In residential property there are always new trends that emerge or must-have features that we read about in the home and style magazines – things such as a breakfast bar in the kitchen or open-plan living.
Having somewhere to entertain friends and family has always been a strong feature of a home, but over the past six to 12 months our team is finding it is often becoming the key feature.
In the past tenants wandered through the home looking at the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and so on, then briefly glanced out the window to see the backyard. Nowadays, we find tenants wandering through the home and eagerly waiting to reach the back of the house to see what the outdoor area is like. It's quickly becoming as critical as the kitchen or master bedroom!
With home renovation shows on TV, new (and very clever!) ways of using this space are showcased to the public. It is becoming increasingly popular to transform this space into a prominent feature of the home.
For the town houses and inner-city living we are seeing outdoor spaces completely converted into an extension of the main living quarters. New features such as bi-fold doors, decking and bar stools mean we are seeing outdoor living being taken to a whole new level. Some home owners are going all out equipping outdoor living areas with fireplaces, inbuilt kitchens (with range hoods) and surround sound systems ... just to name a few.
One thing is certain, home owners are embracing the outdoor living environment like never before.
Our team is finding that properties with an outdoor entertaining or funky outdoor space are attracting 200 per cent more enquiries compared to homes that don't offer this feature. We are not talking about anything lavish, just a few small touches that allow tenants to use the space when friends visit. Tenants love having the option of creating their own outdoor space – a veggie/herb patch or vertical garden is all the rage! And they will pay for it.
Anecdotally, such rental properties attract 5 to 10 per cent higher rents, lease easily and create a distinct competitive edge for our investors. For example, typically an additional $20 to $40 per week is achieved in the $400 to $600 range if a property has an interesting outdoor living feature.
This is a staggering trend! Given our job as a property management business is to optimise our landlord's returns, these trends need to be considered.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In 2010, Suzannah completed a double-degree with a major in finance and property, as well as achieving honours in law. Suzannah was then accepted into the AMP Capital Graduate Program in 2011 and joined the property investment team in Sydney. During this time she commenced her College of Law studies and was working alongside an in-house solicitor gaining experience in the transactions team, focusing on due diligence. Having spent 18 months working alongside fund managers, commercial valuers and property developers, Suzannah returned home to work in the family business in mid-2012 and is now head of property management at Toop&Toop.