So, you’ve decided to invest in a buy-to-let property and want to market it to students and young professionals in Bristol? If you experienced student life 20 or more years ago, you may be surprised by the change in expectations of what students today expect from their accommodation. Here are a few of the things you might want to consider when deciding how to kit out your rental property and make it appealing to your target market.
Location – Buses, Lectures & Night Life
Although car ownership has increased among young people, students still predominantly go to university without a car for a number of reasons. With lecture halls, restaurants and bars predominantly located in Bristol town centre, the key for their second-year accommodation is that it is on or very near a good bus route into town, including night bus routes.
However, if you are thinking about letting to young professionals, you may well need to consider if your property has enough parking space. Working professionals are more likely to have a car for work. So, it will be more important that there is enough parking nearby for all 3 or 4 tenants if your property is to appeal.
Read our blog on getting around Bristol to step into the world of a Bristolian undergraduate and the considerations they are going to have when choosing a student pad.
Modern and Practical Furniture
When it comes to furniture, stylish and modern is the thing to keep in mind. Second-hand and make-do odds and ends furniture is no longer acceptable for the student rental market. Students want their uni home to feel like the modern home they have come from, or possibly even funkier! Furniture needs to be practical, modern-looking and comfortable. Ikea is a useful backstop and won’t break the bank, whilst Student Furniture’s website is a great inspiration as they design furniture and work specifically with universities.
Communal Areas – The Importance of a Lounge
As with the gradual change in the housing market of more open plan living, communal spaces are important to students. These are areas where they can hang out with each other and socialise and spend their downtime relaxing together in front of the TV or on the games console. With Wi-Fi and online learning also a modern convenience for students, we would recommend keeping large communal lounge area available in your property.
Garden Space – Minimal Maintenance
Most properties have some form of garden space, even if it is just a small front garden. Landlords can make this an additional benefit of their rental property by doing two things. One, you could provide some basic shelter for the storage of bikes. If your buy-to-let is within 3 miles of the university campus, students can easily cycle, but they will be looking for some sort of protection for their bicycles from the elements as well as a way of keeping them securely.
Two, if you make the garden low maintenance with paving slabs or gravel, you cut the maintenance of the space for yourself, but also give students another communal area they can use in the warmer months to socialise and hold BBQs.
Power Sockets and Charging Points
Essential for life these days, but particularly for students, will be the availability and accessibility of sockets in their rooms and communal areas. With phones and laptops that need regular charging, it is vital for students to have plenty of sockets.
You could consider installing sockets with USB chargers. It’s super easy to change your existing sockets to these and will make your student property appealing and modern when undergraduates are looking around.
Wi-Fi – Included in the Bills?
As a landlord, you will need to decide if your rental fee is going to include bills or not. An all-inclusive fee may be simpler for students and for yourself but carries the risk that their usage may be more than you envisage.
You could, however, include just some bills such as Wi-Fi. Internet connection is so vital for all of us these days, whether for work and study or socially. Providing super-fast broadband as part of the rent would be a great advantage to students. It’s one less thing for them to sort out and it means they are up and running and able to study from the time they move in.
When using a student property management company such as Digs, we help you get the best return on your property investment by researching the local area and setting an inclusive level of rent that makes the property profitable yet still affordable for students.
Young adults today are very eco-minded. It matters to them that they recycle and play their part in reducing waste and protecting the environment. Landlords can facilitate this by providing all the necessary recycling bins and liaising with the council. Double glazing is also now considered a basic essential, helping to not waste heat and keeping bills down.
No Hidden Costs
Students are becoming savvier about their finances. With the cost of university tuition rising, undergraduates will want to keep their total debt as small as possible. They will want contracts to be clear and transparent about the fees, what is included and what is not. Here at Bristol Digs, we can help you draw up a tenancy agreement that is clear for students and gives you the assurance that all the legalities have been covered.
Advice and Support for Landlords at Bristol Digs
We have many years of experience and will walk you through the process of letting out your property to students or recent graduates so that your investment brings in maximum returns.
For additional things to think about as a landlord, see our dedicated blog section for landlords covering legislation and buy-to-let industry news as well as other specific things to consider when renting to students.
If you’d like to chat about anything you’ve read or have any questions, please call our team on 0117 930 8750 or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.