Yet it’s not just rising house prices that are causing this paradigm shift. Young professionals, who make up the largest proportion of private renters in the UK, are now used to the ease and flexibility of renting. They like that they can move every six months for the next big break, have no responsibility for maintenance or repairs and more often than not these days, also enjoy contemporary and fully fitted amenities.
As more landlords look for ways to attract these great tenants, expectations are, and rightly so, on the rise. With many 25 to 34-year-olds choosing to combine the flexibility of renting with the affordable and social benefits of sharing in HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation), landlords need to sell more than just the physical features of the properties to stay ahead of the competition.
As our landlords in the Platinum Property Partners’ network know all too well, it’s now about selling the dream.
Who are you selling to?
It’s really important to understand what types of tenants you are trying to attract and the first place to look is at the demographics of your existing tenants.
Ideally, you need to create a buyer persona for your perfect tenant.
What life stage are they at and what are their hopes for the future; what do they do for a job and where do they work; how do they spend their free time and what are their hobbies?
You also need to consider their true motivations for renting. While affordability is a critical factor, our research also shows that tenants are looking for much more than just a roof over their heads and high-speed Wi-Fi. They value the social aspect of living with others, as well as the flexibility and convenience.
This is why you need to work harder to attract the right tenants and show them how, by living in your properties, you can help them achieve the lifestyle they want.
Where can you find these tenants and how can your property appeal to them?
In a digital and commoditised age where news is available 24/7, adverts are seen every two minutes and a large proportion of peoples’ free time is spent on social media, Generation Y are more than familiar with being bombarded with multiple messages. As a result, they know what they want and won’t spend too much time finding it, so when it comes to finding somewhere to live, landlords need to be where their tenants are and ensure their property stands out among thousands of others for all of the right reasons.
Landlords need to interrupt the thoughts of a prospective tenant with eye-catching visuals and carefully crafted copy that paints a picture of what it will be like to live in that property.
Here are some of our top suggestions:
Research from Upad* revealed that 84% of tenants want to meet their landlord before moving in and 22% would prefer to see more detail in property adverts to enable them to shortlist more effectively and save time asking additional questions and attending viewings.
Why not kill two birds with one stone and create a virtual tour of the property and post it on social media as well as your adverts? This way, you’ll be introducing yourself and other tenants while showcasing the property in a true light?
Be creative with your imagery
Try incorporating props to appeal to your target audiences’ imagination and lifestyle aspirations. If you know most of your tenants love to travel, put a map on the wall; if they are fitness buffs, place a gym bag and shoes in the hallway; if they are game masters, hone in on the Play Station controller; if they are dinner party entertainers, put a bottle of wine and maybe even some board games on the dining room table.
Provide the right information in the right way
Try swapping your standard ‘Double room in Southampton’ type descriptions for some more relevant language.
Don’t just tell them how close the transport links or local amenities are or what furniture and bills are included. Adopt their tone of voice and appeal to their motivations.
You might want to explain how the local pub is within walking distance and hosts a steak night every Thursday evening; that the other tenants like to go jogging together in the local park. Or, that the bright and airy room has lots of hidden storage and there’s a BBQ for summer.
If you understand your tenants, learn how to think like them and know where to find them, you’ll soon find you have a waiting list of people hoping to live the dream in your properties.