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.
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.
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?
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