Jennifer Norcliffe | Investment Manager, Harcourts Packham
When discussing marketing with my clients, I always have an honest conversation on how we can maximise the property’s exposure and attract a larger pool of tenants to the home. Getting this right up front drastically reduces your vacancy period and income loss while increasing the quality of tenants look to rent your investment.
A significant part of this is ensuring your property is set apart from the competition – not only in marketing, but in tenant appeal.
Here are my top ten tips on how you can add value and appeal to reduce your vacancy time, and best of all… they won’t hurt your wallet!
1. Professional Photography (and a floorplan while you’re at it)
While you may think of this as ‘just another cost’, great photography is a long term investment with a solid return.
No smart phone photo of a dim triangle section of a vacant bedroom will ever compare to a professional, wide lens image of the spacious master suite. It’s easy to see why rentals with professional photographs attract larger crowds at open inspections. These properties frequently generate prompt applications, create a sense of competition amongst eager tenants and can even generate higher rental offers!
2. Use an agent that keeps a tenant database
I hope that if you’re using an agent, they already do this… after all I don’t want to make things awkward for you.
If they’re not, you need to ask yourself; Is your Property Manager genuinely doing all they can to reduce your vacancy period and loss of income?
Personally, we keep a record of everyone that comes through an open inspection, calls or walks in to our office looking for a rental. This gives our clients the opportunity to lease their property off market, along with achieving premium rentals due to the rapport we build with these tenants.
It used to be foreign for a rental property to have street signage. Why would you? The question you should really be asking, is why wouldn’t you.
We know signage works. Across the world, whether it’s a billboard advertising the latest box office hit or a signboard stating a property is on the market, location advertising attracts interest from commuters at every opportunity. While main roads and lifestyle locations are the obvious favourites for signage, you never know who’s going to be taking a shortcut down your street… perhaps one of your neighbours is keeping an eye out for a friend. Whether you’re selling or leasing, don’t look past a great bit of street exposure.
Now on to the renovation side of things…
4. Replace your tapware
It’s not silly. Nobody likes touching those old plastic taps you have. A new set of chrome taps will set you back around $30-40, plus a little labour, and voila – instant facelift for your kitchen, bathroom and laundry spaces.
5. Upgrade handles
Another inexpensive and easy upgrade. Swap those old door and cupboard handles for something more modern. It’s not going to hurt your finances and it will give the impression of a cleaner, better kept home.
6. Replace those outdated light fittings
After a long day of work, fluorescent lights are nobody’s friend and those dated 70s pendants have certainly seen better days. Making a switch to some nice simple light fittings will make a world of difference to your property’s appeal and best of all, your tenants will love you for it!
7. Install ceiling fans
Nowadays its becoming more and more uncommon to find tenants willing to live without air-conditioning. So, if you don’t have refrigerated air conditioning throughout your property, be open to the idea of installing ceiling fans in the bedrooms and living area. Even if you’ve lived there before and survived it… we’re a bunch of new age softies.
8. Add storage
This is the second most common request I receive from prospective tenants (after air-conditioning) and it’s a strong reason they’ll pick another property over yours. Investing in built in wardrobes will be a huge plus and if you can add any storage space to your kitchen, do it!
9. Upgrade your blinds/curtains
So we’re working our way up the cost list but you don’t have to go all out here, just keep it simple and neutral. Avoid plastic venetians at every opportunity – they don’t age well and are a pain to clean. Instead go for timber venetians, roller blinds or some nice, block-out curtains.
10. Resurface your bathroom
If you’re considering a bathroom reno but don’t want the downtime, resurfacing is a much faster, cheaper option that will totally transform this space. Let’s face it, that bright pink bathroom isn’t doing anyone any favours yet a sleek, fresh bathroom resurface will add some incredible appeal at a fraction of the cost.