Megan Lamont, a property manager and investor at Vertigo Property Management Group recently talked to a TNG online meeting about how to attract good tenants and increase rent at a time when renters are skittish and local markets have been disrupted by Covid.
When considering a rental property, the first question you need to ask is when last the rent was increased. Increasing rent can happen every 12 months, but the market has been complicated due to the pandemic.
As such, Megan suggests doing market research prior to raising the rent if you’ve already done so in the past 18 months. Renters are a bit skittish at the moment, so higher prices could scare them off. As Megan points out, investing is about the long term.
On that note, a property owner’s ultimate goal should be to have long-term renters rather than a high turnover. Stable tenants are more likely to be invested in the maintenance of the property, make payments on time, and avoid causing disturbances.
So how does one attract long-term tenants?
As with any investment, market research is key. Begin by looking at listings similar to yours and taking note of how long they’ve been up. If they appear to be sluggish, look for clues as to why.
Are the prices above market? Are the photos of the property outdated? These and many other things could be the issue. It’s ideal to identify weaknesses in other listings, so you can avoid them in your own.
Naturally, you’ll have to make some physical improvements to the property. Luckily there’s some leeway to how much you spend on each update. You can go full force or do a few sensible tweaks to spruce things up.
By adding room, Megan means creating more space. This can take the form of literally building an extension onto the property or, for a cheaper option, repurposing existing space.
Megan points out that a laundry can easily be converted into a home office, while a dining room can be repurposed into extra living space.
Update the Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of many a home, and so a refit will go a long way to encouraging renters. The refit can be full, with taps being replaced etc., or simply a new coat of paint.
Refurbish the bathroom
The easiest way to refurbish a bathroom is to give it a more modern look. Some of the most attractive photos in catalogues are sparkling bathrooms. Getting rid of carpeting, removing grout, and picking neutral colours makes one more manageable, which is a plus for those living there.
Megan points out that greys are a good choice. Not only are they stylish, but they’re easier to clean than white shades while being more durable than darker shades.
Lay down new flooring
While you have some options in terms of cost for the other points, this is one in which no expense should be spared. Megan explains that commercial grade flooring is best, as you save pounds for pennies long term.
Increase outside appeal
Finally, you need to take care of the house’s exterior. A well-presented easy-care garden goes a long way to creating a great first impression which can really draw renters in. It’s also vital to remember that garden maintenance is not the tenant’s responsibility so an easy-care garden is much more attractive to tenants.
Megan ends off by noting that you should consider some extras if possible. For example, adding storage space or even a vehicle charging station. These little extras can be just the thing a renter is looking for.
Finally, Megan explains the importance of meeting ‘healthy home standards.’ In brief, this means ensuring:
- Proper insulation
- Sufficient heating
- Fully functioning drainage
- Keeping out draughts
- Up-to-code ventilation
As you can see, there’s quite a bit involved in renting out a property, but it’s all for the benefit of your tenants, which means it’s all for your benefit.
The goal is to find tenants willing to invest in your property as much as you do, and the first step towards that goal is due diligence and care.
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