Our Co-living series:
- Part 1: Co-living – A Fresh Take on Shared Housing
- Part 2: Co-living Excels in Solving the Problems of the Modern Tenant
- Part 3: The Digital Nomad – A New Type Of Tenant
- Part 4: The Business Opportunity of Co-living
- Part 5: How Co-living Uses Economy of Scale to Generate Profit
Co-living is nothing particularly new. Like every great business idea, it’s already been done before (to an extent). In the UK particularly, people have been sharing flats for decades to cut on the cost of living. HMOs already comprise a big portion of the rented industry, especially in crowded areas.
However, sharing spaces with other people you don’t know can and will be a daunting task a lot of the time you do it. Especially, since most people living in a flat-share or a house-share don’t really want to, but it’s the only thing they can afford.
This is because most HMOs were never built to accommodate separate households or individuals, but were converted to fit the governmental standards with minimum investment. Landlords don’t want to invest more money than they need to, in order to profit, which is where they fall short of addressing the needs of the market.
The more problems you can solve, the more opportunities there are to profit. Co-living buildings are redesigned to solve specific problems for a specific type of resident. It’s definitely not perfect for every renter, but the digital nomad should feel very comfortable and happy. Here are the solutions that co-living emphasises.
Privacy – Every resident of the building has their own personal room and bathroom. The rooms come in different sizes so there is coverage for every preference…and budget. There are even full-blown apartments if you demand your own facilities and don’t like to share everything all the time.
Social integration – Co-living is very social. Working away from the office can be very lonely, especially if you’re single. In fact, loneliness is a key problem for digital nomads. Co-living’s main ingredient is the community. The floor plan of the building is designed to increase interaction when using the shared spaces and make living with other people fun and desirable.
However, the designers also realise people want to have seclusion when they feel like it, so there are additional paths and entrances that bypass the shared rooms.
Move in ready – These properties are fully furnished. Residents can move in with just two bags and will need nothing else as all facilities are fully equipped for use. Digital nomads will be delighted because they don’t want to invest in furniture, appliances, supplies or dinning sets.
The move in ready approach takes the worst out private renting. Furnished properties on the market typically only include a few key pieces of furniture and electric appliances. Everything else you have to bring in with you, or buy.
This is perfectly counterproductive for this demographic, which want’s to invest in their life and not their house.
Built in facilities – One of the most impressive aspects of co-living buildings is the many additional features and facilities available to all residents. HMOs typically include a kitchen and a living room and you all have to get along and make space for yourselves.
Co-living buildings include several kitchens, dining rooms, leisure spaces, games rooms, work rooms to setup a laptop, laundry rooms and a gym. Some buildings go as far as including events spaces, spa and gardens and terraces, restaurants and cafes, cinemas and a library.
These buildings are designed to offer hotel and resort grade amenities included in the rent. And because these features are offered at a scale (for all residents) the cost are kept manageable and can compete with costs at offsite competitors.
Built in features – Another great solution for people who want none of the hassle is to pay one bill for everything. This includes all bills for power, heating and air conditioning. Furthermore, the entire building is supplied with commercial grade internet which is key for digital nomads who mostly work on the internet.
If you never had you important business skype call interrupted by a wacky ISP that takes hours to restore your connection, you live in a bliss.
Furthermore, there is scheduled cleaning of the entire premises. This also includes getting your bed linens changed. You still have to do at least a little bit of cleaning, mainly after yourself. But the cleaning staff makes sure you have all this time to do whatever you like, instead of doing maintenance.
This gives residents the hotel experience everybody likes, while it keeps the building feel like home.
Flexibility – Most co-living buildings offer great flexibility for moving in and out. There is often no deposit required, aside from a holding fee which gets deducted from the rent. Also, residents can move for short periods like a month, sometimes even weeks.
This is essential to digital nomads who really like to have the option to travel and go to different locations all the time. Some nomads roam the country, others the world. In all cases, they rely on the flexibility of their living arrangements. Renters particularly experience problems because most landlords want to lock the contract for a minimum of 6 or 12 months.
If the renter wants to move out and trek Indonesia half through their contract, they will go seriously out of pocket due to all penalty fees and likely lose their deposit as well. In the end, renting a private property becomes really unaffordable if you have to move frequently, even if you earn a good income.
Our Co-living series: