Delaying reparations to save money and dehumanising your renters … Adam Forrest becomes a virtual landowner and learns some interesting and depressing lessons
Building my first high-rise tower wasnt difficult and challenging. I threw up some studio apartments, fixed them up with superpower and phone lines, arranged for a rubbish accumulation, and greeted my first holders. I carried the people in, stacked the units, and the profits soon began to heap up nicely.
Its fun being a virtual landlord. Ive been playing Project Highrise, a PC and Mac real estate management simulation, since video games exhaust in September. It dedicates cash-strapped renters like me a chance to pander the wild imagination of owning belonging. It also offers members of Generation Rent some insight into how real-world landowners and largest developers actually do business.
Despite its cutesy form, the game 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 holders can provide a steady revenue stream. Before too long, youre hiring consultants to vestibule city hall for a metro depot and wondering whether cachet artwork in the hallway might captivate higher-paying residents.
In becoming a digital Donald Trump, I learned some fascinating, if somewhat depressing readings. For one thing, its costly to lose tenants. You dont crave a period to go by without any lease; and you dont want to have to reach into your pocket to refurbish an empty flat to make it rentable again. So its excellent to hold all current renters glad, if you are able. But sterilizing up occupied apartments that have grown grimies is likewise expensive, this is why it worth trying to hold out as long as possible without doing repairs.
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