Landlording & Rental Properties

The Top 7 Rental Amenities Quality Tenants Want

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Finance, Personal Development
29 Articles Written

When I was a renter, there were a few things I needed from a place. Not all amenities were important to me, but many are. Here’s what most renters are looking for and why I make it a point to provide the optional amenities.

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The Top 7 Amenities Renters Want

1. Location, Location, Location

Does this place have easy access to roadways? Can I bike to or otherwise easily access grocery stores? Will my commute be reasonable for my preferences? Is this area safe? Are the school districts acceptable?

These are all questions renters are going to ask when looking for a quality place to live. You don’t necessarily need to provide all of these to have a rental that performs well, but they are certainly things to consider.

2. Parking

The properties I own that have covered parking (garages mostly) are in very high demand. Covered parking is big in places like Florida, where it rains often (especially near salt water, which can be damaging to cars), Northern states with plenty of tough winter weather, and areas like Colorado where remnants of the last few hail storms are seen on a few cars throughout the Denver metro area.


3. Private Spaces

Things like a fenced-in yard go a long way, especially if you happen to be pet-friendly or if these tenants have young children. Many places also provide extra storage on site to assist with the moving process or to otherwise hold excess sports gear if the place doesn’t provide something like covered parking or garages.

Relate: 4 Steps to Boost Your Bottom Line by Improving Tenant Retention

4. Unit Readiness

No one wants to move into a project. The unit needs to be clean and in working condition. Sometimes things are overlooked during move-out and move-in inspections, though. The intent is to cut down on that so the tenant can be left to unpacking instead of scheduling additional visits. Making sure older HVAC units, electrical, plumbing and the like are properly maintained will fall into this category as well.

5. Unit Upgrades

The nicer a property is, the more tenants you can attract. Stainless steel and energy-efficient appliances go a long way to giving a good first impression, and following local trends will help a great deal as well. Get rid of that dark green or maroon carpet. In many cases, there’s some really nice hard wood flooring under them anyway!

If you have an old, tired bathroom, dress it up with a nice vanity, newer sink, and updated fixtures. These are minimal repairs that can dress up an entire room. When upgrades are done, figure out how much more you can charge as a result and how long it will take to make that money back. If it means you provide a higher quality product and hopefully receive a better tenant pool, why not go for it?

6. Included Appliances

Everyone has their own preference. I heard a BiggerPockets Podcast episode once where the landlord rented each appliance for a certain price and otherwise had a very low base rent. I always choose to include a washer and dryer in the unit (or shared space for multifamilies) for many reasons. If I can find a unit with them already, great  If the unit doesn’t have them, that’s one of the first orders of business.

Related: The Top 10 Rental Features That Attract Cream of the Crop Tenants

7. A Great Renting Experience

As landlords, we are providing a service. Make the effort to respond to maintenance requests promptly. Tenants are looking for peace of mind knowing that if a problem arises, the landlord (or management company) will respond in a timely manner. In fact, I advertise the service as much as the rental when promoting the place. I’ve lived in apartment complexes where I’m simply a number and where I’d be lucky to see a maintenance request filled within the month. I’ve also lived in a mom-and-pop-managed condo where their son answered all the maintenance requests the next day. In a lot of ways, tenants are interviewing you as much as you’re interviewing them.

So, Why Do I Provide These Amenities?

Easy. The more extra amenities you provide, the larger the amount of quality tenants you will likely attract. I would rather pay a bit more for a property and on the other side, charge a fee for amenities. Hopefully the worst case scenario is that I break even maintaining these appliances with the trade-off of fewer tenant-related headaches. For me, that’s worth it. Garage door needs fixing? Hopefully the extra $10/month in base rent over four years more than pays for that. Fence in the back yard coming loose? Same deal. Ideally in this system, you attract a larger pool of great renters to supplement an already fortified tenant application and approval process. At times, you’ll need to fix or maintain these extra amenities, but in my mind, I’m happy to trade maintenance requests for peace of mind.

