When vacancy rates are low, the demand for tenants can be high. One way to make your rentals stand out above the crowd and stay filled longer is to offer amenities that tenants want in a rental. If you know what a tenant wants in a rental, then you can either retrofit your apartments and houses or use it as a checklist when buying other investment properties.
Would you like to know what the top 10 features that renters want? Here is what we have found:
A recent study completed by FIREPAW shows that 75% of renters either have a pet or want a pet. There is a growing demand for pets among tenants. Pet owners tend to stay longer and will thus reduce your vacancy rates. Many landlords are squeamish to accept pets out of a fear of damage to the unit. Check out our recent blog article entitled “Should You Accept Pets? Yes!” that addresses this issue.
WASHER AND DRYER
On the top of a tenants list of wants in a rental unit, laundry facilities are the #1. We all live busy lives and the last thing a tenant wants to do is to have to haul their clothes to a nasty laundromat. If you want to hit the jackpot, install a washer and dryer within the unit – or at least the hookup for one. If the unit lacks the space or it does not fit in the layout, consider creating a laundry room. Installing pay-per-use machines is a nice way to create a little increase income and offset the additional utility costs.
North Carolina has more than its fair share of hot days. Offering central air can be the one feature that will make your unit highly desirable. In fact, not offering air conditioning in a unit can be a deal breaker. As long as the units are wired to that unit, the day-to-day costs of running the unit will be the responsibility of the tenant.
We love our toys and holiday decorations but in small rental spaces, it can be a challenge to find space to store it all. A simple storage closet or even a basement locker can go a long way in satisfying this need. Check with your contractor to see if there are any “dead” areas in the walls that could be converted into storage spaces.
STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES
If you want to make your unit look more modern and be able to demand top rental dollar, install stainless steel appliances. At the least, make sure all of the appliances match. Nothing says “cheap landlord” like mismatched bargain appliances.
Offering on-site parking is not just a matter of convenience, it can be a security concern as well. This is especially so if your units are located in urban area. If your rentals do not offer the space, can you negotiate a parking space with a nearby neighbor or business?
Tenants can easily recognize if a rental has not been updated for a long time. It may even lead them to question the reliability of the landlord or property management company. Upgrading a unit can be quite simple and cost effective. Consider installing modern fixtures, switches and hardware. A fresh coat of paint and new trim can do wonders to a rental. It will not go unnoticed.
OPEN FLOOR PLANS
Open floor plans is a feature that has stayed the test of time. An open floor plan can make a small space seem much bigger – and thus justify your rent. If you own an older cramped unit, consider consulting with a structural engineer and contractor to see if there is a feasible way to open up the kitchen to the living room.
This is a feature that most tenants would prefer if asked but few are willing to pay a rental premium for. That means that though you would not want to go out of your way to upgrade to a more energy efficient appliance, when it comes time to replace them make sure that they are energy efficient. Do not be afraid to inform your prospective tenants of the savings they will gain.
Most single family homes will have some sort of backyard, porch or patio. Work to make these easy to maintain and inviting. Multi-family units frequently offer private balconies which are great. Providing a small picnic area with a built-in barbeque can be a real plus for many apartment dwellers.
Many of these features that tenants want in a rental are not too difficult to provide. If you are planning on renovating or updating your rentals in the future, make sure you take into consideration what your tenants want and then design the units accordingly. Not only will your units rent out faster, your tenants will stay longer but you will be able to charge higher rent and recoup your investment quicker.
Photo Credits: Checkmark by Master Isolated Images and cartoon checklist by Iosphere, www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net