If you’re thinking about investing in commercial real estate, don’t buy office space.
That’s one part of the Santa Rosa real estate market that continues to suffer post-pandemic.
A large majority of workers continue to work from home. The remote work trend that took off during the worst days of the pandemic seems to be sticking around. While some companies are eagerly bringing their team members back into the office, a lot of companies are sticking with the work-from-home benefit. It seems to keep their employees happy and it often cuts down on a lot of overhead.
Including office space. There’s less of a need for it.
The remote working trend has impacted housing markets, too.
There has been an especially positive impact on the Santa Rosa rental market. More and more people are leaving larger and more expensive cities like San Francisco in order to live and work in places that are less expensive and better-suited for that desirable work/life balance.
Santa Rosa is a great option for workers who may be keeping their jobs in San Francisco or Silicon Valley, but are not necessarily required to show up at the office every day. In markets like ours, there is plenty of entertainment, recreation, and a great scene for food, nightlife, and fun. It fits the needs and desires of nearly every tenant demographic.
In today’s blog, we’re talking about how to leverage this trend and make your Santa Rosa rental properties more attractive to these new tenants who are coming to town thanks to their ability to work remotely.
Remote Work is More than a Trend
As a real estate investor, you need to think about your tenants as remote workers because most of them are. This is more than a trend – it’s essentially here to stay.
McKinsey & Company recently released the results of their study, The American Opportunity Survey, which asked workers about their preference for remote work.
According to the study, 58 percent of Americans reported having the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week. Thirty-five percent of respondents report having the option to work from home five days a week.
These respondents represent a lot of different job types, geographic regions, and economic sectors.
Another of the survey’s revelations: when people have the chance to work remotely, 87 percent of them take it. That tells you everything you need to know about the future of the workforce and why your rental property has to be prepared to welcome these tenants.
It’s About Quality of Life
Historically, American workers had always gravitated towards the cities where the most jobs could be found. This explained why New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major metropolitan areas attracted so many people. These were the places to live if you wanted to be sure you had a good job.
That’s no longer true.
You can have a job in New York but live in Texas. You can have a job in Seattle or San Francisco and live in the Sonoma Valley. Remote working means your tenants can be based anywhere and work for a company that’s in a different city.
Sonoma County covers a vast amount of land and offers a lot of opportunities. But, the cities here, such as Santa Rosa, would never be considered a large city. Plenty of people will escape the larger cities in order to live in a smaller, more comfortable community like ours. They’ll appreciate the lower rental prices, the reduction in traffic, and all the entertainment and recreation that they want in a hometown.
Santa Rosa and the surrounding areas are well-positioned for growth, even before remote work began to impact housing markets. The population is growing. New companies are arriving and the local economy is strong.
Santa Rosa Rental Property Trends: “Hospitalizing”
As a rental property owner who hopes to attract remote workers, you may want to familiarize yourself with the concept of ‘hospitalization.’
What does this mean to the rental industry?
This is really about providing hospitality. It’s a term that defines the rising demand for comfort. Tenants who know they’re going to spend more time at home working will require the space and amenities that make them feel more comfortable while they’re working and living in the same space. Experts say the trend will have a major impact on residential development for years to come.
Your tenants who work remotely will want extra space and privacy. They’ll want a place where everything is possible – because it has to be. Their home isn’t just where they eat and sleep and entertain. It’s where they work.
Helping Your Santa Rosa Rental Property Attract Remote Workers
The remote work trend and the high demand for well-maintained rental properties are both good things if you’re a rental property owner in Santa Rosa. You will easily find a large pool of reliable tenants who are eager to rent a home that fits their remote work lifestyle. You can also count on higher rental prices than you may have charged a year or two ago, and that is partly due to remote work and the rising demand for housing in markets throughout Sonoma County.
As local property management experts, we’ve been thinking about how to best position your property to attract these remote workers. Here are some of the things we recommend, based on what this type of tenant is looking for in a rental home.
- Space for Working
Separate working space will be a huge selling point when you’re renting your home to remote tenants. Sure, people who work from home might enjoy sitting on their couch with a laptop or setting up a remote working space in their bedroom. But, having their own dedicated space for all their work-related documents and equipment will be essential.
If your home has a separate room such as a den or a small extra bedroom, you’re well-positioned to attract remote workers. Even if the space is not a dedicated room, you can work with a loft area or an open floor plan that may offer a way to corner off a dedicated working area.
Lots of natural light will help. Consider built-in desks and bookcases or shelving. Extra storage will benefit remote workers, too.
- Tech Availability will be Huge
Your remote working tenants will need a strong internet connection.
Internet is perhaps just as important to remote workers as all the other utilities. They’re going to need the bandwidth to take video phone calls, participate in Zoom meetings, and log into their employer’s networks.
Most rental property owners will leave internet connectivity up to their tenants. They might want to choose their own internet providers. However, you can be a resource by providing recommendations on which local providers offer the best packages and the strongest speeds.
Another way to help your property stand out in the market is by offering Wi-Fi in the rent. This doesn’t have to be forever, but if you offer it as an incentive for the first three months, you’ll get the attention of tenants who will appreciate that they don’t have to worry about establishing their own account immediately after moving in. They’ll have the internet available and working so they can get started on day one.
Consider some of the additional technology you might be able to offer. Smart home tech is becoming more and more popular, and remote workers looking for a new home will appreciate technology upgrades such as video doorbells, digital keys, and the ability to sync thermostats, appliances, and security devices to their phones via an app.
- Pet-Friendly Rental Homes
Remote workers have pets. One of the benefits of working from home is that they can spend more time with their furry family members. During the pandemic, pet ownership rose. Your tenants are definitely looking for a home where their animals are welcomed.
- Quiet Neighborhoods
Remote working tenants will need quiet.
Not only are they concentrating on their own work, but they’re also holding meetings in their homes and following online webinars and conferences. Distractions need to be minimal. Are your walls soundproof? Do you have a lot of trees and green spaces that provide a buffer between the home and the outside noise? These things will be beneficial to your plan for attracting remote workers.
- Competitive Rental Values
Rents are moving up all across the country, and that includes Santa Rosa. You should set a rental value that allows for a healthy profit, and you should definitely list your rental home at a price that meets the market demands. But, don’t go too high. Staying competitive will allow you to fill your vacancy quickly. Get a well-qualified tenant into your home as soon as you can, and then work hard to retain them.
The Santa Rosa housing market is strong. If you own a rental property here or you’re thinking about investing in some real estate, you’re going to benefit from the trend of remote working. We’d be happy to talk more about this. We can help you choose an appropriate investment property or help you update your own to reach this important tenant demographic. Please contact us at Prestige Real Estate & Property Management. We manage homes in Sonoma County, including Santa Rosa, Windsor, Sebastopol, Petaluma, and Rohnert Park.