Once you buy a property, there are a few things you won’t be able to change (or change easily). You can’t change the location of the property, or improve the school district, or reduce the crime rates. But there are many updates you can make to the property—sometimes exceedingly simple ones—that will attract more tenants and keep them happier over the next several months and years.
So what are the improvements that tenants want to see the most?
The Benefits of Tenant-Friendly Upgrades
Upgrading your property will cost some money upfront, but it comes with the following benefits:
- Faster tenant acquisition. Under normal circumstances, it will take two to four weeks to fill a vacancy at your property—but with better upgrades that tenants want, you could fill that vacancy faster (and start pulling in more income).
- Invested tenants. Tenants who live in a space they like will be more likely to take good care of it; as a result, you’ll probably get your property back in nearly perfect condition.
- Fewer maintenance problems. Investing in newer appliances and upgrades means you’re less likely to get called out to deal with problems with the old ones, saving you time and hassle.
- Longer stays. Tenants who feel comfortable and at home will be less likely to leave prematurely, reducing your overall tenant turnover.
The Most Sought-After Improvements
So what are the improvements that tenants want the most?
- Tenants strongly prefer designated off-street parking for their vehicles, yet many dense suburban and urban areas only have on-street parking to offer. On-street parking is stressful and annoying, especially after a long drive home from work, and it leaves cars more vulnerable to break-ins and vandalism. Adding a small garage, or even some extra driveway space can make the difference between an attractive unit and a hard pass.
- Stainless steel appliances. For a variety of both logical and illogical reasons, stainless steel appliances have become incredibly popular for American adults. Stoves, refrigerators, and other appliances that have that shiny metal sheen are something of a status symbol, and make a kitchen look cleaner and more updated for just a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
- New cabinetry and countertops. While you’re working on the kitchen, you might as well spend some time and/or money upgrading the cabinetry and countertops. The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a rental property for making an impression, so you’ll want to give one that’s clean, modern, and ready for move-in.
- A dishwasher. Before we leave the kitchen, take the time to add a dishwasher if there isn’t one there already. Roughly 75 percent of American homes have dishwashers, so if your rental property doesn’t have one, you might be seen as behind the curve. It’s doubtful that a tenant would pass on a property just because it didn’t have a dishwasher, but for a few hundred dollars, it might be worth it to hedge your bets.
- An updated bathroom. Upgrading the bathroom can be a huge, messy expenditure, but because it’s such a critical room for making impressions and finalizing decisions, it’s usually worth the extra effort. People want to feel clean and cozy in the bathroom, and they want to see a relatively new toilet, shower, vanity, and sink to feel that way. If the home is old, this is also a chance for you to replace some of the piping, so you can prevent future maintenance issues without a problem.
- Onsite laundry. Doing laundry at a laundromat isn’t that big of a hassle, realistically, but having your own onsite washer and dryer can seem like a luxury to someone who’s used to doing it. If you have a building with multiple units, you could even install coin-operated washers and dryers as a way to generate some extra income from the property, or install vending machines to increase that revenue even further.
- Storage space. Tenants love to have storage space; it means they get to acquire more things, and have a place to put them. If you’re feeling handy and have the time to renovate, you could add a closet to one of your bedrooms or expand a closet that’s already there. Failing that, you could add storage space to your existing rooms with shelving, furniture, or other modes of storage.
- Large windows. People love to have natural light trickling in—especially during the winter months, when light is in short supply. Ripping out old windows and putting in newer, bigger, more efficient ones is a good investment if you want to attract better tenants. The bigger and clearer the windows are, the more welcoming and modernized the home is going to seem to your tenants.
- Central air. In warmer climates, central air conditioning is a must. During spring and summer months, some tenants won’t even consider a place that doesn’t have central air. It may cost a few thousand dollars to install, and if you’re the one paying the electricity bill, you might see a spike in summer, but it can help you get away with charging far more in rent, and you’ll get more invested tenants because of it.
- Outdoor space. Though not all tenants appreciate outdoors the same way, most family-oriented tenants want at least some yard space for their children to play. If you’re allowing pets at your property, this is an even bigger perk. The extra space makes tenants feel like they’re at home, and serves as a little extra luxury to complete the package.
If you can outfit your property with these 10 upgrades (or even just a few of them), you’ll likely see reduced tenant turnover, better tenant behavior, and less vacancy time overall. If you’re interested in making your life even easier, and taking the burden of finding new tenants off your hands entirely, contact Green Residential today! We have the property management experts you need to handle your property carefully—and maximize your profitability.