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Property features to command a rent premium

POSTED: 1st June 2015
IN: Landlord helpful guides
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Which property features are likely to increase potential rental yields for buy to let investors?

undefinedEven for seasoned landlords, comparing potential rental yields on buy to let investments is a complicated task, and rules that hold true for one type of property or given location may not apply for another, even if the cases appear similar.

However, while there aren’t any fool-proof criteria for landlords to follow, there are a number of key features that often command a rent premium, offering investors an indication of possible returns.

Location

It goes without saying that location is a crucial factor for buy to let investments, and online portal Rentonomy, which matches tenants with London property zones based on their living preferences, has identified several points which have a notable impact on rental prices.

According to the site’s findings, properties within half a kilometre of a park command £400 more in rent per week, on average, than those without access to nearby green spaces. Similarly, proximity to the best-performing London schools causes local rents to increase by around 30 per cent compared to areas where schools fared poorly.

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Estate agent Savills also offers illuminating evidence on the importance of location within the capital, stating that landlords can charge 20 per cent more on average for homes within a five minute walk of a tube station. Equally, The Telegraph reports parking spaces in Mayfair are currently sell for up to £90,000, so properties which come with their own parking facilities are also likely to attract higher rents.

Key Features

What matters most to renters will vary greatly depending on their lifestyle and tastes, so it’s important for landlords to identify which type of tenant they are targeting, from students and young professionals to families and mature tenants.

Estate agents Greene and Co. has produced a guide on simple ways to boost rental yields, suggesting several household electrical devices that can represent a sound investment:

“Additional appliances such as a dishwasher and tumble dryer can be useful selling points to help differentiate your property and increase its perceived value. In fact, the increase in rent that additional appliances may command is likely to be significantly higher than their cost over the course of a couple of years.”

The property experts offer another useful tip, reporting:

“Fitting a new showerhead is often a good idea. This can often make the water pressure appear much more powerful at very little cost.”

Replacing old appliances or installing improved insulation to push the property into a higher Energy Performance Certificate band could also increase rental values, showing tenants they are likely to save on energy costs in the long run.

Refurbishment

While there is scope to increase rental yields through refurbishment, it’s vital for landlords to calculate a realistic estimate of how much the initial investment will cost and how long it will take to recoup this outlay through additional rent. If this calculation suggests renovations are likely to offer a positive return within the desired timescale, bridging finance could be a viable option to cover short-run costs.

Will Brindley, Lettings Manager at Kinleigh, Folkard and Hayward, offers a word of advice for buy to let investors looking to refurbish a property, commenting:

“I think it’s important to advise landlords of the distinction between upgrading and maintaining a property. Maintenance alone does not add value. Renovation works however, to modernise a property, do increase market value by around ten per cent, but the timeframe in which the outlay is recouped is typically three to four years and this should be factored in to the calculation regarding the level, and cost, of work.”

That said, it’s important not to forget minor finishing touches, from repainting rooms and replacing scratched door handles to trimming hedges and re-laying discoloured shower sealant, as these low-cost factors still shape a property’s overall appearance.

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