For many years, renters have been stuck living between the white walls, white blinds, the not so comfy brown carpet, and fake looking tiled-linoleum flooring that never seem to look clean. It had become a very well-known fact that no matter what you do, you were not allowed to paint… (But it was always worth asking though wasn’t it). So the only way to really give your place some color was by hanging colorful pictures, wall designs, putting rugs in randomly odd places just to turn your ‘unit’ into more of a home style atmosphere. Typically, once the lease was up, tenants decide they have lost all interest in their apartment, and they’re going to move out and into another apartment…with same white walls, white blinds, not so comfy brown carpet, just a shade darker, and so on. However, if you could’ve painted the walls and make it actually feel like a home, would you have stayed longer? In most cases, many renters say it would have made a world of difference! From a landlord’s perspective, due to the tendency of other renters, they almost expect tenants to move out at the end of the lease, so why spend all the extra time and money to repaint them back to white? Hmmm… sounds like a catch 22.
Finally, the newer rental communities have taken a turn-key approach to the situation and really focused on what renters want in their home. Just a few simple improvements can make a ‘renting’ life style a desirable one, and has proven that those 1 year lease tenants have turned into long term tenants. Whether you have an older or newer complex, these are a few of the most common features and amenities renters look for when searching for their new home. By applying a few of these to your rental community, your community has changed from the ordinary to the extraordinary!
Flooring- Plush carpeting, laminate wood flooring, actual tiled floors (not the fake laminate). In fact, some renters prefer there be NO carpet at all! No matter how well you clean carpet, it’s never truly clean. Carpet is full of dust mites, molds and other residues that are a hazard to a person’s health. Carpets should be professionally cleaned after each move-out and replaced at least every 5-7 years. If the last tenant had pets, it wouldn’t hurt to replace it, just in case the next tenant have severe allergies to pets.
Painted Walls- Offer them a few different options of colors they can pick from. Whether it’s throughout the apartment, or just an accent wall, they will be pleased.
Washer/Dryer - an in-unit washer and dryer is preferred. However, if you can’t supply them in all, offer them in a number of select units. Otherwise, making sure there are facilities available on each floor or end of the building.
Plenty of Closet Space- Other than a first time renter who just left their parents’ house, a majority of renters have an abundance of household items we need to store away. Offering plenty of large closet space will give the tenant the ability to avoid clutter lying around.
Newer Matching Appliances - There’s nothing more unattractive than having a bright white fridge, Bone white oven, a black microwave and a yellowish colored dishwasher from the 80’s. Yes, they might all work, but 80% of the time, it’s what deters your future renter and sends them somewhere else. Most renters prefer the stainless steel appliances. However, if that’s not in your budget, you should be safe as long as you stick to one color.
Central Air- in the hot summer days, nothing feels better than coming home to a nice cool environment! However, if you have a family room air conditioning unit, that little machine has to work so hard to get the whole place cool. When they break down, not only is your tenant sweating their tale off and hounding you to do something about it, but now you have to figure in the replacement cost. Air condition units can also be a health hazard, especially for those with allergies, causing sinus troubles and severe colds. When prospective renters arrive for a showing, seeing the ac units on the outside of the building can lead them to the parking lot exit. If you budget allows for it. It’s time to go Central!
Lighting- Most renters, not all, but most, find appropriate lighting as a necessity in a home. Providing plenty of windows, and light fixtures is a great way go! Of course, some apartment units might face a direction where they don’t get the best daylight, but the comforting feeling of having plenty of windows and light fixtures is well worth it in the long run.
Renovations- Over the years, the apartment standards have changed dramatically! In ten years or so, the standards will, again, be completely different. Renovations are something you know you will have to do, and they are important if you want to keep up with the new! Lets say a renter is interested in your complex, which is 15 years old, and the one across the street, which just opened. Both properties are about the same rent and size. So which property is that renter most likely going to pick? That is when renovations come into play. It’s important to stay on top with the competition. They don’t have to be extremely drastic and expensive. Just a few simple updates is all it truly takes!
Pets/ No Pets- for as many people want a pet friendly community, there are just as many that don’t want to live in a pet friendly community. So what do you do? Consider your property, is it conducive to having pets? Is there space for dogs to be walked or putting in a dog run? Are there appropriate places for a litter box in the units? Is the ventilation from unit to unit connected so that someone with allergies may be affected by the neighbor’s cat? If the property can handle pets put the proper regulations and amenities in place. Charge the necessary fees and deposits, install a dog run in the back so not everyone has to see it but is available. Provide your regulations to all tenants with pets and enforce them, don’t allow dogs to be tied up unattended, make sure they are cleaned up after etc. In this way you can do your best to keep pet owners and non pet owners happy.
These are just a few of the most common features renters are looking for. Location of the property and adequate parking are an obvious, but when you look a little deeper, these are just of the few modifications that set today’s standards of apartment living. If your property can relate to the one above, with the white walls, white blinds, not so comfy brown carpet, and fake looking tiled-linoleum, it’s time to take that turn-key approach, one step at a time, and give your rental community a new desirable look that stands out in the publics eye! Once they walk in, they will feel right at home!
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