These past two years have taught us a how quickly things can change- particularly in the in the rental market, and therefore how you need to be able to react to changes to reduce the possibility of voids.
As a landlord myself, these last two years have really highlighted the changes in what my tenants or, in reality, my customers want. However, if you are starting out on your landlord journey and are considering what type of property to buy for an investment, you must take into consideration how the pandemic has changed what is important to your customer in order to reduce voids. Get that right and you are on the first step.
Have a think
When we add to our portfolio we always consider who will be living there and match their needs to what the home will offer. Be aware that what you think is popular in a home may, be totally different to what your prospective tenants think is great. Even down to the decoration you choose – hint here, magnolia is a big no no.
Voids will always affect overall profitability of your portfolio. This is another reason for making sure that your offering is what is required by your customer. What sometimes get missed in the mix is how you market the benefits that match your customers needs.
Tenant demands have become quite focused over the last two years. So to help here are 4 tips that can help you reduce voids and more importantly what you must highlight in any marketing materials.
If anything, this became the issue that needed to be fixed for so many people during the pandemic. Due to the various lock downs and the acceptance that working from home has now become the norm, space for living and working at home heightened the demand for 3 bedroom homes. We definitely saw a move away from studio apartments!
The 3rd bedroom became the new home office. This matched with the availability of good broadband was a benefit that we made sure was highlighted in any marketing material. Where these were in place we saw an increase of £100 per month in the average rental value.
Another consideration is to build an outside office in the garden if space allows. Again the main thing you need to be aware of is the availability of good broadband- just make sure the connection can reach the office.
They say that the UK is a nation of pet lovers and the number of pet owners over the pandemic has reached an all time high. So it constantly surprises me that a majority of landlords we work with strongly dislike allowing pets into their properties. However, I do understand if you have been bitten (pardon the pun) by a dog that has peed on the carpet and you were left with the cost of replacing the carpet .
Since the tenant fee ban, it is unlawful to take an additional ‘pet deposit’. Therefore, the only insurance you have is to charge extra for the rental. Most people understand this, given the lack of available pet friendly properties. You just need to make sure that you show this cost in any advertising. But the best insurance is to make sure that your prospective tenant is a good pet owner. Spoiler alert – there are no bad pets just bad owners! Asking for chip details and a reference from their vet is a good start.
Tenants are not only searching for more space inside, they’re also prioritising properties near outdoor areas. Given the summer we had during the first lock down the access to an outside space became super important. If your property is near a park, fields or a wood, make sure that you highlight this in any marketing, and definitely bring this up during a viewing.
During the various lockdowns, a number of people saw the benefit of moving out into more rural areas. Now that company’s are encouraging their staff to come into the office, all be it on an ad hoc basis, people are now looking for easy ways to get to the office. Transport links to work have always been a plus point for any investment property. Always look out for opportunities in the villages along the Guided Bus as they are always going to attract more people than those without this link. For links to London, look for properties near Huntingdon, St Neots and Cambridge stations.
There are a lot of considerations that come with purchasing a buy-to-let property, but having an idea of what tenants are looking for is arguably one of the most important. When it comes down to it, tenants are what make your rental property a success, so knowing what could be the difference between renting out your buy-to-let and void periods is crucial.
Need some help in want to buy or how best to advertise what you have . Give Maxine a call on 01480 494939.