Understanding Tenant Needs

Understanding Tenant Needs

How flexible floorplan options are changing property investment 

BY IRENE BAILEY

Living in the proverbial ‘global village’ places us in touch with influences from other parts of world and the impact can be life-changing. This is also true for how we imagine our perfect living space to be.

According to George Radford, Head of IP Global’s Africa division, rapid urbanisation and urban renewal has given rise to smaller homes, usually apartments, which provides its own set of unique space challenges.

Radford explains that developers have responded to the urbanisation, regeneration and urban renewal trends by building flexi units, spaces which are highly adaptable.

“The greatest desire that residents have for their homes is to have a living space that truly reflects their style and their needs. To this end, developers are creating flexi units, spaces that have set sleeping areas but also include an area that can be used as a second sleeping area or converted into an extension of the unit’s living space,” he adds.

He says that these flexi units draw inspiration from a Japanese influence- washitsu, or “tatami rooms” in English.

“These rooms are malleable spaces which feature sliding doors, called fusuma, which can be retracted to create a large open space through the home or closed to create private living areas. This concept allows home owners to create the spaces that they need in the moment, rather than having unusable areas of their home,” says Radford.

This gives investors the options of maximising the space in a clever and inspired way that would appeal to different prospective tenants.

“This style of floorplan is very attractive to people who are looking into the property market for investment purposes because it allows the unit to be adjusted based on the tastes and needs of the current tenant,” says Radford. 

Having the right floor plan and bedroom type can shape how your tenant experiences the property and allows investors to maximise their property investment by appealing to many different potential tenants, Radford adds.

Students, young professionals and families all have different needs and lifestyles, which are reflected in how they shape their home.  

Different types of tenants’ requirements:

Students usually live communally, often with friends, and will require their own bedrooms for privacy, but also living spaces that will allow them to socialise.
Professionals usually don’t mind living in a studio or one-bedroom apartment since they don’t spend much time in their living spaces. This is largely due to their lifestyles, their jobs and social lives – all of which may keep them out of the home for long periods of the day.
Couples usually want to live in one or two-bedroom apartments. They are the favoured tenants for many landlords, as their two income streams help to ensure a guaranteed rental income more easily than a single occupant. This increases confidence and security for the investors/landlords.  
Families may favour two or three-bedroom apartments with a decent amount of open space that kids can run around in. Any extra rooms are likely to be used for storage to help maintain tidiness. These larger sized units are also helpful for when family or friends visit the tenants.   

“Flexi units are gaining popularity in new-builds, as they offer residents flexibility and adaptable living arrangements. These units offer residents a versatile multipurpose space, which they can alter as their living needs change or evolve,” says Radford.

Whether the space is needed for a guest room, study, nursery or large walk in closet, flexi units provide numerous options to tailor a home to individual requirements. Students, professionals, couples, and even families are suitable to live in this type of unit, particularly those who are looking for affordability and value.

“When considering what type of property to invest in, rentability is an important factor. A flexible floorplan and adaptable living space can attract a large variety of tenants, which improves rentability and may be worth paying a bit extra for,” concludes Radford.

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