Recently, we wrote an article about the benefits of building a new rental property versus buying an existing home to rent. One of the benefits we mentioned is your ability to have more control over the house to maximize its renting potential. But what are the characteristics that make renters jump at the chance to sign a lease for a particular home? In this piece, we’re going to look at a few ways to make your build-to-rent house attractive to renters.
While the appeal of building a home in a nicer location can go without saying, it bears repeating. Many aspiring landlords may balk at the prices of land and homes in nicer areas, instead opting to buy or build in more affordable areas. The motivation here may be to save money or they believe they may catch the swelling wave of gentrification in the area. There’s certainly no harm in saving money, but there are significant advantages to building your rent house in a nicer neighborhood.
- Future property value. It can be easy to forget that, in addition to the profit on the rent you collect every month, another profit source is your equity in a place with a rising value. A nicer neighborhood may seem to be a little bit less exciting of an investment, but it will be much less of a risk.
- Property and tenant safety. If your build-to-rent house is located in a better area, this will reduce the risk of harm to your tenants as well as your property. Rough neighborhoods may contain vandals, thieves, and other undesirable sorts that may do more than bring down the property value.
It may seem like we just spoke about this, but the location is not always synonymous with the neighborhood — more specifically, the people.
- Meet the neighbors. If you’re shopping for neighborhoods in which to build, it pays to meet the neighbors. There’s no harm in knocking on a few doors, saying you’re considering building a house in the area, and asking a few questions about how they like the area. Also, being able to tell potential tenants that you’ve met the neighbors goes a long way in establishing their trust.
- Favor neighborhoods where most residents own their homes. While you’re meeting the neighbors, ask them if they own their homes or if they are renting. You will want to build your rental house with predominantly homeowners. Not only will living among homeowners add a feeling of prestige for your tenants, but homeowners are known to take better care of their homes and yards. Even more than this, homeowners are more apt to keep you informed of any issues with one of your tenants more so than a fellow tenant would. Keeping out any riff-raff is in their own best interest as a homeowner in the neighborhood.
There are a handful of details that renters like to see when looking for new homes to lease.
- The 3/2 Rule. There’s no real science to back it up, but you’ll want to build a house that is at least a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home. Though renters are undoubtedly open to renting smaller homes, homes with at least two bathrooms and three bedrooms open up the tenant pool considerably. Most of the management of your build-to-rent home is tenant-centric rather than house-centric. Since the size of the house is irrelevant to these tenant issues, you might as well maximize your earning potential while minimizing your time managing said property.
- Go big on quality — it will pay for itself in the long run. If you’re considering filling your build-to-rent with cheaper materials and possibly used appliances as a means of saving money, don’t. Any up-front savings you were hoping to achieve will be swallowed up in maintaining these substandard elements. While a used dishwasher may seem acceptable, a brand new one won’t be considerably more and is much less likely to break down. A faux-granite countertop may save you some cash upon installation but will appear worn and dingy in a matter of years. A real granite countertop will hold up much better and increase the perceived value of the space for future tenants.
- Keep rooms neutral and multifunctional. When showing your build-to-rent house to potential tenants, they need to be able to see themselves fitting into what they see. If one space can only be used as a dining room and they don’t entertain, it will be seen as wasted space. When designing the home, aim to keep the various rooms and living spaces multifunctional. Also, choose paint colors that soothe instead of pop. Various tans, grays, and other colors that don’t easily show dirt are recommended. Also, like the point above, opt for a high-quality paint — unless you plan on repainting the home between every tenant.
For additional help, consult the home construction experts at Perry Hood Properties in Tulsa, Oklahoma.