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by DIY Realty

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Many investors overcapitalise on features tenants just don’t care about, specialist research shows.

Tenants were asked to rank the features most important to them, including whether they’d pay more for them, by Bees Nees City Realty in South Brisbane.

The survey, which has been conducted for 15 years, ranks 21 features from most to least important and also tracks the changing tastes of tenants.

No.1 in the latest research is car parking, which jumped up the list from fourth in 2011 to first place and has stayed there since 2013.

Bees Nees new business manager Nathaniel Smith says the consistently high demand for at least one off-street car space means investors need to consider this if purchasing off-the-plan units without any parking provisions.

“Many of the new apartment buildings are offering more and more apartments without car spaces,” Smith says.

“We find these are vacant longer and reduce the number of prospective tenants that enquire.”

The warm Queensland climate is no doubt behind the second place-getter, with outdoor space being the next in-demand feature.

While perhaps difficult to retrofit for existing landlords, the desire for outdoor living is a factor all buyers should consider – for resale and rental purposes.

“Were an investor to not have outdoor space, I’d recommend opening the place up with plenty of natural light and windows,” Smith says.

“Lots of the older units in the CBD don’t have balconies, but I have seen renovations where they put in tall windows that open, allowing for breeze and a sense of open space.”

Ten most important home features for tenants

1. At least one off-street parking space

2. Outdoor living space

3. Cabling for high-speed internet

4. Storage space

5. Modern home/home in great condition

6. Lockable or secure parking

7. Airconditioning in living areas

8. Overall size of the home

9. Overall security eg. intercoms

10. Ceiling fans

Source: Bees Nees Research

High-speed internet came in at No.3 and has been moving up the results for a number of years.

Depending on the property location investors may not be able to do much about providing this feature but Smith says it’s worthwhile considering given its desirability.

Perhaps not as sexy as super-fast internet, No.4 in the research is storage. The rise in the number of people living in units means demand for somewhere to store belongings is also increasing exponentially.

“Storage space is one of the queries that I get asked a lot when leasing units in the inner-city suburbs,” Smith says.

“I’d recommend ensuring the property has built-in wardrobes in every bedroom, a good-sized pantry, linen cupboard and plenty of space in the kitchen for everything.

“I’d also suggest installing [if council allows it] a storage locker in the car park for those items that you don’t want in the apartment such as bikes, fishing gear and camping equipment.

“While this may be a large upfront cost, it will certainly increase the marketability of the apartment.”

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