Top 10 features your home must have for immediate tenant appeal

Property management

Why do some rental properties sit on the market for weeks while others are occupied within just days? It all comes down to your property’s features and whether they appeal to prospective tenants. If you describe dirty carpet as ‘cosy and soft underfoot’ in your ad-copy, then you’re probably heading in the direction of vacancy.

At the end of the day, if you have a property you want to lease, you’ll want to get some great long term tenants who will a) pay fair market rent, preferably with good returns, and b) look after your home. The only thing that gives you a good chance of achieving both is a property in amazing condition with a list of appealing features.

What are those features? Take a look below to find out which ones have immediate tenant appeal.

One: A great location

If you’re buying a rental home, choosing a good location is a must. A good location depends on who you’re renting to and each suburb will have a particular target market.

For example, if you want to rent to families, the home should be close to schools, transport and local amenities such as a shopping centre. If it’s not close to a school, your ad-copy should list any child-friendly features near the home like parks, daycare facilities or bike lanes.

For inner city renters, transport links are important because many will rely on it for getting to and from work.

For beachside suburbs, plenty of prospective renters love to be as close to the ocean as possible.

Two: Parking

A property with a dedicated spot for tenants to park their car will definitely have instant appeal – especially if your property is in the city or inner city suburbs where parking is scarce.

If your place doesn’t have a garage, car space or carport, be sure to check with your local council about whether your tenants have the right to apply for an on-street residential parking permit. This will allow them to park in nearby streets without being timed or fined.

Be sure to mention this in the ad copy of your listing as well, this way tenants who have cars will be more inclined to apply.

Three: A fresh coat of paint

Rental property home improvements should be at the top of your list. Paint the inside of your home first and the exterior if it needs freshening up. Painting the house will make it look far more appealing to any tenant and will attract better tenants who are looking for a neat and fresh home to live in long term.

Stick with neutral colours. While they may not be exciting, neutral colours have wider appeal. Tenants want to be able to bring their furniture into a property and have it ‘match’ and look as nice as possible. The easiest way to achieve this is with a neutral yet versatile colour palette that they can use as a base.

Good neutral colours for inside a property include beige, greys and slates.

Four: New fixtures

No one wants to move into a home with old fixtures. Look at things like lighting, tapware, door handles and knobs on cabinets and drawers. If they’re looking old and tired, then an easy way to update them is to add some new fixtures yourself.

In terms of cabinets in drawers, if the structure is in good condition, changing the handles should be enough to breathe some new life into the property.

Five: Open plan living

Open plan living is obviously a huge selling point for tenants, and that’s because it’s the modern way of living. Not only does it make a smaller home feel larger, it also allows tenants to more easily interact with each other. If the tenant has children, they’ll also be able to cast a watchful eye over them without having to run from room to room.

Six: A dining area

A home with space for a dining area is appealing to tenants, especially in inner city areas where space is at a premium. If your apartment is small, then perhaps add 3d rendering to photographs on your listing, or have it styled with a small dining table to show the versatility of the space.

Seven: A low maintenance property

Tenants, just like the rest of us, are often time poor, so the responsibility of looking after front and back gardens can be a turnoff. If you have a small lawn in the backyard, think about replacing it with a deck or patio and look for native plants for the garden.

If it is a larger lawn, make sure it is weed free and has no brown spots. Mow the lawn and make sure it looks tidy when prospective tenants look at your home. It may be a good idea to provide them with a lawn mower, too. Many people won’t have a lawn mower and won’t want to pay for one.

Plants native to the area are much easier to maintain and require less watering than other plants. They can be just as beautiful as exotic plants and try to find some that flower when you’re renting your property.

Eight: A well maintained exterior

Many tenants won’t want to live in a home if it looks like a dump from the outside – even if it’s lovely inside. As a landlord, if you want to ensure your home is attractive to prospective tenants, you should maintain the way it looks from the street. It’s just the way it goes – the first thing prospective tenants will see is your home’s exterior, and if they like what they see, they will take a closer look.

To keep your investment property looking spick and span, you’ll want to pay attention to:

  • Outdoor lighting
  • Clean and clear gutters
  • A neat and tidy front garden with curb appeal
  • Anything outside that needs updating, such as old fences, letter boxes and other outdoor structures

If your rental property is in an apartment block or other strata managed building, these things may be beyond your control. In this case you can speak to the strata about the state of the building’s exterior.

You should also ensure that your front door and entry way is tidy, clean and free from debris. A welcome mat and a freshly painted apartment front door can do wonders.

If your apartment windows are visible from the street, then ensure the curtains or blinds in the window are fresh and modern. A quick way to turn off an interested tenant is for them to see stained brown blinds as they do a drive-by.

You may need to perform some renovations to your home. Each property will have different renovation requirements. If you want to attract good tenants, do all necessary renovations before you put the house up for rent.

Prospective tenants will notice anything that isn’t working properly or that looks like it’s in poor condition. Keeping your property in good condition will reduce the risk of vacancy and the costs that come with it.

Nine: Safety and security

Renters are looking for homes that are safe and secure. Some things you might want to add are a secure fence, a security front door and possibly bars on the windows. These are important especially in inner city neighbourhoods, where security is more of a priority.

If the entry to your home or the building that your apartment is in is dimly lit, add lighting or speak to strata about brightening up the area. A well lit entrance is highly desirable and works to ward off delinquents.

Ten: A clean appearance

Tenants want a clean property, plain and simple. So, before you put your home on the rental market, give it a thorough cleaning. Make sure the bathroom and kitchen are sparkling. Wash the windows and remove any dirt outside the home. If you have a driveway, think about having it pressure cleaned if it looks dirty.

If tenants come face to face with an unkempt looking property, they will be more inclined to look elsewhere.. Many houses stay vacant for months because they have not been thoroughly cleaned.

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