Tenant focus: how much does the look and feel of a property matter?
As with so much about Buy to Let, the look and feel of a rental property needs to be appropriate for the tenants you want to attract. Some tenants with more limited finances will be very happy with ‘budget’ accommodation – as long as they have a legally let and safe roof over their heads, they would rather pay less and live in a more basic home. Others, particularly younger working adults and professionals in their 30s and 40s, expect a more ‘boutique’ feel and are prepared to pay a little more rent for a nicer home. At the top end of the rental market – usually in major city centres – corporate and luxury accommodation really does need to be on trend, with high-end fittings and décor. So, make sure you’re clear on your target tenant type.
Even if you’re going for a basic finish, today’s tenants do still expect a reasonable level of quality and certainly a higher standard of accommodation than they might have done ten or fifteen years ago. Importantly, you must make sure you comply with health and safety regulations, ensuring:
- All furnishings meet fire safety standards
- The heating system is adequate and properly certified
- There are no signs of damp or mould
- The property is free from potential hazards (under the housing health and safety rating system, HHSRS).
Obviously, the amount of capital you have available to invest is a factor, and it’s important you do some financial analysis to make sure you get the right balance between how much you spend and the amount of rent you will be able to achieve as a result. Sometimes it’s worth spending a bit more; in other areas it won’t make much difference.
But if a home feels safe and comfortable, tenants are less likely to move on, meaning you benefit from continuous rental income and avoid the costs involved in setting up a new tenancy. According to our own research, tenants aged from 18 to 44 tend to rent for between 2.5 and 3 years and many move every 12 months. That may be because their circumstances change, but if you provide them with an attractive, comfortable, up-to-date home, they might stay with you for longer. And those over the age of 45 rent for an average of six years, which is a great opportunity for you to secure a long-term tenant.
To find out more about current tenant demand and for advice on fitting out and furnishing a rental property, just call into your local Reeds Rains branch and one of our experienced colleagues will be happy to help.