Identify your rental property’s target audience

Profile your target audience so you can gear your property towards their needs

When you draw up your property business plan, think about your target audience. Which type of tenant is your property likely to attract? Who would want to live in this location, with these nearby facilities (for example, transport, schools or parks), in a property of this size, style and layout?

It helps to profile your target audience so you can gear your property towards their needs. For instance, if you would like to let to a family but your property is a second- floor flat with no lift, the stairs will put off anyone with a buggy. It would be wiser to aim for young professionals and kit out the flat with simple, modern furniture. This will make your place stand out from similar properties nearby.

Knowing your market will also help you decide which upgrades to make (new kitchen or just a repaint?), as well as how to market and dress the property.

Plus, you will be more prepared for any problems common to your type of tenant. For example, you can educate young tenants from the start that they have to put rinse aid in the dishwasher instead of having to fix said dishwasher down the line.

Below is a (very generalised) list of tenant types and what they want.

Students

Needs:

  • Three+ bedrooms (even if small)
  • Opportunity to fit in many people to save costs
  • Walking distance or with good transport links to campus
  • In student area near shops and nightlife
  • Fully furnished, but cheap and easy to replace
  • All bills and broadband included
  • Secure bike storage is a big plus

Benefits:

  • Predictable tenant changeover at end of academic year
  • Students pay no council tax, so rent can be higher than for professionals
  • Parents often act as guarantors
  • Sometimes pay six months’ rent upfront

Watch out:

  • Parties, careless behaviour and mess
  • More wear and tear means higher maintenance costs
  • Need to educate them to look after a property
  • Turn lounges into bedrooms, making it harder to rent to non-students afterwards
  • You may need a licence for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
  • Your mortgage choices are limited

Newly-qualified professionals

Needs:

  • One+ bedroomsReasonable rent
  • No more than 10 minutes’ walk to good transport
  • Fully furnished (Ikea will do just fine)

Benefits:

  • Responsible

Watch out:

  • Often need to be educated on their responsibilities

Professional couple 25+

Needs:

  • One+ bedrooms
  • A smart property
  • No more than 10 minutes’ walk to good transport
  • Parking space
  • Up-to- date furniture but may want to buy their own

Benefits:

  • Sufficient income to cover the rent easily

Watch out:

  • Can be demanding with an entitlement mentality
  • Can be difficult to manage fallout if they split up
  • Usually don’t stay too long – often looking to buy

Professional single(s) 30+

Needs:

  • One+ bedrooms
  • A smart property
  • No more than 10 minutes’ walk to good transport
  • Parking space
  • Midrange furniture but they may have their own
  • Sharers want equal-sized bedrooms and two bathrooms
  • Privacy and security can be important
  • Outside space a nice-to- have

Benefits:

  • Can make the best tenants overall
  • Respectful and usually look after the property well

Watch out:

  • Partner moving in without consent
  • If letting to three or more sharers, you may need an HMO licence, which also limits mortgage choices

Families

Needs:

  • Two+ bedrooms
  • Garden
  • Good park nearby
  • Catchment area for good schools
  • Storage for buggies and scooters
  • No (or few) stairs to front door
  • Unfurnished as they usually have their own furniture
  • Parking space

Benefits:

  • Very stable; usually stay long term for schools

Watch out:

  • Young children or pets can cause damage

New to Britain

Needs:

  • Not particularly fussy about the property or location
  • Often need to move quickly
  • Need some flexibility on reference checks

Benefits:

  • Can be great tenants, often very respectful of the property
  • Can often move in at short notice

Watch out:

  • May fail reference checks due to a lack of UK credit history
  • Cultural differences may mean they overcrowd the property or don’t understand tenant responsibilities

Housing benefit

Needs:

  • Two+ bedrooms
  • May have own furniture to bring
  • Garden (if they have children)
  • Near local shop and well-run school

Benefits:

  • Can be lucrative for cheaper properties that still rent at the government rate for the whole area
  • Huge demand due to shortage of social rent properties
  • Families can be stable long-term tenants

Watch out:

  • Can default as benefit is paid to tenant, not landlord
  • Some can’t afford a deposit
  • Can cause more wear and tear
  • Can disappear overnight
  • Your mortgage choices are limited

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