We have previously posted blogs for our landlord insurance customers about how to generally improve your property to give it the best opportunity of being rented. There are many factors within your control to maintain the property in good order, but in this ever developing social world, are there factors outside of your control affecting your properties rentable attractiveness?
The answer is most definitely yes! To get to the point, I am talking about mobile signals and broadband availability. These items are something you should be considering before expanding your portfolio.
Mobile signals are becoming more of a consideration when renting or buying properties and should without doubt be included within legal packs when purchasing and estate agent details for sales and rentals. Tenants often go without a fixed phone line, maybe it’s too much hassle or an unwanted fixed cost they can do without - they are probably hip, young and all their friends also only have mobile phones too!
The problem is, if they are viewing your property and the signal bars start to drop or they lose 3G connections for the internet, the appeal of your property will certainly decline. Luckily, the mobile signal for most of the country is good and the 2G and 3G signals are improving fast with mobile companies keeping up with demand due to the increasing popularity of Smartphones and tablets such as the iPad, which all depend on good 3G signals.
Alas, broadband speeds are not keeping up with demand and maybe this is because BT wholesale lack any kind of competition, as nearly all broadband providers (apart from Cable) depend on BT’s desire to develop their exchange network. Your tenants, maybe one working from home over the internet or a family with school children who hold an appetite for all things web based will be factoring broadband cost, availability and quality into their decision making. It seems inner cities and major towns benefit from fantastic quality broadband at cheap rates from most broadband suppliers using the upgraded BT network. With download speeds of up to 40mb these households (and landlords) do not realise how good they have it.
The facts are that up to 25% of BT exchanges only deliver speeds of about 2mb at best (512k when busy). These exchanges are found in more rural areas, villages and smaller towns. In contrast to areas with good speeds you would expect your tenants to benefit from lower broadband costs due to the poorer speeds they receive; well the truth is they have to pay more…much more!
So how much extra can it cost your tenant being located outside an upgraded exchange? As I write today, Talk Talk offer calls and broadband for £15.85 a month (£3.25 + £12.60 line rental for 9 months, £6.85 + £12.60 line rental thereafter, 12 month contract), Go on their site and if your exchange is not available to them you will have to call in to discover the price nearly doubles. A house with 1mb speeds will struggle with one child watching BBC iPlayer, another playing video games, while Mum or Dad books their next food delivery!
I would argue the case for broadband information to be included in legal packs when purchasing and estate agent details for buying and renting is much stronger than for mobile signal strength.