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What do Tenants Really Want in Rental Homes?

By George Hadgelias

It’s a question every landlord should ask: what features will have prospective tenants lining-up to live in their investment property?

If you’ve been wondering what might make your rental property more appealing, we have news for you.

Using data from realestate.com.au, we round-up the top search terms for rental properties over the past 12 months to determine where investors should be focusing their efforts.

Tenants are looking for pet-friendly properties

Everybody loves their pets, so it’s unsurprising that the most searched keyword for rentals is ‘pet friendly’.

While some states have made it mandatory for landlords to allow pets in properties, others are lagging. Even if you’re concerned about having pets in your property, there are easy measures you can take to protect your investment.

“Some landlords can be hesitant when it comes to pets in their investment property because they’re worried about the potential for damage,” Carolyn Parrella, Suncorp Head of Niche Distribution says.

“Fortunately, landlord’s insurance can potentially cover damage caused by your tenant’s pets.”

Having said that, always remember to read the product disclosure statement on any insurance policy to be certain of what is covered, and what processes may need to be followed.

“In our Terri Scheer Landlord Insurance policy, for instance, damage caused to your contents or building by the tenant’s pet may be covered for up to $2,500,” Parrella says.

Tenants want furnished properties

There are plenty of instances in which folks would be searching for a furnished property.

If they’re moving from overseas or interstate, for instance, it can be tough (and costly) settling in if you have to furnish a place from scratch.

There are also a range of short-term rental situations that call for this. Fly-in, fly-out workers make up entire rental markets in areas of the country, and a furnished residence is a high priority.

Tenants want air-con

Temperature regulation is vital for our comfort, and since most of Australia is a warm climate for most of the year, sufficient cooling can be a priority.

In fact, searches for the term ‘air conditioned’ grew 113% over the past 12 months.

With lockdowns forcing a lot of us indoors over the past year, perhaps the hunt for this luxury is not-so surprising.

Tenants want a swimming pool

You might think tenants would be put off by the maintenance but nope! We’re firmly a nation of sunny climes and keen swimmers.

Even with 5% fewer searches than last year, ‘swimming pool’ is still the fourth most searched keyword of the past 12 months.

As with ‘pet friendly’, the prevalence of this search could demonstrate that lifestyle is highly important to renters, perhaps more so than aesthetics or various functional inclusions, like the following item.

Tenants want a garage

Somewhere to park is vital, perhaps increasingly so over the past year with fewer commuters bustling around town. If you’re working from home, you’ll want somewhere to store your car for longer periods of time.

A car spot can be a particular advantage if you’re attempting to a rent a property in the inner city. A safe and secure parking spot in an area where the streets are crowded will have tenants scrambling for your property.

Tenants want outdoor space

There are multiple possible reasons why tenants are craving outdoor space.

For one, they’re only human. Another reason could be as an extension of the search for pet friendly properties, i.e. dog owners want an outdoor area for man’s best friend.

However, after a year of on-and-off lockdowns for most of the nation, and plenty of time spent at home, we all realise the importance and luxury of having somewhere outside to stretch our legs.

Needless to say, it’s not surprising that “outdoor area” and “balcony” were the sixth and seventh-ranked search terms of the past year.

Tenants are becoming more style conscious

While no aesthetic concerns cracked the top 10 most-searched keywords, there are a few terms climbing in popularity.

“Floorboards” saw the biggest increase in searches over the last year (+129%), topping the list of keywords showing the most growth.

Meanwhile, “deco” – presumably as part of the phrase “Art Deco” – also cracked the top 10 keywords with the most growth.

While these features aren’t dire in a rental, it’s safe to say being in possession of an investment with floorboards can’t hurt!

The top 10 most-searched keywords for rentals:

  1. Pet friendly
  2. Furnished
  3. Air conditioning
  4. Swimming pool
  5. Garage
  6. Outdoor area
  7. Balcony
  8. Dishwasher
  9. Built-in robes
  10. NRAS

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