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Property investors: Offer Instagram-ready homes to attract tenants

Today’s renters are increasingly looking for high-quality, well-designed, modern homes, and property investors should emphasise these features to fill their properties.

Build-to-rent – made up of purpose-built homes for tenants – still makes up a relatively small part of the market, but it is expanding rapidly. Alongside this, the idea of properties being created to meet the needs of today’s tenants is becoming more popular.

As a result, property investors might find that their traditional, older buy-to-let properties are losing out to newer, more attractive homes with all the mod cons and smart features – not to mention their improved eco credentials.

A survey by Hatch Interiors found that 40.8% of tenants polled said they would prefer to live in a professionally managed, build-to-rent property. For families, this figure rises to 43.9%.

Almost a third of respondents (32.5%) said they wanted their rental home to be ‘move-in ready’, while 37.9% were likely or highly likely to choose somewhere that is professionally designed. For city-dwellers, this rises to 41.2% and 39.7% respectively, showing where property investors may want to place their focus.

Jodie Wardell, head of BTR at Hatch Interiors, said: “How can landlords compete in this shifting market? We think the answer is by making rental properties as welcoming and inviting and importantly, Instagrammable as possible.”

Property investors: new-builds and modern homes

Those who invest in newer property, or even new-builds, could increasingly find that demand from tenants is growing for these properties, judging by these figures. Particularly as people rent later in life, many are willing to pay more to get more.

Just over 70% of tenants said the overall interior design of the home is important or very important. 

Meanwhile, 28.6% said they would pay more for higher quality furniture. As many new-builds come with furniture pack options, this could be something for property investors to take note of when choosing how to furnish the property.

Jodie Wardell said: “We have become a demanding society that votes with its feet. Build-to-rent has raised the bar and landlords need to keep up if they want to compete. 

Modern renters want more than mismatched furniture and a landlord who takes weeks to get things fixed! They want and expect beautiful homes and great service. 

“Whatever side of the rental market an operator is on, they want to maximise their income. That means properties being filled with minimal void periods, people who can afford the rent, and residents staying longer-term.”

What tenants want

Aside from the basics of selecting a location and property type, successful property investors listen and respond to what tenants really want. The outcome will often be happier tenants who pay the asking rent and stay put for longer.

One thing that has changed for a great number of people is the ability to work from home. Many build-to-rent developments come with working spaces for people to use, making them more desirable.

Hatch Interiors’ survey found that 44% of respondents regularly or frequently use their homes for home-working. A further 82.8% view their home as a ‘sanctuary’, while 74.1% use them for family time.

Of those respondents who would prefer to live in build-to-rent, 42% would like a wellness facility such as a gym, 31.4% want a communal working space, and 31.3% would like a social space.

Looking at all renters surveyed, 50% would like kitchenware to be included, 54.7% expect to find cleaning equipment in a rental, and 41.9% want it to be well decorated. A concierge is a bonus for 38% of people, while 68.4% prioritise outdoor space.

These are all factors that property investors can look into before or after making a purchase. Any added extras of course come at a cost, but it is important to weigh up whether this additional expense will pay off in the long run.

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