How to design the perfect apartment

Many landlords in Phnom Penh often as me how to improve their apartments or when they are in the design stage of a project what things should they be thinking of to ensure that the final product will attract the highest rent to the broadest number of tenants.

Assuming we are talking about an apartment building rather than a standalone property then the first and probably the most obvious thing is interior design. As your tenants will come form may different countries the design should be the one that appeals to the greatest number of people and for this a simple contemporary design works best. Stay away from bright colours and aim more for soft complementary colour schemes that have a neutral feel allowing the tenants to add their only personality through the additional of artwork and ornaments. Furniture should again be simple in design aiming for comfort over expense, a simple L shaped sofa will appeal to more people than wooden chairs and will also cost less.

Natural light is constantly mentioned by tenants as they view properties, and often they’ll decline an apartment not because of location, price or furnishings but because it’s too dark, nobody ever states it’s too bright. Understanding the movement of the sun and the building that surround your project will allow you to position the windows to maximize the light, don’t assume that bedrooms need to be dark, assume all rooms need light.

One quirk I’ve realized from working here is that my Japanese clients all require a bath-tub and as they are a sizable community here it would be advised to include at least one bath-tub in each apartment. Try and use quality products when fitting out the bathrooms as the money saved in construction when choosing cheaper products may cost you when clients compare apartments during their search.

Your project should aim to have a swimming pool, well equipped gym and secure car parking for at least half the units, many tenants will use tuk tuk’s or moto’s so you don’t need car parking for all. Outdoor space in the form of a balcony / terrace is always advised as most tenants want their own private outdoor space to have a table and chairs to  dine on, some potted plants or even somewhere to get fresh air.

Security is increasingly requested by tenants and the security staff should be visual and never asleep when tenant’s arrive. A peep hole on the main apartment door, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and security bars on the windows are requirements of most embassy’s and the UN so these should be included in each unit. Many tenants don’t pay the rent themselves but rather receive a housing allowance from their employer so it’s best to offer a fully serviced apartment including, internet, cable TV, cleaning so only the water and electric is paid by the tenant.

The management team that you hire is crucially important, remember they are the first staff your potential tenant meets when they first view, they should be well dressed and knowledgeable about all aspects of your apartments and willing to help negotiate any issues that may arise. I’ve taken clients to view apartments at lunch time only to arrive and be told that all the management staff are away to lunch, this simply means that your apartment isn’t considered when the tenant makes their final decision. If you are prepared to spend money to make the best apartment you can then go the extra mile and invest in professional people to run it for you as a well ran building will retain tenants and therefore maximize the income you receive.

If you wish to discuss the design or management of your property I would be happy to give advise on how to ensure you have the perfect apartment.

Bobby Peoples