Learn what tenants want out of their rental homes.

How can your rental property stand out from the crowd?

While residential property investment can be a terrific source of income, no one ever said it was particularly easy. While simply achieving home ownership is still a goal for many Australians, building up a portfolio of rental homes to generate revenue or as a retirement plan is relatively commonplace nowadays.

With that volume of activity in the investment property arena, competition between owners can be understandably fierce. Along with that challenge, recent figures from CoreLogic RP Data show that rental price growth in 2015 hit just 0.3 per cent, the lowest annual increase on record. 

Half of all Australian households have at least one pet. Half of all Australian households have at least one pet.

An apparently flat rental market can make things tough for you, the property investor. With that in mind, when you engage a buyer's agent to find your next real estate purchase, there are some features that can help make your houses irresistible to potential tenants. 

What are renters looking for?

A recent study from Optus and McCrindle questioned renters in Australia about their general attitude towards their particular living circumstances, and narrowed down the five most desirable features in a rental home. Coming in at the top of the list were availability of parking and finding a property that allows pets, traditional aspects that have been of concern to tenants for decades. 

Where it's clear things are changing, however, is at the third, fourth and fifth spots on the ladder. Cable internet, effective mobile phone and data reception and a large number of power points round out the top five, indicating that, in today's tech-obsessed age, having access to everything our multitude of devices need can be a deciding factor when moving to a new rental property.

There are steps you can take to better meet the needs of your potential tenants.

How can my rental properties adapt?

Whether you are speaking to your buyer's agent about new investment opportunities or considering ways in which you can give your current portfolio a refresh, there are steps you can take to better meet the needs of your potential tenants. 

For example, Roy Morgan research shows that 50 per cent of Australia households have at least one pet. Allowing yourself or your investment property manager the flexibility to take on new tenants with pets, dogs in particular, can give your rental home an advantage over otherwise comparable properties. 

Meanwhile, addressing the increased focus on internet connectivity can start before you purchase your next investment property. Targeting your search towards houses in areas where the National Broadband Network (nbn) has already rolled out can pay off when it comes time to rent your new asset out.

If you already own one or more rental properties, the nbn website has plenty of information about current availability and future rollout plans, so be sure to stay on top of the status of the new system as it pertains to your assets.

Access to modern, high-speed internet is a desirable feature for tenants. Access to modern, high-speed internet is a desirable feature for tenants.

Keeping your tenants happy

Research has shown that this handful of features can help with securing new tenants for your rental homes, but one of the secrets of maximising a consistent income from investment property is keeping your current tenants happy. While greater flexibility around pets or the addition or improvement of any of the above amenities is great, there's more to being a landlord than that.

Maintaining a good relationship with your tenants means being available to deal with inquiries and issues. It can add up to a lot of responsibility, so if you find yourself struggling to address concerns it could be time to bring in the services of an investment property manager. 

At Cohen Handler, we have a full suite of property buying and management services, with buyer's agents located in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Ensure your investment properties and tenants are well taken care of – speak to Cohen Handler today.

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