As a student landlord, you’ll want to make sure that your student house portfolio delivers the best return on your investment and that means knowing exactly how students think and what they consider when it comes to picking their student housing.
According to the Telegraph, affordability is the biggest concern for students searching for private student accommodation. The bigger the rent bill, the more time they’ll need to spend working – which could leave less time for a social life and studying. Knowing that students searching for their 2019-20 accommodation will be keeping a close eye on the budget has a direct impact on lots of other criteria.
Location, location, location
Any student landlord that understands the student property market will appreciate that location is key to a continual income from HMO accommodation.
Many students rely on the ability to get to and from their campus easily, so you’ll need to ensure that your HMO investment offers easy access to the campus. Students need to watch their budgets carefully, so if you can minimise their transport costs (and travel time) when they take out a tenancy with you, you’re far more likely to have a long waiting list for your student property.
Being able to sleep in later and still get to a lecture on time is also a big bonus. From a practical perspective, it also pays to be close to things like newsagents, doctors, supermarkets and pubs says Save The Student.
You’ll often find that certain areas have a higher percentage of student houses, and this isn’t just by chance. Smart student landlords use location and proximity to campus as important deciding factors when adding to their HMO investment portfolio. Picking the right location will also go some way to making the price more affordable – a good location might be walking or cycling distance from campus for example, which cuts down on transport costs.
We’ve talked a little about location in our five things to consider for your HMO property investment in Salford, Manchester blog, so there’s some good advice that can be transferred to any student let in Sheffield, Leicester, Chester or elsewhere in the country too.
With few students able to afford to run and maintain a car of their own, having a student property that offers good transport links is essential.
Buses and trains are the transport options of choice for many students, so when you’re seeking out your new HMO investment (or looking for student housing as a student), it’s key to look at nearby transport options.
Bus routes and close access to train stations are fairly easy to find using the internet, but before you decide which HMO property to sign on the dotted line for, it’s also worth checking with local authorities to find out if there are any changes likely to be made on bus routes. For those students lucky enough to have their own vehicles, it’s also worth considering a student property with a little parking or even a secure area for the storage of push bikes, scooters or motorbikes. Being able to get to their place of study and work conveniently is important to students according to the NUS, so a good audit of transport options is vital. Students also want to be close to friends and other students and often, within easy reach of family so out of town transport options also play a role. Are there decent train connections to other cities for example or major bus routes?
Local amenities for your HMO investment
Student lets don’t only need good transport links and close proximity to the University campus; students are also getting a little more selective on their student accommodation’s nearby amenities.
A local corner shop and nearby watering hole are no longer enough to keep students happy as they’ve begun to be a little more discerning when it comes to selecting their student accommodation. Now, student lets are springing up closer to gyms, entertainment districts and anywhere else that has something to offer them as a respite from their studies.
Another thing you’ll also want to consider as an HMO property manager is the availability for part-time work as many students will be supplementing their student loans by working a few hours each week.
Good quality student accommodation
Gone are the days when student property managers could purchase a HMO property in a convenient location and do little to ensure its attractiveness to the student lets market.
Student property management has become a popular industry, with many student property managers upping their game in order to attract and retain the best quality tenants for their property.
A student letting agent not only needs to tick all of the transport, location and amenities boxes, but they also need to provide a good standard of quality student accommodation that is well maintained on a regular basis.
Practical and easy to clean kitchens, modern bathrooms and bedrooms with a small desk for laptops and books are all things that students look for in a student letting. One survey found that, “the top three most important ‘wants’ are safe and secure accommodation (89%), good internet connection (88%) and the essential creature comfort, a washing machine (76%)! Coming in fourth place is being close to a university campus (72%), followed by high quality accommodation (59%), being close to amenities (47%) and superfast broadband (42%).”
All inclusive bills are also a great way to attract good student tenants and safeguard your property from the risk of unpaid bills, so take a look at our guide to why you should offer all-inclusive bills on your student lets.
Another way of ensuring that your student letting remains attractive to students is to put a little effort into home décor. A feature wall with a bright pop of colour can enliven any student property without needing a big budget, Sky TV and reliable broadband are now often seen as a must too, so it’s often the little touches that can make a big difference when it comes to letting your student accommodation.
We’ve also got some great tips on how to make your student let more homely, so check those out here.
Well maintained facilities
The student landlord must provide annual boiler checks and services as well as electrical compliance tests for internal appliances. Here’s a useful guide to student accommodation and maintenance that’s well worth a look for the basics but don’t underestimate the value of little touches such as exterior security lighting and a burglar alarm.
Another good way of maintaining a good standard of student accommodation and making your student let more attractive to students and their parents is to provide additional services as part of their tenancy agreement.
These services can include things such as a monthly gardener to ensure that any outdoor space remains clean, tidy and free of clutter, a window cleaner or even a twice-weekly cleaner to carry out essential cleaning tasks such as dusting, cleaning kitchen surfaces and vacuuming that won’t just make like easier for your student tenants, but will also ensure that your student property investment remains clean and tidy with any maintenance issues reported straight back to you for your attention.
Smart Property are the UK’s No1 student property investment and management company. Find out more about our investment and management services in Leicester, Kegworth, Sheffield, Salford & Manchester and Chester here.