When looking for a new property, renters always look for specific features that separate more desirable rentals from less interesting ones. The common renter will have a ton of questions for the owner, and they’ll want to see what amenities might make life better for them.
If you invest is features like these, your odds of attracting quality tenants increase dramatically. So, what do tenants want?
Since the Stone Age, the location was always the most important feature of any property, rental or not. If you’re in the right location, you can ask for a higher price for your rentals, without having to upgrade anything else. If your property is near public transport lines, recreation areas, schools, or a bustling business district, renovations and extensions become the minor concerns, as tenants are more likely to compromise on other amenities if the location is desirable to them in some way. Any area with easy access to a big city would be great. If you’re considering buying property for rent, keep in mind that location is one of the few things you can’t change.
For renters with cars, parking is equally important as the location. Off-street parking is highly desirable, so if you can provide the tenants with a spot in the driveway or underground garage, there’s a good chance that your unit will be rented quickly. While in suburban areas parking is more readily available, as long as the parking place is close to the property, even on the street side, the tenant will think of it as a bonus. If your rental unit is in a more urban area, parking will be a bigger issue, so if you want to make your listing more attractive, negotiate with a neighbor to provide a parking space, or at least point the tenant to the nearest garage.
Young tenants are increasingly tech-savvy, which translates to the kind of housing they want. A recent survey in the US found out that over 91% of respondents use their phones all the time, while 98% consider cell reception an important rental feature. If you already have internet in your property, consider how you can upgrade it to make it more attractive for tenants who value connectivity. Consider upgrading the package to a higher speed, and adding WiFi repeaters so the entire property has a solid wireless signal.
Tenants love the look or feel of new or well-maintained amenities. While in essence, every tenant knows that someone lived in the space before them, but they don’t want to see traces of that. When you pay for something new, the part of the fun is that it’s clean and that no one has had it before you.
The floor is one feature that gets the most wear and tear over the years, so you can start from there. Among vinyl floors, laminates and linoleum, consider getting something that looks and feels more luxe, like timeless looking indoor porcelain tiles that mimic the colors and textures of travertine, limestone, and granite. Unlike stone flooring, these tiles have minimal maintenance requirements, while creating a timeless look.
Balcony or patio
In urban and suburban areas, outdoor living is becoming a desirable concept. According to a 2014 study by the American Institute of Architects, the demand for outdoor living spaces has increased by 14% over the two years. There are many ways you can upgrade the balcony or patio in your rental, such as adding outdoor seating, planting trees and shrubbery, adding a fire pit or water feature. If you’re renting out a multi-unit property, see if you can build a shed outdoor space that all tenants can use.
Stainless steel appliances
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like the look of stainless steel appliances. If you can’t afford stainless steel models, find appliances that mimic the stainless look. In both cases, make sure that the appliances match or your whole investment won’t make much sense. You’d agree that a black fridge, almond refrigerator, and white dishwasher doesn’t make much of a smart setting.
Stainless steel has a high ROI – it’s extremely durable and able to withstand many years of use without showing signs, which is important for rental properties. Stainless steel is also resistant to water damage and rust, so you may start the kitchen renovation from a great set of stainless steel appliances.
Privacy is important, and unfortunately, older buildings aren’t known for their great acoustic properties. Tenants don’t want to feel as if they’re sharing the space with the neighbor next door, so if you won a multi-unit rental property, you may consider soundproofing your walls.
While you’re at it, consider converting a section of your bedroom into a walk-in closet. For many tenants, the available storage is among the top priorities, and they won’t mind decreased square footage of the bedroom or even a closet that extends into the hallway.
By understanding tenants’ needs and desires, you can market your space with more success. Focus on the most important amenities and upgrades and stress the selling points that bring in the most positive response with lasting interest.