Landlords could benefit from adding a garden to their list of criteria for their next property or an upgrade to an existing one. Depending on the location, a garden could offer significant profit opportunities, particularly in cities like London, where gardens in rental properties are rare and tenants are willing to pay a premium for them.
In this blog, we will look at why gardens could be a value-boosting feature for buy-to-let investors, how to upgrade an outdoor space and attract a wider range of tenants, and alternative ways to invest in and benefit from rental property.
How a garden boosts property value
A 2021 study has found that 64% of UK residents wouldn’t buy a property if it didn’t have a garden and 30% claimed that the outdoor space is more important to them than the interior, showing that the absence of an outdoor space can be a deal-breaker for many.
Since commuting has reduced over the last few years and people have been spending more time at home, gardens have become a lot more than simply something to enjoy on a warm day. Outdoor spaces are now one of the top priorities for many tenants when searching for a new home as they offer room for things like hobbies, entertaining, and exercise. More specifically, features such as summerhouses, external lighting, and garden home offices have been found to have the potential to boost property value by £10,000-£20,000. Other garden improvements that have been found valuable are swimming pools, outdoor gyms, and patios.
However, the changes that are right for your property will depend on your target market, so it’s important to establish the profile of the right tenant and understand what they might find valuable. You may also find that some of the above features may seem costly and time-consuming, but there are some small yet effective changes that could transform your property and make it more attractive to the right tenant. Simple elements like well-maintained fences and hedges, and tidy paths and driveways have been ranked as 85% important to tenants when viewing a property. Another aspect like good outdoor lighting was also ranked as 91% important. So, a complete renovation isn’t always needed – you could up your rental value significantly with just a few small adjustments to the outdoor area.
Regions with high rental demand in 2023
As many people relocated during lockdown, habits amongst tenants and homebuyers shifted. Online property platform Rightmove revealed that rental searches for homes with gardens hit a record high in 2020, particularly in larger cities where gardens and balconies are rare. This demand continued as, although social restrictions have eased since then, many tenants remain cautious and search for homes with a permanent outlook.
For 2023, industry experts highlight the below regions as best buy-to-let areas in the UK:
The above rankings are based on the following key factors:
· Average total rent
· Short-term returns through rental yield
· Long-term returns through house price growth
· The lowest number of vacancies as a proportion of total housing stock
· Percentage of the city population in the rental market
Over the last two years, Bristol has fallen from first to third place, having been overtaken by the up-and-coming city of Manchester. Its long-term property growth marks an average of 5.6% along with strong tenant demand of 31% of residents renting privately. On average, rent in areas outside of London was almost 12% higher in 2022 versus the year before, but some areas of Manchester have seen private rents jump by more than 20%.
The private rental market in London in the past year has also seen astonishing growth and now ranking second place on the above map. Despite many people moving away from cities three years ago, it wasn’t long before demand started to return to city centres, leading to the capital’s “highest ever annual [growth] rate of any region,” as described by Rightmove.
If you’re a landlord who already owns property or looking for your next buy-to-let investment in or around the above regions, you could benefit from a significant profit boost by developing the outdoor space. This doesn’t need to be a conventional garden; balconies, terraces, and small gardens all have the potential to attract the right tenant and improve yield opportunities.
How can I improve the garden in my buy-to-let-property?
Garden upgrades don’t have to be large or expensive; a small but useful change can make all the difference to your ideal tenant. Here are a few ways to get started with the basics:
1. Make the most of all available space
Some BTLs come with large gardens, but valuable space can often be taken up bulky objects like barbecues, bins, or garden tools. Try placing these kinds of items into storage to help clear the garden and avoid the eye being drawn to clutter. If there are no storage options, you could consider adding a shed to the property.
2. Check the small details
As previously mentioned, prospective tenants notice and care about the finer details. Something as simple as checking gates for any chipped paint, fences for any damage, or patio decking for any dirt could make or break a viewing.
3. Regular lawn maintenance
Your future tenants may not be avid gardeners, but they are likely to appreciate a well-maintained garden. Not only that, but a freshly cut lawn and chopped weeds will help the entire property look and feel tidier.
