Build to rent (BTR) developments are designed to ensure a premium rental experience, increase length of rental term and foster a real sense of community, by their nature BTR developments have plenty of stand-out features that can make your marketing strategy even more effective. By focusing on the value of the community, resident needs and, of course, your development’s unique selling points or amenities, as well as the exciting new aspects of the BTR format, you can boost the appeal of your development to prospective renters. Here are the key features to focus on when it comes to effectively marketing your BTR development, and why they’ll appeal to renters:
Build to rent developments are a relatively new concept in the UK, whilst more commonly found in other countries, BTR has only become popularised since the 2010’s. They have become an integral part of the cure for increasing demand for rental property, with research suggesting that rental demand is soaring by 23% per year thanks to a lack of affordable housing and changing tenant attitudes and lifestyles. There is a significant appetite for long-term property solutions that give tenants the security of a house purchase, but without the hefty downpayments that make getting on the property ladder so difficult. Attitudes are changing too, the traditional thinking that “renting is dead money” is being replaced by a shift in attitudes towards being tied to a property, especially within Millennial and Gen Z demographics. Coupled with a change in behaviours, it’s perhaps not surprising that BTR is so appealing – these developments offer long-term tenancies and security that privately rented properties cannot. There is no overwhelming fear that your tenancy will be halted if your private landlord chooses to move back into the property or sell it, as BTR units are designed to be rented and not sold to buy-to-let investors. By emphasising the appeal of long-term tenancies, no downpayments and tenancy security in your marketing, you will be able to highlight the appeal of this exceptionally modern rental format. It’s worth noting though the marking the distinction between private rental and BTR formats won’t be for everyone or every marketing strategy, especially those that are competing in BTR “heavy” locations that need to really stand out and distinguish developments but can be a helpful early buyer journey concept to attract a broad range of potential residents.
One of the most important aspects in any BTR development is community, it is (or at least should be) the cornerstone of success, driving tenancy length growth, accountability within tenancies, word of mouth and desirability. Fundamentally Build to rent developments foster a sense of community better than most PRS buildings, thanks, in part to the fact that only renters live within the development rather than a mixture of tenants and owner occupiers. But that’s not the only factor, by their nature and objectives BTR schemes typically offer and orchestrate more community-driven initiatives with the aim of bringing tenants together and enhancing their tenancy experience. These initiatives can range from movie nights to yoga classes, book clubs to art groups – if there’s enough tenants that want to take up a new interest or rekindle their love for an old hobby, and ample amenity space, site managers will be able to accommodate for these neighbourly groups and projects. Whilst community events is not a “new” concept in creating and marketing a successful BTR development it is an essential, after all – it’s a ideal opportunity for residents to form the bonds that create communities, the talking points that create exceptional word of mouth and the driver behind loyalty and desirability that creates rental growth. Include your community plans and objectives in your BTR marketing strategy assures prospective tenants that finding likeminded residents will be a breeze, and that there will always be plenty of opportunities to explore new activities within the comfort of their own development.
Whereas traditionally PRS properties may have access to a few basic communal facilities, BTR developments offer a variety of amenities that are right on resident’s doorsteps. A recent report from JLL indicates that concierge services, cycle storage and terraces or gardens come as standard in most build to rent developments, but other premium features also featured in many developments, especially those seeking to stand out or compete more effectively. From gyms to co-working spaces, cinema rooms and guest suites, BTR properties are often well equipped with additional features that can be used as a USP in your marketing strategy. It’s worth noting though that amenities themselves don’t “sell themselves” and it’s important to connect the dots between feature and benefit across all channels, including at let up period, ensuring your agent is well versed on the benefits and communicating them well goes a long way. Marketing your amenities needs to be more about lifestyle than “feature” – for example, a gym on site will mean that tenants will be able to save money on their gym membership but also avoid the 60 minute round trip and hassle of getting up early. A swanky residents lounge will help residents enjoy cost-effective nights in, be able to welcome and host family and friends in a warm inviting and complimentary facilities. A co-working space could mean a better work life balance without the commute and all without leaving their building. Yes, amenities are here to stay but how you market your BTR development and its amenities could make the difference between an 80% occupancy and a waiting list of residents ready to move in.
With BTR developments typically being new build, developers are able to harness and implement the latest technologies and innovations to make their developments as sustainable as possible. Whilst sustainable tech and practices aren’t always the most cash flow friendly they can go a long way to differentiating your site from your competitors.
Research indicates that 70% of tenants react positively to sustainability measures, with this number due to increase as the current energy crisis sees electricity bills skyrocket. As such, many BTR schemes are marketing themselves as the greener alternative to more outdated properties that may have poor EPC’s, old boilers and sub-standard insulation. Not only are modern buildings fully equipped with the materials and tools to provide better EPC ratings in line with the government’s new rules, but they also integrate more interesting green initiatives. We’ve seen easy recycling schemes, integrated smart thermostats, smart water management, communal facilities running on solar power, and occupancy sensors, all of which help new developments get closer to carbon neutrality. By referencing your integrated green schemes when marketing your BTR, you will be able to demonstrate a sense of climate consciousness whilst simultaneously making it easy for your tenants to make a meaningful impact on the environment if they choose to rent at your development.
With years of experience in the BTR landscape, we’ve watched this promising property sector grow, and understand what tenants want from their next rental property. Whether you’re looking for sector insights, want to foster a meaningful sense of community, or are looking for a BTR management company that can remove the hassle from the day to day running of your development, we have you covered. Contact VICI by Centrick using the form below and a member of our team will be in contact with you shortly:
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