Home ownership is becoming increasingly unaffordable, with elevated house prices and wages not able to keep up with the rising cost of living. It is predicted that by 2021, one in four households in Britain will be renting privately. For many families, buying a home is simply not an option but it doesn’t stop them needing a high-quality home in which they feel secure for the long term and able to put down roots.
However, that’s not the full story. In fact, renting, like many purchasing decisions, is now becoming a lifestyle choice and potentially an aspiration due to the complete flexibility that it offers.
Sigma Capital Group plc, which markets its build to rent homes under the Simple Life brand, offers renters a whole new experience which brings together the best of both worlds; having all the perks of a private rental with the added excitement, for their earliest customers, of being able to choose their own plot and even watch it being built.
Key to Simple Life’s success is providing customers with a range of house styles, which accord with their current life stages, allowing both couples and families to grow and retirees to downsize, without the hassle of buying and selling. Customers can visit show homes to see what their future home will ultimately look like, how it will work for them and building that sense of excitement which they will take with them as they move in. The show homes and plot choice are akin to what those buying a new home would experience. In fact, many Simple Life communities are on shared sites, where those renting and those who have bought sit side-by-side in identical properties.
Rob Sumner, residential investment director at Sigma Capital Group, said: “Our aim is that Simple Life customers get an experience which far outstrips the standard expectations of the sector; with added perks and small touches which add to the experience. Amongst the advantages, Simple Life provides welcome boxes for new customers, containing all the daily essentials to allow them to settle in quickly as well as access to a host of affiliate discounts and offers. Simple Life also provides useful how-to guides for all the new accessories in the homes, saving customers the stress of working out how their new oven works or searching for manuals after the hectic time of moving into their new home. We’re intent on resetting the rental experience dial, and the peace of mind this offers is invaluable.”
What’s more, a dedicated Simple Life 24/7 customer service and maintenance contact number means that Simple Life’s handymen are just a quick phone call away. Creating an attractive environment around the houses is important, so particular attention is paid to landscaping, with plenty of tree lined streets and open spaces – Simple Life even manages its customers’ front gardens so tenants can enjoy the greenery without having to manage it, creating time in otherwise busy lives.
A sense of community is something that money can’t buy, which is why Simple Life works to create a friendly atmosphere at its developments, organising a host of events such as Easter egg hunts, Santa dashes and pizza nights, giving customers the opportunity to get to know each other in an informal and fun setting.
“Location is also really important”, says Rob Sumner. “Our developments offer much-needed TLC in areas where our homes are being built, whilst we also choose to build in areas that offer tenants excellent transport links and good local schools. What’s more, we commit to investing in the local communities. For example, as part of our ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work, this year we’ve donated £40,000 to five schools that are near to some of our developments. Offering each school £8,000 has meant that they could make a range of improvements, including better playgrounds, reading areas and libraries, as well as sensory play areas and gifts for the children, such as books on their birthdays and theatre trips.”
“Finally, customers have nil deposit options, as well as the option of fixed term or rolling contracts, all of which help to speed up the application process and ensure flexibility.”
Well designed, unique and high-quality homes are no longer exclusive to having a mortgage and with renting on the rise, Sigma and Simple Life are leading the way in the PRS market.