Of the 118,208,250 households in the United States, over 43 million are renter-occupied, a number which continues to rise as younger generations increasingly choose to rent instead of buy. As homeownership rates have dipped, the number of renter households has increased.
With a steady stream of prospective renters flooding the market, landlords have the opportunity to place high-quality, long-term tenants in their properties. If you’re looking to charge top dollar for your rental, attract premium tenants, and avoid costly turnover, consider incorporating these features into your property today:
According to this report from NMHC, the top 5 home amenities desired by renters are as follows:
- High-Speed Internet: Tenants are increasingly tech savvy, and this propensity plays into their housing wants and needs. In the NHMC survey, over 91 percent of respondents claimed to use their mobile phone ‘all the time’, with a whopping 98 percent citing good cell reception as an important feature in a rental. If you don’t already offer internet in your property, consider the ways you might capitalize on tenants’ desire for connectivity. If you choose to implement internet access, consider how you will recoup that cost from your tenants, and prepare for the complaints you’ll receive when service inevitably goes down.
- Walk-in Closet: Tenants place a great deal of importance on storage, especially in one bedroom properties and master suites. Consider the costs of converting the closets in your property into walk-ins, whether that means decreasing the square footage of the bedroom in question or extending into a hallway or bathroom.
- Soundproof Walls: Privacy is important, and buildings of old are known for their thin walls. Tenants don’t want to feel as if they’re sharing their space with the neighbor next door. If you own a multi-unit property and tenants have noise complaints, it might be worth it to consider soundproofing your walls.
- Balcony or Patio: In urban and suburban areas, outdoor living space has become much more desirable. A 2014 study performed by the American Institute of Architects found that demand for outdoor living spaces increased by a whopping 14 percent over the course of two years. There are numerous ways to upgrade your property’s balcony or patio, such as adding outdoor seating, planting trees and shrubbery, or installing a water feature. If your property doesn’t have an outdoor space you can tell potential tenants about the availability of any shared outdoor spaces the building offers or about nearby parks and recreational areas.
- In-Unit Washer and Dryer: Convenience is king, and tenants continue to request in-unit washer/dryers for their homes, whether that be in a single family home or shared between apartment units in multifamily buildings.
The same NMHC report cited the top 5 community amenities favored by today’s renter:
- Parking: For tenants with cars, parking is of utmost importance, especially in community living situations. Off-street parking is more desirable, but as long as a tenant has a place to park within reasonably close proximity you’ll find it easier to rent your unit quickly. If you’re renting in an urban area, parking tends to be more of an issue.
- Pools: Pools have long been a top amenity and tenants are often willing to pay more for this addition.
- Fitness Center: Tenants are increasingly interested in complexes that contain fitness centers. Why? Apartment gyms provide plenty of savings opportunity for your tenants, as gym memberships can be expensive. Several cardio machines and a free weights area can be enough to appease prospective tenants, and this one-time investment can pay off down the line.
- Secured Community: Security is important, and if you rent in an urban area or city with higher rates of crime, creating secured community access is essential for attracting quality tenants. From additional locks and surveillance cameras to high-tech security systems, the modern tenant appreciates any measure taken to increase their safety at home.
- Recycling: Trash and recycling services can help you satisfy modern tenants that are focused on sustainability and eco-friendliness. Because apartment dwellers lack the access to curbside recycling that single family tenants have, you may need to consider ways to facilitate recycling for your renters.
Miscellaneous Upgrades That Can Put You a Cut Above
While the abovementioned features and amenities ranked first in the NMHC survey, opportunity for improvement abounds. There’s no limit to the ways you can better develop the function and appearance of your property, and the right upgrades may help improve your rental business’ bottom line. The three following features and amenities continue to be highly sought after:
- 1. Walkability: Tenants want to be able to easily walk to nearby amenities and locations. When polled, 70 percent of survey respondents stated they desired a grocery store within walking distance of their home. Similarly, 58 percent of respondents wanted restaurants within walking distance. When showing your property, be sure to highlight the proximity of local amenities, including schools, bars, and public transit options.
- 2. Ease of Payment: The ability to pay rent online continues to be favored by tenants, especially millennials. In the modern world of connectivity, putting in the effort to make payments more convenient may benefit both renter and property owner.
- 3. Energy Efficient Upgrades: Modern tenants, especially millennials, are interested in homes that take sustainability and energy efficiency into account. Consider that the average annual energy bill for a typical single family home comes in at $2,200, between heating and cooling costs, appliances, lighting, and electronics. Helping tenants decrease these costs can give your property a competitive edge. Installation of energy efficient appliances and efforts made towards using renewable energy can cut down on utility costs and help landlords respond to tenant desires for sustainable living spaces.
Whether you’re a novice or experienced landlord, these essential amenities and upgrades can help make your property more desirable, and ultimately more lucrative. Drawing in high-quality tenants means catering to modern needs and desires within your rental property. Consider implementing these features to better position your rental for success and increase your bottom line. Once you’ve attracted a quality pool of potential renters you’ll be ready to begin screening tenants to find the right fit for your property.