As a letting agent, it will help your cause if you know what tenants want, as you can then offer advice to your landlords on where they might want to be focusing their attentions when sourcing new tenants – or trying to keep existing ones in place.
Research by lettings agency Carter Jonas revealed what the company calls the top priorities for tenants as the 2020s begin.
The survey – which was taken at the end of 2019 – only spoke to 300 renters, but Carter Jonas shared the findings with trade publication Letting Agent Today.
High-speed broadband was outlined as the most in-demand ‘essential’ for a rental property, even more so than a modern kitchen or bathroom. That said, when ranked on what tenants would be prepared to pay more for, newly-refurbished kitchens and bathrooms came out on top.
The research looked at essentials for renters of apartments and houses. For apartment renters, the top three essentials were high-speed broadband, a modern kitchen/bathroom and allocated parking. For house tenants, high-speed broadband also came out on top, followed by off-street parking and a modern kitchen/bathroom.
The three least important features for apartment renters, meanwhile, were revealed to be outside space, blackout blinds/curtains, and a property alarm, while the least important essentials for house tenants were fitted wardrobes, blackout blinds/curtains and a property alarm.
The survey also asked tenants to list features it would be willing to pay a premium for. For flat tenants, the top three features worth paying more for were a newly refurbished kitchen and bathroom, outside space and allocated parking, while house tenants said they would pay extra for a newly refurbished kitchen and bathroom, a more energy efficient property and a garage.
The three features flat tenants were least willing to pay for were communal leisure amenities, workspace and a concierge service, while the three features house tenants were least willing to pay more for were air conditioning, a property alarm and a media/family room.
Although the sample size here was only small, the results weren’t unexpected – and are in broadly line with what most research tells us about tenants’ priorities. With the work from home boom, the huge importance of the internet in people’s daily lives, and more recent habits such as online shopping, Netflix bingeing and online banking, it’s really no great surprise that high-speed broadband is so cherished by so many.
It’s now seen as a necessity, and a human right, by many, rather than a luxury nice to have. We looked before at whether broadband should now be classified as the fourth utility, and there are growing calls to give it parity with water, gas and electricity given its importance to the modern world.
Nearly all tenants are likely to have it as one of their main demands, and you may wish to advise landlords to provide move-in packages which means their broadband is installed already when they move in. You should also reiterate to them the importance of fast broadband speeds when it comes to attracting tenants, taking steps where necessary to improve this.
We also know that modern kitchens and bathrooms will have far more appeal than old-fashioned ones, with carpets, dodgy 1980s décor and mere functionality no longer welcomed by tenants.
Equally, parking – off-street or allocated – is a massive selling point for many tenants, especially in towns and cities where spaces tend to be at a premium. If your landlords can offer this, they could very well be onto a winner with tenants.
More practical elements such as property alarms, blackout blinds and fitted wardrobes are likely to be less important to tenants, but having them in place won’t necessarily be off-putting. The research found that they weren’t that important, not that they were turn-offs.
While every tenant has their own individual preferences and desires, what they will all be after is a clean, warm, habitable home. If landlords offer that, for competitive rental prices, they should have little problem in occupying their homes and generating decent rental yields.
There are a number of broad elements that are likely to prove popular across the board – a good, fast and reliable internet connection, modern touches, parking provision – but some of these could be out of your control as an agent. The home could, for example, be in a WiFi blackspot, be a period property or lack parking spaces.
But, on a basic level, if a home is welcoming, attractive and maintained to a high standard throughout, it will appeal to tenants even if some of their top priorities aren’t necessarily met.
To improve your business and increase the number of landlords and tenants in your client base, you need a smooth and secure software system to allow your agency to function and flourish.
Here at Gnomen, our all-in-one agency software enables you to manage all aspects of your business, at the click of a button, from anywhere in the world. Our unique customer portals allow you to offer 24/7 customer service, keeping tenants and landlords alike happy.
Tenants can receive SMS and email property alerts, as well as booking real-time property appointments and viewings. Offers on properties can also be made in real time.
Additionally, the tenant portal allows you to automate tenant management, simplifying the tenant sign-up process, allowing them to report repairs online, and providing a place to pay rent and view invoices and account statements.
The landlord portal, meanwhile, means your landlords can streamline property management with live accounts and updates, with a central place for statements and invoices and inspection reports. It’s also a great place for document sharing and more.
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