What amenities do you strive to provide for your tenants? Which do you think are most in demand in your area?

Let’s chat below!

A longtime writer and consumer of all things related to the FIRE (financial independence retire early) movement, Sarah went from working 50+ hours a week to less than 20 thanks to her real estate i...
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    Nathan Richmond Rental Property Investor from Visalia, CA
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thank you for writing this article. I expect to see a few comments stating how some of these “upgrades” are unnecessary or that some of them won’t bring in any bigger returns; but I look at it from the point of view of what would I like. And much like you said, I think having some of these extras allows you to choose from a larger pool of potential tenants. I see so many landlords say not to put in ceiling fans, and I totally get their argument, but here in the Central Valley of California, where it is 100 degrees for a good chunk of June and all of July, I see it as irresponsible for me not to provide that. I honestly feel some responsibility to make the quality of life for my tenants just a little bit better. I want them to know that they are more than just a check to me at the beginning of every month. Maybe it’s not a great business model, but I can sleep better knowing that maybe I can provide something extra to these people who maybe could not otherwise afford it. I apologize if this is coming off as me saying look at how great I am. I honestly don’t mean it that way. Yes, I ultimately would like to make money from this, retire early, and have a very comfortable lifestyle. I guess we’ll see if the two can coexist. Wish me luck!
    Erin K. Professional from wooster, OH
    Replied over 2 years ago
    We have the same theory and it has served us well. We have a good reputation, and tend to keep tenants for a long time. I think the low turnover and higher tenant class (as a result of being able to charge slightly higher rent) more than makes up for the additional costs. Nice appliances and ceiling fans alone go a long way in my area.
    Patty Kashiwamura Residential Real Estate Broker from Pleasanton, California
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I agree Nathan. I manage a couple of SFR and I always encourage the owners to do upgrades along the way. It protects their investment in the long run, and we get tenants that want to take care like it’s their own home. At the end, it costs us less money to restore.
    Chris Jensen Rental Property Investor from Bettendorf, IA
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Sarah, great article. Each of your 7 items resonated with our own experiences with our rental homes. Our approach was to go into our property search with our target renter in mind. We were basically targeting ourselves 10 years ago since we knew that renter profile the best: young family with 1-2 kids who valued good schooling, move-in ready SFR, fenced in, nice garage, major appliances provided, great renting experience, etc. Worked out perfectly when it came to marketing, and the quality of tenants have been reflective. Thanks for the article.
    Sam P.
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Where’s the data that these are the 7 items tenants want? Is this your opinion or based on fact? From past surveys I’ve read schools, safety, and noise were always on the list as important but I never seen unit upgrades.
    Sam P.
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Where’s the data that these are the 7 items tenants want? Is this your opinion or based on fact? From past surveys I’ve read schools, safety, and noise were always on the list as important but I never seen unit upgrades.
    Zachary Hendricks Rental Property Investor from Conway, AR
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great article! I agree that we need to make sure we’re treating everyone the way we want to be treated.
    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Good list, you have to look at your property as a tenant would when deciding what to buy and what to add/improve. I think a lot of investors forget this.
    Don Taylor New to Real Estate from Raleigh, NC
    Replied 9 months ago
    I would also throw in "Floor Levels" (specifically for multi-units). Some tenants prefer 1st floor units only to make moving in/out easier, and of course some may prefer the upper units instead (which is an advantage because of possible flooding or bugs). Just my 2 cents
    Denise Brown-Puryear from Julian, North Carolina
    Replied 8 months ago
    I so agree. We follow the same model. Whenever we have the occasional vacancy, the response is generally overwhelming. Our reputation precedes us for quick responses (24 hours or less) to maintenance calls (when and if we have them) and our tenants stay with us for several years with increases being no problem. As the saying goes, "you get what you pay for". I love this business as a service and it is reflected in the positive feedback and referrals we continually get from our renters. Great article!
    Julian Gonda Rental Property Investor from San Francisco, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    Great article—enjoyed this read!