astro turf gardens and wooden window shutters are low maintenance

Posted by Kelly Walsh, Head of Lettings at Roy Brooks Estate Agency

I've spent close to a decade now in lettings and still love every day. I've seen the market develop over the years and the biggest change of all has been in the refinement of tenant expectations. Every year, they get higher and I cannot stress enough how refreshing it is when a landlord goes the extra mile to meet them.

East Dulwich has always been popular, but we now have a wealthier class of tenant moving into south east London. They're asking for Peckham - the new Shoreditch (don't you know?) and Nunhead "Village" (has a Green so it qualifies)! These tenants are willing to pay high rents too. South east London now has everything that is considered to be 'cool': pop-up boutiques, open roof-top bars, and eateries attracting uber-trendy Londoners and young families. Everyone seems to be flying the East End, Canary Wharf and Hackney to join the south London set. They've discovered our great schools, easy transport links, huge green spaces and lots more.

A decade ago, a good clean property 5 minutes from a station flew out the window, but the average age at which a prospective buyer expects to own a property has risen from 28-yrs-old a decade ago to around 35-years-old now.* Nowadays nothing less will do than the kind of property these renters aspire to owning.

Tenants love period properties and original features. Equally they love clean modern lines, wood floors and a new refurb. Home-cooking and entertaining are routine social events these days so these tenants require a modern kitchen /diner, good working appliances and a dishwasher - really, is this any longer a luxury?!

As for the bathroom...Everyone loves a bath so keep it if you can, but showers are ESSENTIAL - don't even think even think about letting a property without one. If the water pressure is poor then fit a pump, it's worth it.

Landlords should think more Heals and less Argos when refurb'ing. Out with the beech units, laminate floors, poor lighting and cheap Venetian blinds and in with well-thought out kitchens and engineered wood floors. Consider plantation blinds (they always look good and they'll last years). Outside, give a thought to AstroTurf - it keeps everyone's costs down, remains in great condition and requires zero maintenance.

* source: Post Office Mortgages