At some stage in life, almost all of us have been renters. And after the frat houses, dilapidated dens and that girl obsessed with witchcraft, you’re ready to swap roles and become a landlord.
Investing in property is a great way to build your own portfolio, enjoy rental income and get your foot on the property ladder. But to ensure it’s a stress-free and profitable experience, you’ll need to put your future tenants’ needs first – the rental market can be very competitive so you’ll want your property to stand out from the rest.
To appeal to the 30 per cent of Australian renters (and even those who know every line in The Craft), here are 10 things prospective renters are looking for:
1. Off-street parking
For renters with cars, this one’s important. Being forced to park your car a block away, or move it every four hours due to permits is not desirable.
In suburban areas, parking is more readily available – so you won’t need to worry too much. But in urban areas, parking can be limited. Ensuring there is either a driveway, a garage or a street permit is a big plus when it comes to renters.
You could have the best house in the country, but if the property is in Woop Woop, you’ll probably never find tenants.
Just like you, renters will want to be close to transportation, shopping, food and entertainment. A suburb rich in amenities and community will always be much more appealing. It’s also worth noting that renters will pay more to be close to the action, so don’t shy away from suburbs close to the CBD.
If our four-legged friends aren’t welcome in your property, you’re limiting your potential tenant pool. In fact, according to the RSPCA, about 62 per cent of Australian households own pets.
Pets (well, dogs) also provide excellent security, so your property may have less chance of being broken into.
4. Lots of natural light
Unless you’re hosting a séance, no one wants to live in the dark. A house that’s bright is not only inviting, but it also makes the property feel more spacious, airy and livable. So, when looking for an investment property, inspect with the lights off – clever lighting and styling can make the place look brighter than it really is.
5. Air-conditioning and heating
Depending on the property’s location, you’ll want to invest in heating and cooling – try telling a Queensland family that the house has no air-con.
Tenants are looking for houses that are homely and can be moved into straight away. So, if you buy a place without heating and cooling, it’s highly recommended you get a system installed before you start looking for tenants.
6. High-speed internet
These days, the internet isn’t just a utility, it’s an amenity. It’s how we shop, watch movies, listen to music, work from home, and Netflix and Chill. So it comes as no surprise that tenants will want a decent internet speed.
7. The number of power points
At first you may think this is irrelevant, but in a device heavy world, you need to plug in – literally. Just think of how many appliances and devices you own: fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle, washing machine, TV, speakers, lamps, and maybe even a fancy coffee machine (thanks George Clooney).
During inspections, potential tenants will be visualising the arrangement of their furniture – so it’s important there are enough power points per room to ensure tenants can easily plug in and switch on.
8. Storage space
Everyone has baggage – and in this case, we’re talking about clothes, books, photo albums, life admin and some dusty Christmas decorations.
It’s fundamental your investment property has adequate storage space and even built-in robes – this is a massive selling point. If it doesn’t, it could be worth taking away some existing square footage in the bedroom to build a closet.
9. Laundry facilities
Lugging a big bag of washing down to the local laundromat is not appealing to anyone – and the hassle of moving heavy white goods can put potential tenants off. Including a washer/dryer in your investment property not only makes it more attractive, but many tenants are willing to pay a little extra rent for the convenience.
If you don’t have the space to provide a washer/dryer in the house or apartment itself, providing them on the property is your next best option. You can convert a shed or basement into a laundry, or find an apartment complex that has communal laundry facilities.
10. Close to a good school
When choosing an investment property, you must think of your target audience.
It’s a no brainer that if you’re looking for a family home, the property should be close to a good school and community parks – you won’t fill a family home if it’s two doors down from a nightclub.
Investing in property can come with great financial reward. By putting yourself in the shoes of the renter and looking for features that they’ll value, you’ll never have a haunting experience.