What amenities attract the best tenants?

52 Replies

I've seen in other threads that a lot of landlords basically always include a dishwasher and tile the shower, even for lower end properties. I'm wondering how BP feels about other things like washer/dryer, a/c, garbage disposal, etc.

I'm very new to this, and I'm sure my idea wasn't the "best" but I replaced all my appliances and left the washer and dryer and its worked well for me.  I'm in a military market so the washer and dyer is very appealing. 

I have found that laundry in the unit/on the premises is something that attracts many tenants. Being in Wisconsin, and you from Pitt, being able to stay in and avoid the cold for almost half of the year, is a big boon. Also, having tile showers in our apartment building is something that has attracted a lot of high quality renters even to our low income areas. 

@Stephen Ellis I do wonder about new appliances. Seems like it is a lot of extra expenses but I personally am happy to Shell out for it if it means better tenants. Thanks for the info
@Calvin Ozanick good to know, thanks. Yeah for me personally, having laundry on site would be important, so I can see that being a big item for the renters as well. I've seen some people avoid including laundry because they don't want to deal with the maintenance, but I'd rather deal with fixing up laundry machines than with bad tenants
 @Steve Emling : The tenants were definitely attracted to the brand new matching black stainless Samsung stuff.  It was a little investment but I caught them at the black Friday sale and saved a average of 40%

Lowe's and Home Depot both run appliance sales in November every year @ 40% off. I always pick up a couple of set's for future rentals. Use a rewards credit card and pay it off immediately ... Bonus! 

@Steve Emling for a washer/dryer I provide hook ups but let the tenant provide their own. You don't need to provide them for two reasons:

1. Tenants with money can afford them. It is only broke tenants who need them included.

2. Good tenants want better quality washer/dryer than the old or cheap ones a landlord will provide.

In my market, central AC is a must. Garbage disposal is neutral in my market. If a property has one, I keep it, but I don't add one if there isn't one there. I guess if a great tenant wanted one, I would add it.

Other things people like:

- Decent size rooms. Some rooms are too small for even a king bed or dressers.

- Large closets - walk in is even better

- 2+ bathrooms 

- New carpet

- Modern appearance (paint, flooring, light fixtures, etc)

- Garage ideal but if not a garage then off street parking

- Cleanliness and overall good repair. I have had people tell me half the properties they look at are dirty and have things broken such as kitchen cabinet drawers. People who don't care about cleanliness are not people you want as tenants.

- Location is most important factor, but the one thing you can't change

Originally posted by @Steve Emling :
@Calvin Ozanick good to know, thanks. Yeah for me personally, having laundry on site would be important, so I can see that being a big item for the renters as well. I've seen some people avoid including laundry because they don't want to deal with the maintenance, but I'd rather deal with fixing up laundry machines than with bad tenants

You are thinking about it backwards. Bad tenants are the ones that can't afford a washer dryer and they will be harder on yours. You can buy a used W/D set for under $200. Most people spend more on a flat screen TV. Hookups is a must, but no reason to provide the actual W/D.

I've got coin-op washers and dryers in all my multi-family properties (in the common areas). 

If I was renting out single-family properties I'd provide a washer and dryer but would have the renter pay the water. 

If you're replacing any outlets you can get the ones that have USB ports (for charging phones/tablets/etc); tenants love those (one generally only needs one of these outlets per unit). 

Due to my market, most of my units don't net a ton of monthly rent so I keep it basic.

I like convenience.

In the 1970s, I was able to rent furnished apartments. I knew unfurnished apartments were less expensive, but I didn't want to deal with the hassles of moving furniture when I changed addresses.

What sold me on my present apartment was the in-unit washer and dryer (stackable). After living in a house for three decades, I was wondering how I would deal with laundry machines (whether on site or at a laundry mat) and the hassles of getting there and having correct change. The stackable machine is not high end and I'm sure the landlord isn't losing money, but the convenience is worth it. Air conditioning is critical where I live.

