In a rental market where tenants have the upper hand and plenty of choice, the onus is on the landlord to ensure their home stands out to prospective renters. And even in busier market conditions, it pays dividends to make your home a true contender for top quality renters.
For most properties, it’ll only take a few minor improvements to achieve a lot more interest. Here are six ways to make your home stand out:
1) Clean and maintain the home
Do not have your property photographed and open to tenants until it is clean and ready for the critical eyes of its next occupants. Quality tenants are attracted to home that appear well-cared for as it lets them know you’re prepared to undertake maintenance and repairs. It also means you have set the standard you expect for when the tenant vacates. Consider a cleaner, including a carpet steam cleaner, to get the home into tip-top condition before you lease it out.
The Broken Windows theory introduced in the 1980s claims that if a building has a few broken windows that are not repaired, vandals tend to break more windows. They then may even break into the building, or even squat inside. Effectively, something small that is left untended to gives an impression to others. If you maintain the property, tenants will respect the property themselves. If you provide a dirty home, it may see tenants interested that will not be interested in maintaining a clean house.
Budget option: Some elbow grease, a power washer and a hired steam cleaner can get the job done.
2) Professional photographs
Once the home is clean and up-to-date, it’s time to show off how it looks. Some rental properties rely on sub-par images that most wouldn’t dream of using when it comes time to sell. This can make quality tenants look the other way by making a home appear darker, smaller and less attractive than it is in real life.
Your rental listings photos need to work for the property, not against it. Take a leaf out of the selling side of real estate and get proper photographs taken to show your property in its best light. This may include staging the home, depending on how upmarket the property is, and will often involve getting a professional photographer to take the shots.
Budget option: If you have recently bought the home, you can also opt to use the photographs used during the selling campaign if they represent the property accurately.
3) Price it well
Pricing a property well doesn’t always mean it will be “priced low”. Pricing a property too low may ensure your net is large enough to scoop up a big selection of applicants, but it may also result in the bycatch of tenants who can’t actually afford the area – or your future rental increases.
Instead, price to the market – no more, no less. You are looking to set the rent fairly, so you’re not putting off tenants who are savvy about what they should pay in your local area. Speak to your property manager about what similar homes are renting for and the future market movements.
Optional: You can consider offering ‘discount’ rent for the first week of tenancy, particularly if you’re at a difficult time of the year to achieve a tenant, such as the end of January.
4) Accurate, clear descriptions
Be transparent with your tenants in the description that you put in the advertisements. Include specific details about how many rooms there are, the features of the home and the rent cost.
If you accept pets or are willing to consider them, include that in the listing. If you don’t, make a mention of it to avoid unnecessary inquiries. This added information will allow tenants to quickly choose or avoid applying for your rental, allowing you to have the most interested people apply.
If there is a gardening service or regular pool cleaning included, note it down. Often, critical attractive points are left out of the advertisements to the detriment of the owner. This could include noting that the property is recently renovated, has upmarket appliances or is close to brand new. If it’s not immediately obvious, point it out.
If you’re intending to undertake minor renovations, such as changing the white goods, then do so before a new tenant looks at the home. This could make your property far more desirable and get you on their wish list before your neighbours’ home.
While tenants will usually opt for a new property first, well-renovated and well-kept homes come in a close second. Have a good look at what other homes are available for rent to ensure you’re not falling behind the pack.
Budget option: Cosmetic improvements can do wonders. This could include painting the walls, putting in some new lights or updating the cabinetry in the kitchen to something more modern.
6) Highlight lifestyle qualities
The best tenants will want to be in the property for some time and so will be interested to know about the area and local amenity. It’s worth including photographs of views, if you have an impressive outlook, and some details as to how far the property is from the shops, or public transport, to impress a new tenant.
This is particularly critical if the home happens to look further than it is from nearby amenity – encourage renters by showing them just how easy living in the area is. You could consider some information in your description about walking distances to nearby features.
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