Delaying reparations to save money and dehumanising your tenants … Adam Forrest becomes a virtual landlord and learns some interesting and depressing lessons
Building my first high-rise tower wasnt too difficult. I shed up some studio apartment, fixed them up with influence and phone lines, arranged for a rubbish collection, and welcomed my first tenants. I carried the person or persons 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 the games secrete in September. It yields cash-strapped renters like me a chance to pander the wild fantasy of owning owned. It also offers members of Generation Rent some insight into how real-world landowners and larger 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 renters can provide a steady revenue stream. Before too long, youre hiring consultancy firms to vestibule city hall for a metro station and wished to know whether prestige artwork in the hallway might attract higher-paying residents.
In becoming a digital Donald Trump, I learned some interesting, if slightly depressing lessons. For one thing, its costly to lose renters. You dont crave a daytime to go by without any hire; and you dont want to have to reach into your pocket to refurbish an empty flat to make it rentable again. So its best to save all current tenants joyous, if you are able to. But choosing up occupied plains that have turned grimy is too expensive, it is therefore worth trying to hold out as long as possible without doing repairs.
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