Attracting the best tenants for investment properties is an art – as is convincing them to stay as long as they, or you, desire.
To begin, you must ensure that your home appears to be in the best possible condition.
It should be spotless and mold-free, with decent floorboards, tiles, or a well-maintained carpet, and freshly painted walls.
And if it requires more, an upgrade should cost between $4000 and $5000, according to interior designer Wende Reid of Form and Colour.
“If the ceiling is high enough, you can tile over an existing floor, which eliminates the need to dig it up and lay a new membrane,” she explains.
“Then you can upgrade your kitchen or bathroom faucets; install a new shower screen or benchtop; and have cabinet doors painted and illuminated with attractive fixtures. This will immediately attract the attention of a good tenant and will almost certainly result in a higher rent.”
Second, you must attract prospective renters’ attention.
When the majority of them are browsing on their phones, there is simply no substitute for high-quality, professional images.
“You have a millisecond to capture their attention and sell your property,” says Stephen Fitzsimon, Melbourne Real Estate’s head of growth.
“So, your photographs should be high-quality, and your hero shot, the first image up, should depict what they’re looking for – the kitchen and living area – not the building’s exterior.”
“Video is also becoming increasingly important, particularly in COVID-19; not fancy sales videos, but a walk-through tour that demonstrates exactly how it works.”
Finally, once the best tenant is in place, it’s all about retaining them.
“At that point, the owner or their agent is responsible for maintaining the property and being extremely responsive to their needs,” explains Luke Bardsley of Sydney’s Green Square Management.
“If they complain about a dripping tap or a non-functioning extractor fan, for example, the owner either fixes it immediately or authorizes an agent to do so. We have some owners who want multiple quotes for work that will cost more than $300, while others simply want to ensure that everything is fixed.”
“If it is a strata issue, such as a defect, we will immediately enter the strata to rectify the situation. If you have a good tenant, you owe it to them to look after them, not to move the rent around excessively, and to show them you appreciate them.”
Fitzsimon also visits tenants on a regular basis and inquires about what they would do with the property if they owned it.
“That has proven to be extraordinarily successful,” he says.
“One expressed her dissatisfaction with people peering in through the lounge room window, so we installed a sheer blind in addition to the black-out one. Such a simple, inexpensive fix, but it ensured she felt at home and stayed much longer.”