Money Tree Image1When buying a property to rent out for investment purposes, do you follow your gut, head or heart? According to Benjamin Kingsley, chair of Property Investment Professionals of Australia, you can consider all of these as long as the renter’s perspective holds the greatest sway.

 “Investors might get seduced by an inferior property, because they are thinking about picking up a bargain instead of buying a good investment that a tenant actually wants to rent,” he says.

 Kingsley urges investors to always think about their target market and purchase properties with features that renters demand.

Location

Always opt to buy property close to the amenities your target demographic needs, such as public transport and shopping centres.

Schools are a major drawcard. Kingsley says it’s now common for families to rent a property in a specific school zone to get their child into a good school. So if you want a family with school-aged children to rent your investment, buy a property near a school with a good NAPLAN score. Domain’s School Zone feature is a great tool to see what catchment zone a property falls into.

Sufficient indoor-outdoor space

Choose a property with an outdoor area offering an al fresco living experience or an additional area for kids to play. But, Kingsley advises, ensure any gardens falling within the responsibility of the tenant are low maintenance.

Lifestyle

Young professionals renting units and apartments typically want to live in properties that have access to the beach, bars or cafes. “They may not be able to afford to live in a house in a desired area, but they can afford to rent there and have access to various lifestyle drivers.”

Off-street parking in congested areas

“Think about how frustrating it is to drive to get your shopping, only to have to park blocks away from your house and still have to carry the shopping home,” Kingsley reminds investors. An apartment or unit with a designated parking space is always likely to generate rental demand.

Bonus internal extras

No tenant wants to leave their apartment, with a washing basket in-hand, to get to the communal laundry in their block. “That’s why more and more washing machine areas are being installed inside units, and tenants are enjoying that as part of their living arrangements,” he says.

Dishwashers are also an attractive feature, increasing the rental desirability of a property.

Floor plan features

Always ask the questions about the property layout that a renter would ask.

  • Is there a toilet separate to the bathroom? “If there is a two-bedroom tenancy and the renters don’t know each other, having a separate bathroom and toilet will make their life easier.”
  • Are the bedrooms large enough to fit a queen or double bed?
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • How many bedrooms does the property have? “It’s easier to raise rent if you have more bedrooms, as technically, there are a greater number of sleeping quarters to charge tenants for.”
  • Are there enough bathrooms? Kingsley says if you want a property with three-to-four bedrooms, always make sure it has more than one bathroom.
  • Does it have multiple living zones? “There’s nothing worse than a share house where everyone has to congregate in the one living area, so buy a property where you can separate the entertaining needs throughout the house, with one zone for tenants to watch television and another for those wanting a quiet space or privacy.”

“Just because tenants don’t own the property, it doesn’t mean they won’t take pride in it. The property will still have to reflect who they are as people. If a property is well presented and has an owner-occupier feel, then you’ll always be able to attract