In most cases an investment property is a valuable source of income for the landlord, void periods and reduced rents can seriously impact profits and in some cases lead to landlords being forced to sell their asset.
Getting the location right and buying in a desirable area with adequate transport connections for the locality, low crime rates and with useful facilities and amenities within easy reach is a first sensible step toward a successful investment. When it comes to the actual property do you know what tenants are looking for?
We consider which features will boost both the appeal and potentially the rental income of your investment property.
Top priorities for tenants
It’s important to get the basics right when letting a property, for most landlords it may seem glaringly obvious but cleanliness is high on the list of priorities for tenants. It’s one reason some properties don’t let when the current tenant is still in situ and doesn’t keep the place clean and tidy. A clean flat will usually always let quicker than a dirty one.
Between tenancies the property should be professionally cleaned and this is usually paid for by the outgoing tenants. However if you’ve just purchased a property and it’s not brand new it’d be wise to get it deep cleaned to boost its appeal. Especially in properties without furniture prospective tenants will be able to see every mark and stain.
To the same effect it can often be worthwhile to give the entire property a lick of paint, neutral, light colours are always a good idea. And if you’re looking to invest to make some more serious improvements start with the kitchen and bathroom.
Another basic requirement of tenants is for everything to be in working order, they won’t be too interested in ongoing issues and appliances that need repairing – get things fixed quickly, ideally before prospective tenants view.
Low maintenance rental property
A garden with pretty flower beds, a water feature and well-kept lawn may look great in the photos to get tenants through the door to view but the reality might be that keeping it in such a good condition isn’t viable for busy people. Some landlords choose to pay for a gardener to regularly visit the property on their behalf. It’s unlikely that a tenant would be happy to pay for the upkeep of the garden.
If you’re not planning on arranging a gardener and the property has a lawn, it might be a wise idea to supply the tenant with a lawn mower.
Similarly tenants aren’t usually expected to pay towards the maintenance of communal areas if the property is in an apartment building or block, the landlord would pay the service charge as they are the leaseholder of property.
Unsurprisingly tenants prefer properties that have lower running costs so the more energy efficient your property is the more appeal it will have. Whilst it is a legal requirement, since April 2018, for rental properties to have an energy efficiency rating of E or above it makes sense to regularly service the boiler and consider updating appliances every 10 years.
Features which appeal to tenants
Especially relevant to those purchasing a flat to rent out, storage space is usually very important to prospective tenants. If the storage available within the property is limited it might be worth considering either building some additional storage cupboards or getting a weather proof container, if the property has outside space.
Also for apartments, if you’re purchasing a property which is above the first floor a building with a lift is preferable to one without. Whilst the service charge will likely be higher to pay for the maintenance of the lift, a property on the third floor with only access via stairs may be a problem to let out.
Property security is important to most people, and properties with enhanced security usually appeal more to tenants. Whilst it’s unlikely that they’ll be expecting security cameras, security alarms are a popular feature especially for houses. It might simply be adding a deadbolt lock to the front door that makes all the difference or upgrading the front door and locks using a reputable make such as Banham.
For properties in the center of a town or city parking is less important, however if you’re in a location where driving is really the only way to get around then buying a property with off street parking will likely boost your property’s appeal and rental value over one that doesn’t have parking at all.
Buying a rental investment property
If you haven’t yet bought a property and want to make a good purchasing decision, once you’ve decided on the fundamentals of your search such as your budget and the general location, next consider your target market. Sharers will have different priorities to a professional couple or family.
We have helped many clients start or build a successful investment property portfolio, if you’d like to learn more about how we can assist your search for a rental investment please, contact us for a no obligation discussion.