Waterfords investigate what to look for when investing in the emerging ‘Build-to-Rent’ sector. Happy residents stay in situ longer meaning not as many lengthy vacant periods in their portfolio, leaving investors happy with their decision. So Waterfords asks, what makes a tenant happy?
Households in the private rental sector stay an average of 4.3 years according to the latest English Housing Survey for 2015/16. But what might persuade a tenant to stay longer? Institutional investors are keen to enter the Private Rental Sector and, with little existing stock available, a new Build-to-Rent sector is emerging in the UK – homes purpose-built for rent rather than sale. Investors need to know what will attract tenants to their buildings.
A recent panel discussion at MIPIM – the property industry’s annual conference in Cannes –concluded that ‘happy residents are at the heart of any successful scheme’. Research for one panel member found external green space is the number one priority for residents.
Investors need to understand the rental premium for a concierge, a courtyard garden, shared workspaces, gym, barbeque areas, allotment boxes and community events.
Amenity space is not always a given in Build to Rent. It has to have a purpose, a compelling reason for people to use it. US Build to Rent tends to offer amenities but in Scandinavia and Germany it is unusual – the focus instead is on ‘well-run buildings, in good locations’. And key is that the property manager should talk the language of customer service where the customer is king. ‘What keeps people in buildings is good service.’
That’s why Waterfords has a dedicated Property Management team and Customer Contact Centre, meaning knowledgeable staff are available for longer hours and a tenant’s call rarely goes unanswered. Head of Property Management, Helen Boyman, comments:
“We understand that in order to keep our Landlords happy, the tenant must be pleased with the service provided by an agent’s property management team, otherwise they will move much more quickly than the average of 4.3 years. This in turn leads to gaps of unpaid rent in an investor’s portfolio, a less than ideal situation. We also understand that a property investment needs to be let quickly in order for the Landlord to achieve the maximum possible return on investment.
Waterfords recently sold all apartments at the Wessex House development in Camberley Town Centre to Landlord investors. Our Camberley Lettings team then went on to secure tenants for 78% of these properties in under two weeks! This is testament to the fact that customer service is the top priority at Waterfords.”
With tenant demand up and a continued shortage of housing in both the lettings and residential sales sector, now is an opportune time to let your home with your multi-award-winning local estate agent. If you are not thinking of letting, we are still happy to offer a no obligation market appraisal or simply provide advice on local property market conditions and mortgage options.
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