Based on our years of experience in the Leeds letting market, we’ve decided to share some of the insights we’ve developed into exactly what a prospective rental tenant is looking for in a property in our area.
OK, so let’s get this one out of the way – everyone involved in property knows the old adage, ‘location, location, location’. But trite as it may be, the top factor in any rental search is likely to be location. In fact, it’s likely to be a deal-breaker.
That said, a ‘good’ location can mean different things to different prospective tenants. More likely what they are looking for is some combination of the following factors:
- In a nice safe neighbourhood
- Close to work or university
- Near good nightlife
- In the catchment area of good schools
Since you’re unable to move your properties brick by brick to a new area, perhaps a more useful way to look at these factors is to understand the strengths of the area in which your property is situated and target an appropriate market.
So for example, if you’re property is located in a nice, safe neighbourhood with good local schools but far from any nightlife, you could be barking up the wrong tree to target young professionals and may better off looking at the family market. Once you know your target market, think about presenting your property in a manner that the market will respond well to.
After deciding on a location, your prospective tenants are likely to have a budget in mind and base their search on what they can afford. Although it’s common sense, it’s worth stating that they’ll be looking to maximise their budget and get the best property for their needs.
What this means to you as a landlord, is that you must set your rents at a rate that is competitive with other similar properties in the area. Look at how the features of your property stack up against those on the same street or the immediate area. If your price isn’t competitive, then the time the property is vacant while you find a tenant may mean that a higher price is a false economy and you generate less of a return on investment.
If you want to generate a higher rental return your property then you may need to invest in the features of the property to increase your return in the medium to long term. This doesn’t have to be a large scale investment, some of the more attractive features that tenants are looking for can actually be fairly simple to implement and allow you to command a higher rental income.
How does your property stack up against the following list of desirable rental property features? As we’ve already discussed, these features may be relatively inexpensive to implement and generate a return on investment due to higher rental value and less vacancy time:
- Modern, nicely presented kitchen and bathroom
- Good facilities: washer, dryer, dishwasher
- Stainless steel appliances
- Simple style touches such as a feature wall
- Clean & comfortable interior
- Plenty of closet/storage space
- A tidy, functional outside space – however small
- As much natural light as possible
- Available parking space
- Open plan living
Length of Tenancy
As a nation of aspiring homeowners, most tenants are looking for a relatively short term 6-18 month contract. Many tenants residing in rental properties are saving for a mortgage, waiting for house prices to fall or actively looking for a property to buy. That’s why a shorter term contract is much more attractive to prospective tenants than something three years or more.
But not everyone achieves their goals in the time frame they expect, and keeping hold of a good tenant is fundamental to achieving a solid return on your portfolio.
So what factors effect whether a tenants is likely to stay longer in your property?
First and foremost is a good working relationship with your tenants. That means keeping the property in good order and responding to maintenance requests promptly. As well as keeping disturbances to a minimum – either from the immediate neighbours or yourself.
Also, as many tenants are aspiring homeowners and crave a property they can put their own stamp on, you may want to allow flexibility on a small amount of tasteful personalisation. This will allow your tenants to feel at home while they look for their dream property.
Redbrick Properties are a double awards winning lettings agent in Leeds - for a no obligation chat about renting out your property, please contact us.