I'm OK with the built-in dishwasher. I don't use the pool or gym even though I'm paying for them. The rest of my life is minimalism. I bought the few items of furniture I need because the rent-versus-own breakeven was 4 months. When I change addresses, I'll weigh the cost of moving these items or donating them to charity and buying replacement items at my new destination.

Probably the most important amenities, however, are quiet neighbors and a safe neighborhood.  I've had to deal with my share of noisy neighbors over the years and they are not fun.  I also don't like it when people try to break into my home or car either (I was burglarized a couple of times when I first bought my house back in the 1980s).

The less appliances the better however I usually at least supply a stove.  I prefer no central air because it can sometimes cost a lot to maintain. I think tenants are more attracted to price than amenities. If it's $100-200 less than the competition then they will oftentimes overlook the extra amenities or add them themselves.

@Joe Splitrock that is interesting you bring that up and it makes sense. It is funny though. When I was looking for rentals in my college years I only rented from those who did have washer/dryers in the unit because I didn't want to deal with the coin laundry and the people that hang around in there.

In your experience, have their been problems with your units or tenants who have a washer/dryer? 

Speaking only of apartments:

Central A/C

Stackable washer and dryers. I ripped out all of my washer/dryers on renovation and went with coin-op in a common area- happy with my decision though.

Stainless steel kitchen set- stove, over stove microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher.

*Gas stove

Granite/stone counter tops (updated cabinets) (kitchen and bath)

tiled backsplashes (kitchen/bath)

Closet space (closet organizers as well)/ storage space

ceiling fans

New paint.

Clean bathrooms- grout and seals

Originally posted by @Brent Markham :

@Joe Splitrock that is interesting you bring that up and it makes sense. It is funny though. When I was looking for rentals in my college years I only rented from those who did have washer/dryers in the unit because I didn't want to deal with the coin laundry and the people that hang around in there.

In your experience, have their been problems with your units or tenants who have a washer/dryer? 

I can see washer and dryer in apartments. If the target market is young people in college or just out of college, they may not have/want to own a washer dryer. My experience is renting houses to people in their late 20's to 40's and they usually own a washer and dryer. Or you can buy them cheap, so they don't mind if they are not included. 

My biggest problem with washer and dryer has been when they break and the tenant wants to just leave them for me. Everything that comes into my property goes out. 

Washer and dryers just break more often than other appliances in my experience, so I like to avoid them.

@Joe Splitrock thank you for sharing. I am currently trying to close on my first deal and was thinking about my past experiences of what I use to look for. You bring an excellent points on why not to have certain appliances.

Keep in mind that in some areas "bring your own appliances" is simply not the rental culture. No one would buy a W/D since it's unlikely there'd be an empty hookup in their next place.

It's funny, one of the consistent bugaboos for some landlords is ceiling fans. I love them and have had very little trouble in 20 years of installing them. The only problem I can think of is the wireless control died in the only one I ever installed, because there was no wall switch in the room.  It was an easy replacement.

@Johann Jells one of the things I have consistently heard when showing an apartment- "Oooh, ceiling fans! Nice"

@Clifford Paul oh snap that's a good idea too. Especially if I need to get two sets for this duplex
@Joe Splitrock yeah interesting idea to use it as a sort of screen for tenants. Plus then I get to save some money which is always nice
@Karl B. Never thought about those USB outlets but I'm sure some people love those
@Patrick M. I personally love ceiling fans and would definitely look for a rental with them if I was renter. Good to know I'm not the only one

I am all about W&D, garbage disposal, ceiling fans, usb outlets, nest (in SoCal we have the central air so they can set it to their preferred temperature and also on eco mode so they know they're saving money on energy bill)... I want to attract the upper 80% of tenants in any area. If I can cash flow the amenity to the rental property, I'm in! My new thing lately is to install a fanlight and install a dimmer switch with it. Replacing a light switch with a motion light switch, like garage or closet. Something to be said about the reaction of a tenant with a motion/light switch.

 I really want to strive for a great tenant landlord relationship to help improve the stigma of real estate investor, and not "slum lord". 

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