How Residential Real Estate Will Shift as Renters Trade Urban Living for Suburban

As the global pandemic continues, residential real estate will shift as more renters will trade urban, crowded cities for suburban, spacious areas. These areas offer a lower cost of living for more space. Affordable housing, especially as unemployment continues to impact people across the country, will be top of mind, as will the ability to find work or work remotely.

Renters Are Trading Urban for Suburban

If you’re an investor or landlord researching real estate opportunities to expand your portfolio, it’s crucial to think about space and affordability.

Two types of areas that you could consider investing in:

  1. Small cities that offer remote job opportunities
  2. Suburban/rural areas where residents have space to work from home

As a real estate investor, you’ll need to factor how the pandemic has affected renters economically and socially. Tenants are looking for a more stable job market, but they will also be looking for space, among other amenities, they may be missing—especially as they escape large coastal cities.

What Amenities They’ll Look For

Especially prudent: even though offerings like “in-unit washer and dryer” and “backyard” might seem like run-of-the-mill, everyday listings, renters trading urban for suburban living will see these as attractive amenities. Additionally, they’ll also be looking for space wherever they can get it.

Make sure to highlight how your rental is conducive to a little sprawl for renters who have been cooped up for the last four months.

  1. Balconies, porches, or any other outdoor space available to the tenant
  2. Second bedrooms or large closet/spaces that could be converted to an office
  3. Kitchen space and pantries that will enable more room for stocking up or in-home cooking
  4. Dedicated parking spaces or garages for tenants who are purchasing cars to leave behind public transportation

Be sure to include these offerings, as well as any other incentives in your rental listing.

Set Up Contactless Property Management

If you’re worried about connecting with new renters or list a rental, especially during the age of social distancing, there are several useful methodologies for adopting contactless, virtual property management—all the way from showing a unit to signing a lease to collecting rent.

  1. Be transparent about your social distancing processes, sanitization protocols, and safety measures. We are living in a constant state of uncertainty these days. Potential tenants will appreciate the guidance and processes you’ve implemented to protect them while showing them a unit.
  2. Offer a virtual connection. While thorough tenant screening can help landlords and property managers vet applicants from afar, it can still be difficult for applicants and landlords to trust someone they haven’t previously connected with in-person. As a solution, offer to set up a phone call or virtual Zoom call to provide yourself and the tenant reassurance.
  3. Set up an online or mobile rent collection system. Nowadays, what can be done online should be done online to reduce the amount of in-person contact. This includes sending and collecting rent. Enabling your tenant to pay their rent through their mobile phones makes it easier for them to pay and you to collect.

Remote Workers Will Seek Affordability and Space

As the popularity of remote work increases and becomes a more permanent shift away from in-office work. It offers renters more flexibility about where they live and the necessity for space. These remote workers will be seeking more space—both indoors and outdoor—but they’ll be looking for affordability as well. Tenants will no longer pay premium prices for cramped closets in coastal cities like NYC or San Francisco. The appeal of spacious, affordable living as companies continue to adopt remote work—or employees seek remote work safety—will transform the residential real estate market.

About the Author: Crystal Abing is the writer and editor for RentRedi, a landlord-tenant software. RentRedi’s property management blog posts current trends or issues landlords face, including property management advice, residential real estate trends, how to use tech for managing rentals, and RentRedi-related announcements.

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