The property landscape has been showing signs of recovery following the economic downtime caused by the coronavirus pandemic. While the rental market has been hit the hardest and rental rates are still down in most of the UK, investors are more hopeful compared to last year.
However, the market has arguably changed as the consumers have adapted to the new normal and their needs have changed. This is why landlords need to pivot their strategy to respond to these shifts and find new ways to attract tenants and stand out in a competitive niche. What’s desirable before may not be desirable now.
One thing you can do is make design improvements to your property without breaking the bank. Whether it’s a small inner-city flat, multi-family complex, or exclusive village home, here are design upgrades that will stand out in the new normal:
1. The home office
Whether it’s a cozy studio or expansive estate, it would need a home office to attract today’s tenants. Even though some companies are starting to reopen their offices, a big portion of the population will still be working from home for an indefinite period. What’s more, flexible work arrangements aren’t going anymore, given that companies have seen their cost-saving benefits. If you’re leasing a small space, convert a spare room or corner alcove into a home office, complete with a desk, comfy office chair, and accessories to make the space conducive for working.
2. Smart home features
If your property is in the mid-income range to high-end, smart home upgrades will increase the value of your property, allowing you to attract high-quality tenants. In fact, smart home usage has significantly increased during the pandemic as people spend more time indoors. Increase the value of your rental by installing smart plugs and appliances, smart thermostats, automated lights, and the like. A smart Wi-Fi doorbell or lock can also increase your property’s desirability.
3. Outdoor space
People have been struggling with cabin fever for quite some time, so they would put a premium on homes that let you breathe. Be it a small balcony, quaint patio, or decked-out backyard, nothing beats having a safe and private space to take in the sun and fresh air. It’s also a valuable feature for buyers with kids, so if you’re targeting that market, consider investing in the outdoor space. You don’t need to go all-out, it can be as simple as pulling out weeds, trimming the lawn, and installing a pergola for shade.
4. Energy efficiency upgrades
Small changes can make a huge difference to your property. One of the most important features a tenant would look for is the home’s energy efficiency. And rightfully so, because staying indoors for most of the day could mean higher utility bills. You can start with updating your bulbs into LEDs and hiring an AC maintenance service provider to make sure the unit is performing optimally. Installing smart thermostats and double-glazed windows are also proven energy-efficiency tricks.
5. A cozy family room
The extended quarantines have forced families to stay in one place for prolonged periods. This could be a welcome change for some, while for others, it could be chaotic, especially for homes with small family rooms. Attract big families by expanding the family room and updating it with plush multi-seater sofas, a chic fireplace and large smart TV, poufs and throws, a hand-knotted wool rug, and stylish accessories. A family room that’s well-designed creates that “wow” factor that many tenants look for.
6. Extra bathroom
Sharing the same bathroom with two or more people for months can be a big challenge, so an extra one is enough to make a tenant sign a lease. Plus, you can never go wrong with a bathroom makeover as it is one of the most popular value-adding upgrades in the world of real estate. Make it extra enticing with a free-standing tub, a rain shower head, updated fixtures, plenty of storage, and trendy planters and accessories.
7. Fitness room
One of the few silver linings of the pandemic is that more and more people are seeing the importance of staying fit and healthy. In fact, it has changed the way people eat. Parents working from home and teens doing distance learning alike will appreciate a fitness room complete with exercise equipment and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. If you don’t have the budget to buy training equipment, you can opt for a yoga or meditation room, instead.
To stand out in the rental property market, you need to keep abreast with trends and continue adapting to changing consumer needs and buying behaviors. Follow these tips and never deal with high vacancy rates again.