If you want your vacancies to end fast and you want your tenants to stick around as long as possible, you need to outfit your property with the best possible features and perks. That means buying properties with the best collection of tenant-approved features and gradually issuing fixes, remodels, and upgrades to keep those properties in good standing.
The question is, which features are most important to tenants?
The Most Important Features for Tenants
When looking for a house or apartment to rent, these are some of the most important features that tenants consider:
Competitive pricing. If you’ve ever looked for an apartment for yourself, you likely know firsthand that one of the first things you look at is the monthly price for rent. If you want tenants to give your rental property more than just a preliminary glance, you’ll need to price your units competitively. The best way to do this is to look at other properties in the area, analyze monthly rent prices, and offer something in line with them—assuming it allows you to remain somewhat profitable.
Location/proximity. Tenants also consider the location of the rental, and its proximity to the things that matter to them. For example, how close is it to their place of employment? How good are the schools, and how close are they? Is there a bus stop nearby, where public transporters can easily walk? Once you buy a property, you can’t move it, so spend some time researching the amenities and accessibility of a place before buying.
Safety and security. Your tenants want to feel safe. The price of a rental will vary based on the quality of the neighborhood that surrounds it, but most people won’t even consider a place if the crime rate is high or if the structure of the building makes it feel unsafe. Look for properties in neighborhoods with lower crime rates, and do what you can to make your tenants feel more secure; sometimes, little touches like better locks and spotlights can make a big difference.
Parking. If your tenants drive, they’re going to want a place to park their vehicle. If you have room, try to give your tenants access to a parking garage or a dedicated parking lot. If not, consider allowing them to park in the driveway. Barring that, you may or may not be able to dedicate street spots for your units.
Cleanliness. The cleanliness of the apartment will depend on the tenant, but you can give them a good first impression by making the apartment spotless when showing it. If there are stains on the carpet, marks on the walls, and buildup around the kitchen and bathroom appliances, tenants will be left with a bad impression. Go the extra mile when cleaning the apartment before a showing.
Appliances. In many areas, you won’t be required to include appliances in your rental, allowing your tenants to buy and move in their own. However, most tenants won’t want to go through this hassle. Instead, outfit your apartment or house with the basics, like a refrigerator and stove. If you want bonus points, invest in other fixtures, like a washer and dryer or a dishwasher.
Newness. Some people don’t mind living in an older home; they may even like the charm of the older style. However, most tenants would prefer to live in a building that’s new, with newer fixtures on the inside. Newer things tend to look “nicer” overall, and are less susceptible to issues. If you buy an older property, consider upgrading the interior to look newer; a hardwood floor and new appliances can bring life even to a decades-old property.
Storage space. Nobody wants to feel cramped, and nobody wants to pay an exorbitant monthly fee to take advantage of a secondary storage unit for all their stuff. It’s much more convenient if their apartment has ample storage space for everything they want and need. If your unit doesn’t have enough storage space for the average person, consider offering a secondary area; for example, you could finish the basement of a multi-family home to serve as additional storage space for the tenants, or convert the garage into additional storage space.
Outdoor space. Most people with pets or kids would prefer to have a unit with at least some outdoor space where they can walk around or relax outside. Depending on the neighborhood, this may or may not be available. If you don’t have room for a yard, you can provide more outdoor access by investing in a porch, or a balcony.
A decent landlord. This is a variable you have complete control over, no matter what. Tenants highly value a landlord who’s friendly, reasonable, understanding, and quick to respond to repair requests. When you meet with tenants for the first time, give them a good first impression, and do your best to make their lives easy; if you do, they’ll be far more likely to stick around.
There are a few other considerations you’ll need to bear in mind. For starters, what may be a dealbreaker for one tenant may mean nothing to another; you’ll have to think about your target demographics, and understand that different people want different things. Additionally, some tenants may have niche needs you could serve; for example, some tenants will only consider a rental property if they have an open pet policy. You could make your property look more compelling to tenants like these by complying with their needs.
Managing a rental property by yourself is hard. You’ll be responsible for selecting great properties, keeping them in good shape, collecting rent, and issuing repairs on a regular basis—which could mean hours of time every week. If you want to lighten your burden while keeping your cash flow high, your best bet is to work with a property management firm. Contact Green Residential for a free analysis of your current properties today!