Gimmicks unnecessary to rent Melbourne properties despite fussier tenants: Melissa Opie

Gimmicks unnecessary to rent Melbourne properties despite fussier tenants: Melissa Opie
Gimmicks unnecessary to rent Melbourne properties despite fussier tenants: Melissa Opie

Buyers agent Melissa Opie says landlords should not have to offer incentives to rent their property unless they are trying to rent an off-the-plan apartment.

Landlords should be maintaining their property properly to keep it in demand by tenants who are getting increasingly fussy, Opie says.

“Ultimately they need to maintain their assets so they attract a higher quality tenant and that tenant will be prepared to pay a higher rental amount per week. If they don’t maintain they won’t maximise,” Opie says.

She says more and more investors, especially self-managed super fund investors want to buy 'set and forget' properties. Although the vacancy rate in Melbourne remains low purchasers like these are increasing the standard of homes tenants expect.

“As rents have risen, as they will continue to, tenants will go for the better quality property. They need a bit of a wow factor. Everybody has an ego and it doesn’t mean it has to be the Taj Mahal and have gold taps, it just needs to have been maintained so tenants can have a sense of pride.”

She recommends landlords complete regular cosmetic changes in their property to keep up with trends.

Opie also encourages people to build the cost of a gardener into the rent of a property. This means the property is maintained, increasing its value as a possible collateral for future purchases and it’s a cost that investors can claim on tax so they don’t have to charge tenants dollar for dollar.

Opie rebuked suggestions that landlords might offer gimmicks like shopping vouchers to prospective tenants, saying that with a decent property management agency they shouldn’t have to.

One of the few situations where landlords might have to use incentives to attract renters is when they are trying to rent a recently completed off-the-plan apartment.

Investors who bought off-the-plan often settle at the time and there could be as many as 70% of abodes in the same development hitting the rental market at the same time.

“That can be tough,” Opie says.

Options like one week’s free rent may entice renters in newer developments. Other options like a free pay TV subscription may help in certain demographics but it’s not something Opie says should be necessary.

Most of all she says the property needs to be marketed properly.

“You can’t sell a secret so they have be marketed correctly,” Opie says.

“It really needs good photographs and proper floor plans so tenants can visualise where they’re putting all their things.”

Image of Taj Mahal by Christian Haugen, courtesy of Flickr.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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