Delaying restores to save money and dehumanising your holders … Adam Forrest becomes a virtual proprietor and learns some interesting and depressing lessons
Building my first high-rise tower wasnt too difficult. I threw up some studio apartment, fixed them up with strength and phone lines, arranged for a rubbish accumulation, and welcomed my first tenants. I parcelled the people in, stacked the units, and the profits soon began to pile up nicely.
Its fun being a virtual landowner. Ive been playing Project Highrise, a PC and Mac real estate administration simulation, since video games release in September. It demonstrates cash-strapped renters like me a chance to indulge the wild fantasize of owning property. It also offers members of Generation Rent some insight into how real-world landlords and larger developers actually do business.
Despite its cutesy figure, 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 obligation before your renters can provide a steady revenue stream. Before too long, youre hiring consultants to hall city hall for a metro terminal and wished to know whether prestige artwork in the hallway might lure higher-paying residents.
In becoming a digital Donald Trump, I learned some interesting, if somewhat depressing exercises. For one thing, its costly to lose tenants. You dont want a daytime 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 better to stop all current holders happy, if you can. But sterilizing up occupied plains that have turned grimy is also expensive, it is therefore worth trying to hold out as long as possible without doing repairs.
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