Delaying mends to save money and dehumanising your holders … Adam Forrest becomes a virtual landowner and learns some interesting and depressing lessons
Building my first high-rise tower wasnt too difficult. I hurled up some studio apartment, secured them up with influence and phone lines, arranged for a rubbish collect, and welcomed my first renters. I packed the people in, stacked the units, and the profits soon began to heap up nicely.
Its fun being a virtual landowner. Ive been playing Project Highrise, a PC and Mac real estate handling pretending, since the games liberate in September. It yields cash-strapped renters like me a chance to indulge 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 appearance, 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 indebtednes before your tenants can provide a steady revenue stream. Before too long, youre hiring consultancy firms to foyer city hall for a metro station and wished to know whether standing 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 epoch to go by without any rent; 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 exclude all current holders glad, if you can. But tying up occupied flats that have turned grimy is too expensive, so its worth trying to hold out as long as possible without doing repairs.
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