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Investing in rental property: What do renters want?

09 April 2021

Plentiful options can make choosing an investment property confusing – particularly if you’re new to the game. To shed some light, we talked to an expert property manager to see what features investors often miss. Bernadette Coutis has a very clear idea. As a Property Management Executive at Ray White NSW, her 27 years’ experience has afforded her unique insight into what tenants want.

The first step is patience

Investing in rental property for beginners can be tough. Because inexperience can lead to uninformed purchases, Bernadette recommends doing some research. Investors should understand the areas where they’re considering buying, the types of tenants who are likely to be interested in living there, as well as the ideal type of tenant for them. Then they should consider the property features that will attract these tenants.

By working out your ideal renters and investing in a house that appeals to them, Bernadette believes you’ll have a better chance of being happy with your investment over the long term.

What to be wary of in older homes

Older homes can be more budget-friendly and often charming, but they can present unique problems.

Bernadette says that houses without modern air-conditiong will get quickly passed over. “In this day and age, air-conditioning is a must-have,” she says. “We’ve reached a point where it’s no longer treated as a luxury, this is something renters will look for.”

Storage is also a necessity for many renters, particularly growing families.

“Built-in and walk-in robes are becoming standard in many properties,” she says. “No one has wardrobes anymore and people need storage for linens, seasonal items, sports equipment and whatever else they might have lying around.”

These rooms lease properties

Kitchens and bathrooms are important for any house, but Bernadette believes they’re focal points for renters. In fact, she says good examples can single-handedly sign leases.

If you find an otherwise attractive property doesn’t have a modern bath or kitchen, the cost of full renovations can intimidate. An aging bathroom may only be old on the surface, however.

Bernadette suggests a much more wallet-friendly option for rooms with otherwise excellent fixtures. “You don’t have to gut an aging kitchen or a bathroom to prepare it for new tenants. You can often do more minor renovations. Sometimes just replacing cupboard doors or a benchtop can be really beneficial.”

Similarly, Bernadette says tired interiors can be quickly revitalised with a fresh coat of paint. “It brightens and freshens everything up. Neutral colours are a good idea as well – gone are the days of crazy colours and feature walls. Tenants need to know that their furniture and artwork will fit in without issue.”

Don’t forget about parking

Parking is vital for many renters, particularly when they’re living further away from city hubs. Bernadette believes the days of single car families are gone.

“Most households rarely have one car now,” she says. “If you’ll be renting to a couple or a family, consider something to get both cars off the street.”

She also notes that renters are looking for added security. “While any parking is good, undercover parking, whether it be carport or garage, is always preferable.”

Learn what families need

If you’re hoping to rent to a family, Bernadette suggests investors can get caught up in big-picture thinking. School catchments may be top-of-mind to some, but she suggests this can force trade-offs with other important features.

“For families with young children, safety is usually paramount.” Bernadette suggests that when buying rental property, investors should look for fully fenced homes away from main roads.

Bernadette also suggests that renting families prefer low-maintenance options. “People love hard floors in living areas,” she says. “When you’ve got children or pets, wood flooring and tiles are a great carefree option.”

It’s important to get your financing right, too

Whether you’re a seasoned or first-time property investor, a Suncorp Bank home lending expert can help you better understand your financing options. All consultations are 100% obligation-free.

Talk to a home lending specialist

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