Nine things that tenants want from your buy-to-let property

Never buy the home you want to live in − buy the property others want to rent

I recently met a buy-to-let investor who was experiencing a problem that is unfortunately not a rarity. He was finding it difficult to get a tenant. He’d tried dropping his rental price, cutting it to the bone. Nothing. He hadn’t had so much as a sniff.

The truth of the matter is that he’d bought a dud. When I asked why he’d bought it, he answered, “Because it’s just the sort of property I’d love to live in.” He’d bought his ideal home instead of a property that others want to live in.

When he carried out his property inspection and due diligence, he’d seen what he wanted to see and not what tenants would look for in rental homes. He hadn’t looked at the investment as a box that makes money. He hadn’t invested in a property that would appeal to a tenant. Consequently, he was left holding a costly baby.

(Watch this video which shows how deep our due diligence checklist delves to ensure a property investment opportunity has the maximum potential.)

In this post, I’ll show you the nine things that today’s best tenants want from a home they rent. This knowledge will help you to identify the diamond properties and dismiss the duds.

Think about what your ideal tenant needs

What you want from a home is likely to be different to what your tenants want from their home. You may want to live somewhere quiet. Today’s young professionals – the biggest sector of the rental market – want to be in the thick of it. Their lifestyle includes bars and restaurants, while yours might include country walks and playing football with the kids.

Here are the nine factors that you’ll find tenants look for in properties today:

1.     Location

The millennial renter wants to be near restaurants, retail, and recreation. They enjoy socialising. They enjoy running in a park. They want a gym to exercise in on cold winter mornings. They also want to be close to work – today that most commonly means short commutes and only a short walk from a train station.

2.     Security

Life has moved on from the days when a person could leave their front door unlocked and be confident that their neighbours would keep a friendly watch. Although we live more densely, fewer neighbours know each other. High on the list of priorities are basic security measures. These include alarms, security doors, video door monitors, deadbolt locks, and so on. A concierge desk is a bonus for which many tenants are willing to pay.

3.     Easily maintained outdoor space

The pace of which life is lived, and the entertainment options that tenants take advantage of means they are less likely to want gardens. However, outdoor space is still considered as one of the major ‘selling features’ of a buy-to-let property. Balconies, terraces, community gardens, and nearby parks all attract tenants. Your property will be easier to let if it benefits from easily maintained outdoor space because it will be a bigger draw to more potential tenants. It may command a higher rental, too.

4.     Open-plan design

An open-plan design makes a rental property look bigger. American-style gallery kitchens with breakfast bars make for a better entertaining space when they are open to the living area. Open-plan is appealing to the eye.

5.     New appliances in stainless steel

Matching appliances in stainless steel are a big draw. They make your kitchen look coordinated, especially when matched with sleek, tiled splashbacks.

6.     Plenty of storage

Modern living is about clean lines and minimalism, but the smaller size of new-build apartments can make this difficult. Innovative storage solutions in the kitchen, bedrooms, and living space help to keep the modern, crisp look while maximising the use of space.

7.     Natural light

Natural light makes a property look and feels inviting. Large windows and skylights allow natural light to flood in. When incorporated with energy efficient glass, this is a double benefit for tenants.

8.     State-of-the-art air conditioning and central heating

Millennials are going ‘smart’. Central heating and air conditioning that can be controlled remotely will one day be the norm. People with busy work and social lives come home at differing hours. The ability to control home environment and atmosphere from miles away aids energy efficiency and comfort. That’s a winning formula.

9.     Off-street parking

I’ve deliberately put this at the bottom of the list because it only applies to tenants with cars. City living millennials are increasingly likely not to be car owners. A designated parking space won’t be important for all potential tenants, but should be considered when investing anyway.

Summing up

Young professionals are more likely to rent than buy. Think about the things tenants want in a rental property: How many bedrooms is optimal? What kind of finish is most appealing? Where do young professionals want to live? What local amenities will benefit our prospective tenants?

If you invest in an existing home, the likelihood is that you’ll have a lot of work to do to bring it up to the standard that modern lifestyle living demands. And that’s if you can find a property in the location that is most appealing to prospective tenants.

Beginner property investors often ask why the premium is so high when buying off-plan property. A new build apartment is more likely to hit all of these nine things that tenants want from a property. That means less time and cost renovating and refurbishing, and you should have invested in a property that is ready to rent more quickly at best rental price.

Giving tenants what they want also helps landlords when getting the tenant to agree to the terms of the tenancy agreement. It’s a win all-around.

Get in touch with Gladfish today on +44 (0)207 923 6100 to discover the latest off-plan property opportunities that have maximum tenant appeal.

Live with passion

Brett Alegre-Wood

Brett Alegre-Wood
October 15, 2016

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