4. Add colour
If the outdoor space is available, a few colourful flowers can really help transform a garden and can be impressive to many viewers. You don’t have to be an expert to do this as there are many easy-care plants and ready-made pots to choose from, which might also benefit your tenants if they’re not particularly green-fingered. Flowers can also be especially useful on restrictive outdoor spaces like balconies. This is where hanging and tiered planters can help.
Who is responsible for garden maintenance?
If you’re considering upgrading the garden in your BTL property, be mindful of the maintenance it might need to avoid any garden disputes and make sure that your time and money don’t go to waste. Generally, the landlord is responsible for garden care, particularly with larger jobs like tree cutting, and the tenant must leave the property and the garden in the same condition they found it in. The tenancy agreement should clearly detail the tenant’s responsibilities to avoid any confusion.
Depending on the size of the garden and the amount of work required for its upkeep, it’s common for landlords to hire gardeners, especially if they own a portfolio of properties. This cost can be added to the tenant’s monthly rent, but the landlord must then supply gardening services for the length of the tenancy.
I don’t have a garden – how can I boost property value?
If your existing properties don’t have an outdoor space, there are ways to boost property value on the interior, too. Here are a few suggestions to upgrade your property, add value, and attract a wider range of tenants:
1. Freshen up
Sometimes, a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference. If the wall colour has faded or the paint on the banister has chipped, a simple repaint is an inexpensive and basic way to bring life back into the property and make it more attractive. A well-maintained property won’t go unnoticed during viewings, so whether it’s fresh, clean paint, durable furniture, or an efficient heating system, it can pay off to upgrade these features in your property.
2. Neutral design
To help attract a wider range of tenants, neutral colour schemes can help keep the interior light and spacious, which is particularly useful in small houses or flats. A clean and modern interior can make a property look and feel more high-end, which can up the rental value, and it gives tenants the opportunity to personalise the space a little.
3. Kitchen and bathroom
These rooms can become worn quickly in a rental property, so keeping them fresh and clean can help prolong tenancies and reduce vacant periods. If needed, this can mean a brand new kitchen and bathroom, or it can be a simple revamp such as fitting in a new fridge or repainting the walls, or fitting in a rainfall shower.
4. Added extras
A few added extras can make your property more attractive and valuable, especially if you’re in a competitive area. Facilities such as tumble dryers, dishwashers, or fibre-optic broadband could make all the difference to your prospective tenants and boost the rental value.
Alternative ways to benefit from property investments
Managing physical property can be costly and time-consuming, so for passive investors, there are alternative ways to benefit from residential property.
At Propiteer Capital, our Property Bond allows high-net-worth and sophisticated investors to benefit from high-end property in popular areas around the UK and Ireland on a fixed-rate basis. Our Brizes Park development in Essex contains exclusive homes on the grounds of a former mansion, including 73 acres of private grounds, which are ideal for sunny afternoons or winter walks. The site includes luxury homes and apartments not only with private woodlands but also with their own unique features and character, featuring preserved historic details combined with a modern and luxurious interior.
Other residential properties include town centre apartments with private balconies in Clondalkin, modern homes with gardens in the bustling town of Abbots Gate in Suffolk, and exclusive homes surrounded by National Trust woodland in the sough-after Bicknacre.
With the Propiteer Capital Property Bond, investors can generate fixed-rate dividends from purpose-built quality living units in high-demand locations and transient cities. To find out more about our bond, rates and returns, and projects, visit our website or contact a member of our team.
An outdoor space can add significant value to your rental property. Whether it’s a spacious garden or a cosy balcony, there are many ways to keep these areas attractive to potential tenants and boost monthly dividends. While gardens are what many tenants are searching for nowadays, they’re not crucial to getting the most out of our buy-to-let – a fresh and modern interior can also increase property value.
For passive property investors, the Propiteer Capital Property Bond offers fixed-rate returns on high-end living units in popular regions. Investors can benefit from a portfolio of purpose-built homes and apartments with outdoor areas and luxury interiors.
Recommended Read: Property: The Long-term Investor’s Choice