Investment property owners and rental providers often have enough to think about without having time to consider how their properties could be performing better. But this is (of course) a number one concern for most of our clients.
With more than 28 years’ experience in the Melbourne property market our team of Property Managers and Interior Designers have put together some basic tips that every investor should consider, whether you’re on the hunt for your first investment property or looking for ways to increase the appeal of your current rental.
You need to begin by understanding your target market, that is the demographic of renters that your property is attracting (and who you’d like to attract). A great property manager can help you understand who will typically be interested in your property and what your ideal occupant is looking for in a new home. They may also offer feedback from prospective tenants and put forward suggestions for improvements over time to keep your property appealing and in tip top shape.
This is your investment, but you are not living here (even if you used to). Be objective and spend your money wisely. If you struggle with this, seek advice. Focus on what your ideal renter is looking for and how you can make the best of your properties’ features. Set a budget, plan your renovation and add a contingency amount of 10-15% just in case. Focus on addressing any maintenance issues that have arisen or are likely to arise and spend on items that will improve appeal and therefore increase your return.
Perhaps you’ve got great DIY skills or you’re keen to give it a go. But be mindful, time is money. Only undertake improvements if you’re confident you can complete them on time and to a high standard, otherwise you risk a longer than hoped for property vacancy. Leasing can be affected by seasonal factors and you could miss a window of opportunity. Engage a professional tradesperson for efficiency and quality and always use a licensed & insured person for electrical and gas works. Dodgy DIY is an insurance risk and poses a safety risk to your new renter.
Look for creative ways to improve your property’s appeal on Pinterest and Instagram, particularly for multi-use spaces as our homes get smaller and more urban. Also consider the post-Covid trend for working from home. Could your hallway host a hidden desk with built in lighting and storage. If your property doesn’t have a dining space, how about incorporating a built-in dining table in the kitchen. Also consider the likely placement of furniture and appliances, do your plans include space for large couches and large fridges? Some renters simply won’t go for a property if it means kissing goodbye to their favourite comfort item. Make the most of the floorplan, repurpose unused spaces and look for ways to fix any major flaws.
White walls, white ceiling, white tiles and a white kitchen? It’s important to stick to neutral colours when renovating for mass appeal. Renters are diverse and so is their furniture – blue couches and black dining tables all work in a neutral space. But white on white is OTT and can make a space feel stark and cold. A cool neutral such as Taubman’s ‘Solitude’ or warm neutral like Dulux ‘Feather Soft’ can add just a touch of colour to an otherwise boring space. You’re not limited to paint either, one of the long-term kitchen trends are for neutral cabinets. Mid to light timber tones and neutral carpets are preferred by most renters. Neutrals can also be better than white for hiding the occasional mark or normal wear. Add interest with texture or pattern rather than bold colours.
Just like you, renters want to be comfortable at home. Warm in winter, cool in summer. Private and safe. How can you provide this appeal? Install appropriate heating and cooling, ensure windows and doors are maintained and sealing correctly. Install good quality window furnishings that provide both privacy and sun block out such as double roller blinds, or block out blinds with sheer curtains. You could also apply frosted window film to deflect from unsightly views to a driveway or imposing neighbour. Trees and landscaping are also a great tool for creating privacy and shading hot zones.
More renters are now looking for properties with efficient appliances, water saving devices, LED lighting conversion and other environmentally friendly measures such as solar panels. Some states and territories are providing rebates for property owners who are using green options when upgrading and these are worth exploring. Often these options are better for your renter’s hip pocket as well and could encourage a longer occupancy.
Think of the long term. Invest in lighting, plumbing fixtures and appliances that are good quality, to avoid recurring maintenance woes. Select surfaces that are easy to clean or maintain as well as durable. Avoid polypropylene carpet and go for solution dyed nylon with quality underlay instead – more plush, hardwearing and stain resistant. Hybrid flooring is another great option for the popular timber look but with water and scratch resistance. Short term trends may date quickly, but stylish design does not. Reflecting a property’s heritage features in a sensitive but more contemporary way won’t detract from its style or devalue it. A good plumber or electrician can provide advice at the planning stages if the behind the scenes elements are going to require upgrading such as additional or dedicated circuits for new appliances.
If you’re looking for more specific advice on what to look for in an investment property, or how you can update the appeal of your current rental, please get in touch with the team at Etica today or book in a free consultation.
Our Interior Design team will deliver a solution that supports your current and future objectives whilst remaining within budget and working to your time frame. We provide you with clarity, confidence and creativity as we walk you through each step of the process for an easy and enjoyable experience.