When renting your home out for the first time, or having to find new renters after the end of an old contract it can be difficult to tell what part of a home is below-par. This is especially the case if you have maintained the property for many years and have simply become accustomed to situations that others wouldn’t tolerate or simply would not like. Every property could always do with improvements here or there, but where do you start?
A partner of online property giant Zoopla, Plentific, conducted a survey based on the large amounts of information from its partner and came up with various bits of information that could help landlord make these decisions. “Many renters keep an eye out for particular renovations when searching for their next home,” mentions Plentific’s Stephen Jury. “These can add significant value to a property and therefore add value to the rental value”. The survey results show that just under 50% of would-be tenants focus on the kitchen more than any other room in the house. While that may not be ground-breaking news, as we all know the kitchen is the hub of the house at any gathering, it is interesting to find that just under a third of renters would be prepared to increase their rent for a kitchen of a higher than average standard.
Understanding that this means no other room in the house would have to change and you could possibly earn back what you spend on this kitchen within the next 18 months, it seems the logical step to take. This trend is not restricted to a certain demographic either, with realtors for a luxury estate agent confirming the trends in the prime market also. ”No matter the budget of clients, everyone is always most fascinated in the kitchen and more commonly as a communal area. It can make or break the decision process.”
In a close second behind kitchens, was the importance of a high-quality bathroom. Just under half of those in the survey commented that a well designed and clean bathroom, or a secondary bathroom – which is now seen more and more frequently – would more than just an increased rent. The ability to feel comfortable, relaxed and clean is a given in any good bathroom. The ability to have a bath in place of a shower, was also a point made by renters as it ensures the bathroom isn’t cramped and offers more opportunity to relax – even if that means higher water bills also.
Beyond these main rooms, features such as noise reduction through double glazing or similar actions and whether the property had an extension or conservatory also modified renter’s perspectives on rent value. A well-maintained garden has a tremendous impact on decision making also with ¼ of those surveyed more inclined to tend to an already well-maintained garden than have the unenviable task of taming wild and unkempt thorn bushes. It is important to note that this survey should be taken as more of a suggestion rather than cold hard facts, but it is able to give landlords the edge over competitors on changes to draw in new tenants.
Here are 3 quick tips that should help get the ball rolling.
- Know your target demographic – Who are you after? Young? Old? Sporty? Animal owners? Bankers? Nurses? Having a solid grasp of who you want in the flat will ensure you invest in the correct areas and will enable you to update listings – eg. Only a 7-minute drive from the local hospital.
- Balance Design with Functionality – It’s wonderful having an eye-catching table and rug with hundreds of strands of the softest wool, that also spreads around the house like pet hair. Also, don’t buy black furniture as you’ll be dusting every day.
- Have furniture when viewing – When tenants come to view a property having furniture in the room enables them to see it more like a home, rather than 4 walls. You don’t need to overdo it, a table and sofa in the lounge and a bed in the bedroom should suffice.