When renters are searching for a new property to call home, there are certain features that top their list. Having a property that contains these desirable features can help differentiate your rental from the competition.
Location always was and always will be the most important feature of a property. If you are in the right location, you can command higher prices for your rentals without having to do much else. Renovations and square footage become secondary concerns. People are much more willing to compromise on other amenities if they are in a location that is desirable to them in some way. Think of any area close to a large city. People are willing to pay much higher prices to be in the heart of it all- close to transportation, shopping, food, and entertainment.
Keep location in mind when you are:
- Buying Property: Location is one of the few things you cannot change about a property, Location is one of the most important considerations when buying a new investment.
- Renovating Your Property: You might not have to do such extensive renovations if the area is already desirable.
- Marketing Your Property for Rent: Location is a key feature you will want to emphasize to appeal to prospective tenants.
Tenants love anything that looks or feels new. Every tenant knows that the essence of a rental means someone lived in the space before them, but they don’t want to see or feel that. Think about when you buy something new, it doesn’t matter what it is, it could be a stick of gum or a new pair of sneakers, part of the fun is that it’s yours, it’s clean, and no one has had it before you. Tenants want to feel special in this way about their apartments and this is why renovations are so effective at getting units rented quickly. Renovated kitchens and bathrooms hold particular appeal.
Open Floor Plan
Renters love an open floor plan. An open floor plan can help a smaller space appear larger. Many feel a kitchen that is open to the living space allows for better entertainment.
Stainless Steel Appliances
Prospective tenants love the look of stainless steel appliances. If you can’t afford stainless steel appliances, stainless look appliances are also sold, which are cheaper. The next important factor, regardless of the finish on your appliances, is to make sure your appliances match. A black stove, almond refrigerator, and white dishwasher will not be the most attractive. In addition, do not underestimate the draw of a dishwasher. It provides a touch of luxury for some and is a necessity for others.
For renters with cars, parking is incredibly important in a rental. Off-street parking is even more desirable. Being able to provide the tenant with a spot in the driveway or in a garage will help get the unit rented quickly.
In suburban areas, parking is more readily available. As long as a tenant has a place to park within close proximity to the property, even if it is on-street, they should be happy.
For tenants with cars in more urban areas, parking will be a bigger issue. If there is not a designated parking spot included with your rental, you should make negotiations with a neighbor to provide a parking space or you should at least be able to point the tenant in the direction of the nearest parking garage. If this garage is too far away from your property, more than five or six blocks, this could be a deal-breaker.
Laundry in the Building or Unit
No one wants to have to drag their dirty clothes all the way to the laundromat. A washer/dryer in the apartment is a huge plus, especially for apartments that are walk-ups (not on the first floor). If you are not able to provide in-unit washer/dryers, then providing a washer/dryer in the property for the tenants' use is the next best option. Even if the tenant has to walk down to the basement to use it, it is still better than having to lug a laundry bag four blocks or getting in the car to go to the laundromat.
Closet Space and Storage Space
Everyone has belongings they need to put in the closet, whether it be clothes, a vacuum, or holiday decorations. If your unit does not have adequate storage space, see if there is enough space to add another closet. If there is not, do you have a basement, garage, or storage shed where you can allow the tenant to store their belongings?
Large Windows and Natural Light
No one wants to live in a cave. Why do you think realtors open all the windows and blinds when showing a property? It is to let in as much natural light as possible. Natural light will make the property look warmer and more inviting. Sunshine also helps to improve a person’s mood.
Outdoor Space: Balcony or Yard Access
If a tenant has a place to barbeque or to sit out and read the newspaper, this is a bonus. Even if it is not a private backyard or balcony, having some type of outdoor space can help rent out a property or can allow you to charge higher rent, especially in an urban area.
Central Air Conditioning
In warmer climates, not having central air conditioning in your rental unit can be a deal-breaker. For more seasonal areas, central air is a luxury. It can be difficult and costly to install central air conditioning in older properties because you will have to rip open the walls and install all the proper ductwork. If your property does have central air or you feel the value it will add is worth the expense of installing it, make sure to emphasize this feature when marketing your rental.