3 'Gender-Items' To Reduce Your Vacancy Rate

Josh Masters

Given that your loan repayments often rest heavily on the rent that comes from your tenants, it’s essential that you also try to think like a tenant when it comes to choosing an investment.

While many of the factors to look out for can be common sense, such as a convenient location, a good layout and plenty of light, some aspects of a property can easily be overlooked by a particular gender. This can cost you big time when you try and rent the property out only to find that 50% of the market finds your investment unappealing.

Here are 3 aspects of a property that I have personally found to be non-negotiable for females (and possibly some males), looking for a place to rent or buy. Ignore them at your own risk.

1. Security – In my experience, a male will be less concerned with a ground floor apartment that could be accessed from the street, or a converted bedroom that now has a non-descript door that could easily be accessed from the footpath. Not so for females who have no intention of putting themselves at risk of a break-in.

While units on the ground floor level can often be prized for their courtyards or grassed area, make sure they’re secure and can only be accessed through a security gate.

If you’re looking at a house, ensure that gates lie to both sides of the house and avoid those properties that have a redundant door at the front of the house that now leads on to a bedroom.

2. Bath – Most men I know would opt for a shower over a bath any day. This means that we rarely think twice of a bathroom that only contains a shower. Personally my partner wouldn’t even consider renting a property without a bath as it’s one of the spots in her week where she really gets to relax.

Also, if your tenants are looking to have their first child then a bath will be essential for washing and playtime. My partner identified the need for this well before I would have ever considered it.

In short, unless you want to exclude 50% of the market, look for a bath. If it doesn’t have one, renovate.

3. Storage – While I do like to dress well and stay current, my girl-friends make me look like an amateur when it comes to their wardrobe and shoe collections. That’s not to say that I don’t need storage, but my needs pale in comparison compared to theirs.

A relatively inexpensive addition to a room (but a game-changer for many prospective tenants) is the built-in wardrobe. These are identified more and more by property managers as being essential, so if you’re property doesn’t have one, invest a few thousand dollars and have one installed. If the bedrooms aren’t large enough to hold a built-in, best to pass and move on.

So while it’s important to think like a tenant, there are factors that may unknowingly lie outside your field of vision – especially when you can’t relate them to your own lifestyles.

If you want to purchase an investment that appeals to the majority of the market though, ensure that your tenants will feel safe and secure where they live, make sure there is a bath for whomever it may appeal to and have a place for people to store their clothes, shoes and other collectibles. Take care of these things and you’re sure to secure a property that tenants will always be attracted to.