In recent years the kitchen has regularly been voted as the most important room in a property. It has become the centrepiece of many homes. Thanks to the foodie revolution sweeping across Britain, aided and abetted by the boom in farmers’ markets/street food and the proliferation of cookery programmes on TV, people are spending more time in their kitchens than ever before.
As well as being a place to cook, bake and eat, it’s also a place for socialising, informal dinner parties and for kids to do their homework. If you want to improve the chances of getting good tenants into your rental property, it makes sense to place special focus on the kitchen.
As a landlord, you want to swerve those dreaded void periods. To do this, you need to make your property stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Tailoring your kitchen to specific demographics – once you have worked out which demographic you want to target – will hugely improve the renting potential of your property.
Unable to buy because of high house prices and bank balance-crushing deposits, this demographic is being driven into the PRS. They are likely to be quite demanding when it comes to the kitchen because they are also likely to take food very seriously. Among this demographic, particularly those aged 25-35, entertaining, informal dinner parties and gatherings with nibbles and drinks will be commonplace. They’ll want a suitable kitchen to reflect their status as keen foodies.
Contemporary, sleek, urban-looking spaces would work best, helping to give off a cool and sophisticated vibe. On the other hand, unconventional designs are unlikely to appeal to a very wide audience. Some might love it, but the majority will be deterred by anything too offbeat so it’s best not to alienate your main target market in this way.
This demographic will arguably be spending more time in the kitchen than any other – whether it be baking cakes, family parties or kids doing their homework – so if you are looking to rent to families it’s vital to get the kitchen right. Most of the time families will be seeking a more homely, child-friendly, rustic kitchen. Functionality and reliability will both be appreciated by busy, run off their feet parents, but it doesn’t follow that the kitchen has to look stern and bland.
Families will want to use the kitchen for many different activities. Making your kitchen multi-functional is not easy, but the more flexible you can make it, the happier your would-be tenants will be.
There are a few other things to bear in mind when it comes to kitchens. Make the most of the space you have, provide as much storage as possible and opt for wooden worktops rather than laminated ones (they tend to be more popular). Also, integrated appliances are more pleasing on the eye than free-standing ones, while vinyl flooring is a cost-effective way of getting the tiled look without using tiles.
They make up part of the private rented sector (PRS) – in the area we operate in, for example, West Lothian College, Edinburgh and Heriott-Watt Universities, and even the slightly further afield University of Stirling have significant student populations – and they guarantee a steady and regular rental income, if not a huge return on investment. We’ve written before about the pros and cons of the student accommodation route.
Generally speaking, students don’t tend to be so discerning when choosing where they are going to live. Having said that, because they are willing to put up with a bit more wear and tear doesn’t mean they will stand for dirty, outdated and poorly maintained kitchen facilities. In fact, students are starting to demand more from their rental accommodation and clean, modern, nicely presented kitchens will have much more appeal. If you provide this, you would also be justified in going after the high-end of the student market (honestly, one does exist!)
If you would like more advice about the rental market in West Lothian, please contact Letting Solutions on 0845 520 1420. To work out how much you could be securing in monthly rents, check out our online free property valuation tool.