Adding value to a distressed multi-unit

5 Replies

Hey guys/gals,

I’m looking for additional ideas for “value add items” for apartment complexes please. (Basically items where one can add value to the complex which are currently not being done at the complex).

Here is what I have so far:

- property updates / repairs

- fast, friendly customer service and management

- modernizing through tech (online payments, CC payments, (thanks Jake and Gino for the tip)

- asking tenants what they would like to see more of (perhaps any current multiunit owners can send a mailer to their current tenants asking how they would like the see the property improved!) =)

- increased parking

- shaded parking

- landscaping and upkeep of landscaping

Any others?


PS: My partner and I are looking for more brokers, rehabbers, private money investors, mortgage brokers who specialize in multifamily units in Southern California. Please connect me with on BP. Thanks!

The list is endless if it adds enough value that the residents want to pay for it to boost your ancillary income, or boosts your NOI in any way you add value.

Just a few:

- Laundry 

  • Coin laundry
  • Detergent/laundry essentials in vending machine in common area laundry rooms. 
  • Rent indivual W/D to each unit


  • Garage parking
  • Covered parking
  • prime spot parking
  • Just plain old charge for parking


  • Interior units upgrades 
  • Common area renovation
  • Exterior upgrades for curb appeal

-Vending machines

  • In common areas such as exercise room, pool house, laundry or leasing office

-Trash pick up service

  • In high end buildings they have a service where you can set trash outside your door and for a fee maintenance will go around each night and collect it so the resident doesn't  have to carry it to the dumpster. 

-Pet rent

  • Depending on your building you can add income by allowing pets and charging for them. 

-Storage units

  • Small closet size or even garages. 

-Sub metering of utilities or RUBS

-Renegotiating  all operating expenses

Survey your residents and ask "What would make your living experience better here at _______" This will open the door for ideas and they use your creative to build on those suggestion and figure out how to solve a these problems your residents have. 

Add a sauna somewhere

The only value added items you should ever consider are those that will increase the income from the property. If adding something does not allow you to charge more rent it is only costing you money. That is not a good business approach to rental housing. 

Do not confuse rental housing with operating a hotel. Put a safe reliable roof over the tenants heads and collect as much rent as possible.

@Thomas S. has a good list for you, those are all things that you can charge extra for. If you have garages and tenants do not want to pay for them, try renting to a car collector or a contractor.

The list is a great reminder of possible amenities, but I would be careful about making tenants feel they are being nickled and dimed.  

For example, in my town the city regs require one off-street covered parking spot for each unit.  Therefore, the spot (whether carport or garage) comes with the unit.  There should not be an extra charge.  If you allow pets, great.  Have a pet deposit, but I wouldn't charge extra rent on the pretext of a pet.

I like vending machines.  They give the tenants a choice of either buying from the machine or buying from a regular store while giving the landlord a little extra income.

I also like the idea of a survey.  Sometimes, providing more amenities at no extra cost to tenants more than pays for itself in tenant satisfaction and loyalty.

In C or D neighborhoods, I have seen multi-family units here and there that seem misplaced.  The landlords and tenants have found a way to break the viscous cycle that keeps most C and D properties looking like C and D properties.  All tenants appreciate a nice place to live with a landlord who appears to put people before profit.  When that happens, the profit naturally follows, and with fewer landlord headaches. The problem with most C and D properties is they suffer from the broken window syndrome.  Like attracts like and begets like.

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