innerspring mattresses over sofas for living areas to accommodate an occasional extra guest. TV cabinets with pocket doors or doors that open 360 degrees protect your television from dust and provide an interesting living room focal point.

Consider investing a little more money in quality patio furniture versus inexpensive department store resin products. Resin often breaks down with constant exposure to sunlight and use by guests. It will be a nuisance to replace these pieces or locate parts regularly.

These are some of the many choices and options you will face as you outfit your new investment property. At G Miles Interiors we offer you as much or as little assistance as you desire with this process. We encourage you to take advantage of our experienced consultants who love helping you with a simple plan. There is no charge for this service, and we recommend it. We enjoy helping make your experience fun and exciting while working together to prevent mistakes and alleviate unneeded stress.

8219 Front Beach Road ~ Panama City Beach, Florida
850.235.3078 E-mail
Fax: 850.708.1040