In a competitive rental market, knowing what is advantageous to have in your home helps you to maximise the returns on your property. From deciding on what to do with the landscaping to the appliances placed in your kitchen, the final decision will impact on your ability to increase rent and also the value of your property.
Guest post – Simon Mundine – LED World
But aside from the obvious – renovating the bathroom or installing more cupboard space – have you considered your lighting options? If you’re dealing with an already modern home, a simple change in lighting can help you to achieve a brand new look for the overall house. For older homes, the look is still achievable, and depending on the already available wiring, may still come in at surprisingly low costs.
Also, in Australia, if you require new hardwired light fittings, it’s tax deductible under your capital works’ deduction.
There are several options when considering the best types of lighting to install in your investment property, and LEDs are one of them.
Because the cost of installing LEDs has dropped dramatically, and their energy efficiency is one of the highest on the market, making the change to LEDs is both beneficial for the new tenant and the landlord.
You have the choice of LED-based fixtures, where the bulb is part of the fixture, and the cost can range from under $10 to over $500, depending on the look you want to achieve. This helps achieve the LED aspect in the older homes if you’re out to achieve more bang for your buck.
The added benefit for the landlord is the selling point. Once they’re installed it’s unlikely the tenant will ever need to replace them. Having several years of life in them, it’s likely you’ll have two, three or four tenants for the LED’s life span.
Other benefits of choosing an LED lighting arrangement is the colour warmth and the control over the looks you want to achieve. If you go warm with your colour temperature (around 2,900 Kelvins) your house will exude ambience. Also, the higher the lumens the brighter the light, with 2000 lumens equating to the 125-watt incandescent bulb.
Using recessed downlights, for example, will open up any room and give the impression of space. This alone will help bring in potential tenants and also boost your rental income by having a stylish environment. Nothing screams out louder than ‘rent me’ when the rooms are welcoming.
In comparison to the LED systems that leaving you wanting for nothing, chances are, if you have an older investment property, CFLs or the older incandescent bulb are already installed. The option is to keep them or to obviously install the LEDs.
Incandescent bulbs are the more commonly used lighting, and price wise, the least expensive if you don’t factor in life span. The incandescent will always give you the warm glow and will appeal to most just on the nostalgia it is likely to produce. Usually you’ll get somewhere between 700 to 1,000 hours use, which means the tenant will be changing them on a regular basis. However, like the LEDs, you can have these on a dimmer and with the right fixtures, can be somewhat appealing. However, the LEDs will give you options that the incandescent and CFL really doesn’t in terms of retro style and a modern room. Having the incandescent bulb is also unlikely to add any value to your home in terms of monetary or visual attraction. It is simply a functional form of illumination.
Similar to the incandescent, these bulbs will throw out white light closer to daylight than others. Slightly more energy efficient than their incandescent cousins, these can also be adjusted with a dimmer, making it a somewhat attractive option.
On the negative side, the halogen is prone to exploding if patches of oil from contact with skin are left. This residue can cause the bulb to warm too quickly and thus, explode. As a landlord, this is maybe enough reason to install other safer alternatives.
Fluorescent lighting is harsh. There are no dimmable options, and although they last longer than your incandescent, these lights are better suited to workshops and basements. There are warmer options to choose from, but having a fluorescent in the living room is likely to turn away potential tenants.
Rarely do they have an appeal that will add value to your investment, and in comparison, to the LED, you’re left with some very minimal options.
Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs)
CFLs are the usual alternative to the incandescent bulb if you’re not installing the LED. These bulbs are similar to the fluorescent illumination in that they can produce harsh blue and white light. On the plus side, these lights are inexpensive and there are colour-corrected tones available on the market. They also have a lifespan 10 times that of the incandescent.
However, the CFL does contain traces of mercury and if shattered, precautions need to be taken when disposing of the bulb, making this option an ‘oh, CFLs’ as opposed to a potential ‘wow’ factor when opening up space in your living room with recessed LEDs.
Changing the lights is an inexpensive cosmetic update. However, changing from incandescent to LED will require an electrician to change the fittings. The latest designs can be achieved by going to places like Bunnings for a fraction of the cost. Depending on the style you want to achieve will determine the type of light you opt for, be it stylish pendant lights or the recessed downlights.
The key is not to over improve your investment property. By adding fixtures, such as lighting, you’re implementing a low-cost improvement to your property while maximising the benefits. Some houses or rooms will lend themselves to a specific feel, but overall, LEDs offer the more practical and flexible option for any investment property.
Simon Mundine is the Director of LED World in Newtown, New South Wales. Simon started LED World as a hobby business in his parent's spare bedroom. After realising that he could improve the products he was reselling, he learned electrotechnology and the manufacturing process to bring his products to the market. From there, Simon went on to formally study lighting design. Today LED World has a team of five full-time staff and works with a range of businesses across Australia and the globe.