Delaying repairs to save money and dehumanising your tenants … Adam Forrest becomes a virtual landowner and learns some interesting and depressing lessons
Building my first high-rise tower wasnt difficult and challenging. I shed up some studio apartments, secured them up with capability and phone lines, arranged for a rubbish collection, and greeted my first tenants. I parcelled the person or persons in, stacked the human rights unit, and the profits soon began to pile up nicely.
Its fun being a virtual landlord. Ive been playing Project Highrise, a PC and Mac real estate handling simulation, since video games liberate in September. It makes cash-strapped renters like me a chance to pander the wild fiction of owning owned. It also offers members of Generation Rent some insight into how real-world landowners and largest developers actually do business.
Despite its cutesy impression, video games is surprisingly detailed and utterly unsentimental. You begin the game by managing the costs of building infrastructure, and trying to avoid taking on too much bank debt before your tenants can provide a steady revenue stream. Before too long, youre hiring consultants to hallway city hall for a metro terminal and wondering whether prestige artwork in the hallway might attract higher-paying residents.
In becoming a digital Donald Trump, I learned some interesting, if slightly depressing assignments. For one thing, its costly to lose tenants. You dont crave a daylight to go by without any payment; and you dont want to have to reach into your pocket to refurbish an empty flat to make it rentable again. So its good to keep all current renters happy, if you can. But sterilizing up occupied apartments that have shifted grimies is likewise expensive, it was therefore worth trying to hold out as long as possible without doing repairs.
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