Which is more Preferable in an HMO: En-Suite Bathrooms or Bigger Bedrooms?
If you're thinking about converting a property into an HMO, you're going to have to think hard about the layout of the house. Today, we're looking at en-suite bathrooms and at whether or not it's worth sacrificing some of the bedroom space to have them included in your HMO design.
Hello and welcome to our video series on HMOs. This is where we're going to be looking at a number of client questions that have been asked of us regarding how to find, set up, and manage professional HMOs across the UK.
So, I'm on-site at the moment on a project. Later in this series, I'll be publishing a video walkthrough to show you around this property but I thought that this would as good a place as any to record myself answering some of your questions.
So the question I'll be looking at today is whether you should be thinking in terms of providing larger bedrooms for your tenants or whether you should be using some of that space to build en-suite bathrooms.
Bedrooms: Bigger is Better
It sounds obvious but when it comes to HMOs it's best to provide the largest room sizes that you can. There are a lot of HMO providers that cram in as many bedrooms as they can possibly fit into a property. The downside to this strategy is that those rooms are not going to appeal to professional tenants over the long term.
But don't get me wrong. If you're working to attract a particular type of tenant or tenant profile then you can make it work with these types of properties but they are very limiting.
In my opinion, it is best to keep your options open. If you are ever going to consider going for the professional tenant market you will want to present the biggest room sizes, of the best quality, that you can.
Ideal Room Sizes
When you are looking for HMOs in which to invest you want to be looking at properties that provide the largest rooms possible.
The minimum that a bedroom should be is six and a half square metres. This is so long as it is a square or a rectangle. If it's this size but is an unusual shape or has a chimney space built into it then it's not going to work so well. It's got to have a usable six and a half metres of floor space to get a decent bedroom out of it.
So, six and a half square metres will give you the minimum size you need for a single room. This size room, however, once the furniture has been put in there, does not give very much space. We try and aim for double rooms of eight, nine, ten square metres where we can but obviously, this depends on the property as there aren't really any standard room sizes in houses.
Whether or not you install an en-suite bathroom as part of the bedroom depends on how large the room is. I wouldn't install an en-suite if doing so it pushed the room size right down to that minimum of six and a half square metres. The truth is that most tenants would prefer a double room with a double bed. So, If you sacrifice this for a single bed with an en-suite you might be making the room less desirable rather than more so.
Ideally, what you want to end up with a is a minimum of eight square metres for a double room. If there is some excess over that then that is when you should start thinking about an en-suite bathroom.
En-suite bathrooms work really well as long as you don't make too many sacrifices in order to have them. They're great but they're far from a necessity.
We have a few HMOs where we have a ration of one to four or one to three tenants per bathroom. As long as you fit within those requirements you should be ok without en suites.
In some locations, it will be more important to think in terms of en-suite bathrooms than in others. This is, of course, because of what the competition is offering.
In City centres there tend to be very few HMOs and the flats there tend to be two-bedroom properties and tend to have en-suite bathrooms. If these are the types of property that you are competing with then you will be best placed if you provide the same.
If however, your property is in an area of mainly HMOs then you are going to be competing with a very different kind of housing stock where the other landlords don't tend to provide en-suite bathrooms.
If this is the case you don't have to cram en-suite bathrooms into the smaller rooms just to give them more appeal. There are plenty of other ways to make your HMOs stand out. Over the coming weeks, we will be looking at this in more depth.
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