As a property manager, your portfolio of rental homes will need to stand out from the crowd. It’s a competitive market out there, and attracting and retaining the best tenants is in your best interest—especially in today’s day and age. 

Why? Well, a lot is changing in the rental industry. Where private landlords have suffered at the hands of the pandemic, the build-to-rent sector has thrived—thanks to their impressive amenities, modern decor and all-inclusive bills. 

The number of completed BtR homes stood at 53,750 in Q4 2020—a 23% increase from the year before. And several key players have also made plans to bring thousands of these homes to market over the next few years.

So, if property managers want to compete against these popular rental developments, they will need to upgrade and improve their homes to make them more appealing. 
Here, HomeHero’s going to look at some simple yet effective ways of adding real value to your investment properties. After all, it’s sometimes the smallest investments that can go a long way.

Maximise the outdoor space

In a recent survey, 58% of tenants thought outdoor space was paramount when renting a home—and it comes as no surprise that the pandemic has only fuelled this desire. 

So, making the most out of the outdoor space is one of the best ways to add value to your properties. Even wrapping some solar fairy lights around a tree can make your property more appealing, so just think of what you could do if you really invested in these spaces. 

Need a little nudge? Here are a few of our ideas:

  • Carve out areas for socialising 

Those fortunate enough to have access to a private garden will know how important it is to have a safe space to socialise—so much so that plenty of renters have fled crowded cities in search of them. 

So, it’s a great idea to add furniture that’ll allow renters to do this (if your property is furnished, of course). We’re talking good quality tables, chairs and maybe even small fire pits to bring the space to life. 

We also suggest investing in wrought iron furniture, as they’re the most durable and can potentially last decades!

  • Add a small vegetable garden

It’s no secret that the pandemic has prompted people to start growing their own vegetables. Not only does it fill a nurturing instinct, but it’s also a way for us to cope; according to a recent survey, 43% of respondents said that gardening helps with their mental health. 

So, adding a few raised beds can go a long way in adding value to your property. If you only have balcony space, you could add a few hanging plant pots and a complimentary watering can to make it more appealing.

It’s also a great idea to add these items in any marketing photos, so you can plant seeds in prospective tenants’ minds on how they can utilise the space for their benefit. 

Update the property

The general rule of thumb is that every five years, or whenever a long-term tenant moves out, property managers should redecorate the property—and we’re not just talking about a new lick of paint. 

Of course, giving the walls a freshen up with neutral colours will never go amiss. But it’s worth thinking about how you can modernise the kitchen and bathrooms; they’re what tenants will prioritise when looking for a new property. 

So here’s what you can do: 

  • Replace appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers every ten years with up-to-date ones
  • Install a high-quality power shower: this is a must!
  • Update cabinetry and flooring

All of these investments will go a long way—especially refacing the kitchen and bathrooms. If a tenant can step into your kitchen and is transported immediately to a different decade, then it’s time to redecorate. 

The truth is, what was once all the rage 20 years ago can make today’s kitchens look cheap and cut-price—and that’s not even considering the wear and tear that’s occurred throughout the years. 

They’ll appreciate a modern twist to the kitchen and bathroom(s). Newer choices include porcelain tiles, high-grade moisture-resistant laminate and just about anything contemporary, hygienic and easy to clean. 

Give the tenant more freedom

In October, Boris Johnson condemned the rental market for leaving millions of UK adults to “pay through the nose” to rent a home they can never truly make their own. 

As a property manager, you may want to consider giving tenants more freedom to personalise their homes. Not only will this minimise void periods, but it attracts tenants who are more likely to look after the property. (Not to mention generating higher rent). 

You could do this by allowing them to paint the walls in a colour of their choice, hang pictures up or change minor details of their home, like the door knocker. 

But that’s not to say that tenants have free reign to renovate the home completely. However, it is about finding a harmonious balance. To do this, you can: 

  • Specify what the tenant can and can’t do in the tenancy agreement. This should cover internal decor, as well as the garden and other outdoor areas. 
  • Clarify what walls the tenant can repaint or paper, and provide a list of acceptable colours that the tenant can choose from—light colours are a lot easier to paint over than deep red.

So, how can you add value?

The best way to add value to your rental properties is by making decisions that’ll put the tenant first. All-inclusive bills, more freedom to personalise and investments that keep up with trends are just a few ways to perk a tenants interest. 

Not only will they appreciate your efforts, but it means you’ll minimise void periods, hang onto good tenants and generate a higher rental income. What’s not to like? 

Time for another? Head to Property Insider for more interesting industry articles.

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