The most of renters wish to transfer to an unfurnished property, but relatively few landlords offer homes without furniture. So, if you’re a landlord seeking to attract tenants, how will you make your buy-to-let stick out?
A new study by the price comparison website GoCompare surveyed renters on their own priorities when examining homes, and the findings might surprise some landlords.
Here, we check out what renters are searching for, and offer suggestions about you'll find the right person for your property and steer clear of costly void periods.
What do tenants want?
GoCompare surveyed 1,000 tenants about what they look for when renting a house, before comparing these functions with those available in 1,546 homes currently listed on the property portal Rightmove.
The research found that landlords are underestimating how many tenants want to reside in unfurnished properties, with six in ten (60%) wanting a clear home but simply 14% of properties being offered unfurnished.
There were also signs that modern renters want access or close proximity to leisure facilities. 1 in 5 (18%) of tenants said access to a gym/pool is essential to them.
The research suggests some the traditional attractions are increasingly being overlooked by tenants, with just 15.78% looking for a home by having an en-suite, as shown in the table below.
|% of tenants who say feature is ‘important’
|% of homes with feature
|Close to good schools
|Has a parking space
|Has a garden/roof terrace
|Has access to a gym/pool
|In an attractive area
|Close to operate /university hubs
|Offers a cleaning service
|Has an en-suite
While the sample of 1,000 tenants surveyed by GoCompare is comparatively small and means you shouldn’t necessarily take these findings as gospel, they do highlight that the priorities of contemporary renters are perhaps shifting.
Finding the best tenant
To get the best possible tenants, it’s worth taking into consideration what your property offers and just how you can boost its appeal.
Then again, it’s also important to make sure you find the right people to safeguard your valuable investment. If you use a letting agent, they’ll find and vet tenants for you – but when you’re going it alone, you’ll need to make the decision yourself.
1. Consider property type
Ultimately, you’ll attract better tenants if you offer a property which has features that are very popular.
Think concerning the kind of household that might be seeking to transfer to your home – a one-bedroom flat might be more desirable a couple of, while a three-bedroom home is likely to attract families with children – and what is recommended to people tenants.
2. Set the rent in a reasonable level
You may want to earn as much as possible from rent, but tenants are likely to shop before making a decision. In case your rentals are significantly more expensive than comparable homes, without offering anything better, tenants will probably pass you by.
Take advice from lettings agents, and do you own research into how much similar properties are advertised for and how long it takes to book them out.
3. Choose the right amount of security deposit
Some tenants are inspired to pay six weeks of rent upfront as a deposit, while some only pay a month initially.
While a larger deposit offers you greater recourse if the tenant damages your house, a sizable initial outlay could price some prospective tenants out.
If your property is standing empty for a long time, keep in mind that void periods could cost you more overall than dropping the rent with a small margin.
4. Present the home in the best light
You don’t have to refurbish the entire property whenever a tenancy ends – but a lick of paint or steam-cleaned carpets can make it seem more appealing.
If your home is furnished, it’s also worth taking into consideration what state the furnishings is within and whether anything needs replacing – which might entitled to the new deterioration allowance.
5. Do thorough background checks
It’s vital to take time to ensure you’re obtaining a trustworthy tenant.
You’ll must have any prospective tenants undertake credit checks, and request employer and landlord references.
In theory that you can do these checks yourself, however, many landlords appoint managing agents to process them on their behalf.
How to purchase the best property
Maximising your appeal to tenants starts with buying the right property.
The following tips will help you choose the right investment property.
1. Research the local property market
Look at listings on portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla to get a better grasp of what’s now available, and how your property compares.
Local letting agents can tell you about trends in the market and advise on which houses are easiest to allow and whether any kinds of property are in short supply.
Before buying an area, use the Which? area comparison tool to assess quality of life aspects such as the number of good schools, the local employment market, transport links and charges.
2. Decide between old and new
New-build homes might be appealing, as you may need lower maintenance bills and perhaps achieve a higher rental price from tenants.
The trade-off, however, can be a significantly higher initial outlay.
Before taking a brand new house, weigh up rental yields with prospective capital growth. It’s also worth taking into consideration the quality of rise in your neighborhood, as too many new homes may result in lower demand from buyers and renters.
4. Don’t blow your budget
The income on property investment are stretched, with some properties no more experienceing this yields they once did.
This means you should calculate and recalculate your projected incomes and outgoings, set a financial budget and stick to it.
If you’re buying a property to allow out, you won’t have an onward chain – this may be worth emphasising as part of your offers, as it’s not as likely that you’ll endure the sale.
5. Think together with your head
Don’t get caught up with one specific property. While it might tick all the boxes, overpaying can make it hard to maintain rental yields, and may limit the achievable capital growth.
Make a shortlist of properties and view them several times before rushing in.
Buy-to-let mortgage advice
If you’re considering contributing to or refinancing your portfolio, it can help to obtain advice from a mortgage broker.