Recent articles about what renters want, and the amenities that they prefer, all say pretty much the same thing…they want what homeowners want. Renters do not want to take a back seat just because they are unable or unwilling to purchase a home.
With this in mind, what is the value to investors to factor in tenant amenities that may not be offered at the present time? First, some things are simple, not terribly expensive, and they will draw new tenants while keeping them for longer lease periods as well. If they involve property improvements, there are probable tax advantages, and the property should increase in value accordingly.
What are some of the amenities today’s property owners are offering?
Security systems – Multi-family units can be outfitted with security systems for little or no cost these days. Security firms are likely to install them cheaply, or even at no cost, if they expect to receive ongoing monitor fees. You offer the system, and the tenant subscribes for the monitoring.
Upscale kitchens – As it becomes more expensive to go out to eat, both due to gas prices and restaurant price increases, a lot more cooking and entertaining is being done in the home. Upgrading kitchen appliances with gourmet features has been proven to be a tenant-grabber.
Washer and dryer – One survey indicated that 54% of renters wanted a washer and dryer provided, citing not so much the cost, but the hassle of moving and reconnecting them.
At-the-door trash pickup – No kidding! One national company focusing on apartment projects, offers owners the ability to provide their door-to-door disposal service at a profit. They pick up trash at the apartment doorstep and take care of disposal at the appropriate location. Their marketing department tells us that landlords can realize increased rents and retention that result in a profit of $120 to $200 per unit per year.
Wifi or cable internet high speed access – Whether you offer wifi, or high speed cabled web access, the Internet is very important to the everyday lives of today’s renter. Some apartment owners are getting steep discounts on the installation from service providers who want the subscription to their ISP services. Even if you pay for it, one company estimates the cost to install wireless has dropped to about $20 to $40 per door.
Take these things into consideration in future property purchases, as well as in your current properties. Apartment.com said that more than 59% of their survey respondents chose not to rent a particular place when their most desired amenity was missing.