The buy-to-let sector is highly competitive and, not surprisingly, the landlords who are most successful are the ones who appreciate the importance of making their properties attractive to their desired tenant market.
Regardless of whether you are a seasoned landlord with a sizeable portfolio looking to update an old property, or a new landlord looking to occupy their first let, attracting tenants to your rental property can set the basis for the rest of your journey as a landlord.
As the rental sector only expands it is more crucial than ever for landlords to not only be aware of the things that tenants look for in a rental property, but how their rental opportunity can leave a lasting impression amongst an increasingly competitive space
There have been some noticeable changes in rental trends recently too. Tenants, after being forced to spend more time at home, are re-evaluating what they want from their living space. This is especially true as more and more people are now opting to work from home all the time!
Whether you want to attract tenants to an existing rental property or you are searching for your next buy-to-let investment, consider our tips based on current market trends:
The main deciding factor for potential tenants is a ‘good’ location. The good news for landlords is that the definition of “good” will vary between individuals, with some or all of the following being important factors:
- A safe and secure neighbourhood
- Short commuting distance to university or work
- Proximity to local nightlife or shops
- Within a good school’s catchment area
- Access to a main road
Unless you are in the process of searching for a buy-to-let property to purchase, you cannot choose where your property is located. Therefore, we recommend that you take the time to appreciate the strengths of your property’s location, target the most appropriate market, and consider that target market when doing any works to your property.
For example, a property in a safe sub-urban location close to schools would be best for families, while a city centre apartment might be more suitable for a young professional couple.
This is now very high up on tenant’s wish lists, regardless of whether this is a small patio, balcony or large garden. An outdoor space will certainly help attract tenants and for families the lack of a garden could even be a deal breaker.
City centre tenants still appreciate being able to sit out on a decent balcony and if you are lucky enough to own a city apartment with this feature you should never be without a tenant!
Whatever the outside space we recommend making it tidy and presentable when new tenants move in – and also making it easy for them to maintain.
Our advice for landlords is if you are buying an investment property, look for a property with a private outdoor space or a communal amenity such as a landscaped garden or roof terrace.
If walls have not been painted for years, a property will make a bad impression on tenants as soon as they walk through the door. A fresh coat of paint will rectify the problem and landlords need to repaint their properties regularly or risk lagging behind the competition.
Landlords looking to expand their rental portfolio should consider the local broadband speed as fast broadband is an essential feature for many potential tenants.
At Horizon Lets we are always being asked what speeds can be achieved at certain addresses as many tenants work from home and depend on fast reliable internet.
Parking spaces are highly sought after and a major selling point for many properties in city centre locations. Failing that, if there’s on-street parking, even that which requires a resident’s permit, will still attract tenants to your property.
An apartment in a property development where parking is provided would be an extremely good buy-to-let investment.
Pets are also high up on many renters wish lists. This is a timely issue as the government has recently changed its Standard Tenancy Agreement, making the default position for landlords to allow pets in rental properties.
This recommendation hasn’t yet become law, but permitting tenants to keep a well-behaved pet will attract more people to your property and could encourage them to stay for longer.
Eliminating carpets in favour of hard flooring could be a wise move if you have tenants with pets and especially for the ground floor, but if applicable, don’t forget to check your property’s lease, as it may insist that carpets are laid to maximise soundproofing.
Tenants that take out a longer tenancy agreement will come to quickly rely on the storage space offered by the property… as many of us do!
Even in the most limiting of floor spaces though, there are simple steps you can take to dramatically increase the storage space in the property. Assess the existing storage spaces in areas such as the kitchen, and adding storage solutions such as shelving, cupboards and draws to any appropriate spaces is a great way of maximising a property’s attractiveness in this regard.
Lettings Manager, Shelley Theaker says “storage space is so important, whether it be for cleaning equipment or somewhere to keep the suitcases & Christmas decorations. My own house is so limited in this respect my solution was to install a really great loft hatch with a fold out ladder attached, put electricity in the roof space, and board out the loft. It didn’t cost much and now I have somewhere to store everything, including the camping gear!”
When doing any works to your investment property or looking for the next buy-to let property, consider these increasingly desirable features for many tenants;
Bills included within the rent will certainly attract people who may need to budget carefully and, for some city centre tenants it can be almost a must have.
En-suite bedrooms are now also highly desired for many renters. If you are renovating a property, this could be a cost effective addition that should reflect in a higher rent.
Installing a super fast broadband connection to the property is hugely important for many, especially with the increasing trend of working from home
One factor that encourages tenants to choose your property over others is the ability to put their own stamp on their home. Allowing some tasteful personalisation in décor, for example, will allow tenants to feel comfortable and potentially stay in your property for longer.
Of course, there will be an understanding that should the tenant vacate, they will put the property back into the condition it was let at the start.
If you have begun any refurb task to upgrade your property, make sure you finish it before showing round prospective tenants. If it clearly looks like a ‘work in progress’, with fixtures that have been half-repaired or rooms that have been half-redecorated it can be off-putting and you may lose out on the perfect tenants.
The same goes for the overall cleanliness of the property when it comes to showing around prospective tenants, especially the kitchen and bathrooms!
“Presentation, presentation, presentation,” say all of us at Horizon Lets. “If you want to attract tenants at the best price, it is imperative that your property is clean, well maintained and nicely presented.”
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