Whether you’re new to owning an investment property in Darwin, or you’ve got a few properties scattered around the city, knowing how to make your property tenant-friendly can make or break the potential of your investment.
As an investor, there are three major issues that can reduce the profit on your investment. These being:
- Downtime and vacancy periods between tenants
- Paying on time, and unpaid rent or rent being paid late
Having quality tenants in your investment property can reduce two of the above mentioned costs significantly. Generally, good tenants pay their rent on time, look after the property as if it were their own and they stay long-term.
However, finding good quality tenants can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. It always pays to be mindful that attracting and keeping quality tenants is a two-way street. If issues arise and aren’t tended to in a timely manner, even the best tenants can attempt to refuse to pay rent, or even leave, which may result in tenancy turnover.
However, there are ways in which you can avoid tenancy turnover and extended periods of time where your investment property doesn’t earn you any money. Below are our top 5 tips to help make your investment property tenant friendly.
Be mindful of presentation and cleanliness
It might seem like we’re stating the obvious here, but presentation really matters. Many renters nowadays will spend several weeks or months searching for the right rental property for them online and inspecting them in person, so ensuring that your property’s first impression is positive is absolutely detrimental.
Even simple measures such as ensuring the property is freshly cleaned (including carpet steaming if necessary) prior to any viewings will help in ensuring that your property is leased quickly.
The power of a fresh coat of paint should never be underestimated, especially when it comes to properties that may be on the more tired side. Stick to using neutral colours such as whites and creams to ensure that they will be suited to all tenants tastes and won’t require regular repainting over the years.
Quality Fittings and Fixtures
As a property investor, your aim is to appeal to tenants, particularly those seeking a space that is comfortable, low maintenance and good value for money. Therefore, it’s likely that quality tenants will apply for properties that have high quality fittings and fixtures, such as stainless steel in the kitchen and bathrooms.
This tip seems to be one of the most overlooked practices when it comes to making your investment property tenant friendly. Rather than using your own phone-quality images, investing in professional real estate photography to showcase your property will instantly increase its desirability. When potential tenants are looking at properties online, it comes with little surprise that properties with clear, professional photos always catch the eye. Using professional images gives renters the impression that the property, like the photos, is of a high quality. Plus, as a bonus, you can always reuse the photos too.
The key to attracting the right tenant for your property is to remember who your target audience is. For example, a property with an overgrown garden and peeling paint isn’t going to attract a house proud and pay-on-time kind of person. A good question to ask yourself when you’re preparing your investment property for lease is “would I live here with my family?”. If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to that question, then it may be time that you put in place a longer-term plan regarding updating the property.
Address common concerns promptly
One of the most common reasons why tenants vacate a property is the property itself. For example, let’s imagine that the stove elements are broken or the hot water tap frequently runs cold after a couple of minutes and it takes you a few weeks to get around to organising repairs. If this were the case, chances are that you’d probably have a fairly high tenant turnaround.
There are few things more frustrating to renters than having unaddressed maintenance issues. Rather, you want to show your tenants that you care and that you want to give them a nice, comfortable place to live.
How you address common concerns and maintenance issues can be a big deciding factor for your tenants when it comes to lease renewal, so it’s important that you remain on top of these requests at all times.
Consider what amenities your ideal tenant might want
For many renters, lifestyle quality is a major factor when it comes to choosing a property to lease. While you may own the property, your tenant/s should be able to consider it their home.
Thankfully, there are many ways in which you can help promote a more tailored home lifestyle. In doing so, you may even find that your tenants feel encouraged to stay longer. Therefore, it’s important to know what factors your ideal tenants are looking for in a rental property.
For many renters, air conditioning is considered a crucial feature, and can quite often be the deciding factor between similar properties (this is especially true for renters in the Top End, so air conditioning really is a must for investment property owners in Darwin!).
While installing an air conditioning unit may seem like a hefty investment at the time, a good quality unit should last several years; making the initial expense worthwhile when compared with years of consistent rental income.
Similar to air conditioning, the inclusion of a dishwasher in investment properties is becoming a must-have amenity. Again, likewise with the air conditioning, the original investment for a dishwasher will be offset by the premium prices that can be charged for having this feature.
Consider offering longer leases
With downtime and vacancy between tenants being one of the most common issues that can reduce profit on your investment property, offering longer leases seems kind of like a no-brainer.
Remember, your goal is to want to make tenants feel as if your investment property is their home. Stability is key. By offering longer leases, you reduce your vacancy times. A win-win for both parties.
Be human and engage with a good agent
While engaging in investment properties is a financial transaction, allowing your tenant to feel that their landlord cares goes a long way in creating landlord/tenancy loyalty.
Likewise, the advice and professionalism of a good quality property manager can be absolutely invaluable. If you’re time poor, or are unsure on what to look for in an ideal tenant, it’s worth doing some research and engaging in a reputable property manager. They will ensure that you have reliable tenants that maintain your property and increase your chances of consistent rental income.
If you’re looking for a Property Manager to take the stress out of managing your investment property, who will provide the highest level of tenant screening, get in touch with our Property Management team today – we’d love to help!