What do tenants want?
If we were to draw up a list of wants and needs for tenants we would see that logistics feature heavily.
The most obvious thing tenants look for is good value accommodation: Is the property near local transport hubs? Are the bedrooms similar sized? Is the property in a safe neighbourhood? Is the area near good bars, restaurants, and shops? These tend to be common denominators in a tenants search.
It may sound perverse but often tenants are more concerned with logistics that the actual property. The most important constraint is obviously money and the way the rental market is at the moment, particularly in London and other urban areas, tenants appear to be prepared to commute slightly further in order to find a property that they can afford. As they now tend to be travelling further it is even more important that any property is near public transport. Generally the most important factor tends to be location and how quickly tenants can commute to work.
One of the biggest complaints from tenants is about hot water and water pressure. You will often see prospective tenants running the hot tap on a viewing to check that the water flows freely and gets to temperature quickly.
The trap that people fall into is generalising tenants. 20 years ago the majority of tenants were students or fresh graduates. It is clear, now that the average first time buyer is in their 30’s, that we can no longer stereotype in this way. You of course have students and the graduate community, but you also have young cohabiting couples, young professionals, older professionals, and families. It is important to know the demographic break down of the tenant community in your local area.
Once you have ascertained your target audience you can look at investments that match. If the area is very student orientated then you will want to look at 4-5 bedroom houses close to links to the university. Likewise if you are looking at young professional sharers then 2 or 3 bedroom flats may be the order of the day. We are also seeing the rise of the professional sharer and there seems to be a dearth of high quality HMO’s available (Houses of Multiple Occupancy).
Overall tenants are now of a much higher calibre than a decade or two ago and typically stay in properties for longer. As such it is important that they can envisage making a rental their home. Therefore we would recommend that properties offered to let have a clean, safe, and neutral décor. The nicer you can make it and the more reasonable the rent, the more likely you are to have your pick of tenants, and the more likely they are to keep the property in good condition and stay for longer.