To successfully profit from the purchase of a rental property, you need to understand exactly what type of tenant(s) you want to attract, what tenants want, and how you can match your property to their requirements. Based on the hundreds of different checks prospective tenants carry out be-fore selecting a property, we asked some of our landlords what do they think tenants look for in a rental property’ below are some of the responses we received:
- Transport links “It helps to have a property that is close to public transport, but also access to motorways can be important too.” So whether the target market for your buy-to-let property is university students, young professionals or even families – good transport links are always going to be a priority. Students and professionals alike will want easy access to local bus-stops, train stations and tram/tube stops in larger cities.
- Outdoor space “We’re not always talking about a large patch of lawn or expansive gardens, sometimes tenants just want a small courtyard or balcony where they can get some fresh air.” Outdoor space is always a highly desirable feature of any property, particularly if you’re renting to families or if your property is in a city. Therefore a property with a garden, yard, terrace or even a balcony will be instantly more desirable. Once you invest in a property, make sure you put time and money into making the outdoor space look presentable to prospective tenants.
- Local amenities When it comes to selecting a buy-to-let property, nearby shopping centres, playgrounds, parks, restaurants, and schools are attractive for prospective tenants. Properties close to amenities will tend to rent out quicker, and also have a better chance of selling if you decide to put the property up for sale in the future.
- Storage space Storage is a key concern for most tenants. The importance of bike storage was highlighted by landlords of city centre properties, as well as having enough space for bulky items such as a vacuum cleaner. It’s almost certain that your prospective tenants will arrive with plenty of possessions, and will accumulate them over the time they live in the property, therefore they’ll need places to put them all. Under-stairs storage, a useable attic and in-built wardrobes are sought-after solutions to tenant’s storage requirements.
- Parking “Think of a parking space as an asset that will help the rental aspect of the property a little now, while increasing the saleability of the property if you later want to sell. When people come to buy they are more sensitive to parking, even if they do not presently have a car to park.” Tenants with a car are likely to be deterred by a property where on-street parking is difficult, or where they are expected to pay an annual fee to park their car, therefore you can maximise your rental yield by securing a form of parking with your property.
- Modern facilities “Tenants want a property to be modern and move-in ready. Neutral walls and simplistic, comforta-ble décor is usually expected, so avoid injecting your own personality into the property too much– a tenant wants to live in their home, not yours.” Recently renovated kitchens and bathrooms hold particular appeal with prospective tenants, whether it be brand new fixtures or even just a profes-sional clean and a new coat of paint and tiles.
- Open floor plan “There’s open-plan and there’s unplanned open-plan. If your rooms are too small it may be worth thinking about opening them up for more space, creating an open kitchen and dining space but leave the living room separate.” For buy-to-let properties, an open floor plan is ideal for communal areas. Remove unnecessary walls between the living and dining room or dining room and kitchen to give your property an entirely new look.
- Equal sized bedrooms Long term trends show that tenants value a home layout featuring larger, more equal sized bedrooms in a buy-to-let property. So for example, in a 3 bedroom townhouse tenants would prefer a layout of 3 equal sized bedrooms and 2 ensuites, instead of one that features a large master bedroom, big bathroom, and 2 small bedrooms. “Smaller bedrooms may not be as much of an issue for families, but for young professionals equal sized bedrooms are always a big plus.” In addition, the government is proposing a national minimum bedroom size. Bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation would have to be a minimum of 6.5 sq m (70 sq ft), and landlords letting rooms smaller than that would be guilty of a criminal offence.
- The "Starbucks" or "Waitrose" effect Corporations spend millions on researching the next location for their retail outlets. Leverage that research by seeing where they are opening new branches. These will be in up and coming areas that their research has identified.
- Where new transport links or stations are being added The addition of London’s Crossrail and proposed Crossrail 2 will vastly improve transport connections in the areas that they cross, making them attractive spots for renters and greater yields in the long term. See point 1. tenants want to be within walking distance of a tube station or major bus route.
Two further things to look out for:
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