The adage “location, location, location” is still somewhat true in real estate, but many a realtor will tell you that curb appeal has equal influence on buyers’ perceptions of value. Whether you’re trying to draw in more tenants or you intend to offer the property for sale, there are several upgrades and renovations that, dollar for dollar, improve a prospect’s first impressions.
Highest and Best Use
In many communities, undeveloped land is often pre-zoned based on its “highest and best use,” thus, you’re likely to find rental apartment developments sitting side-by-side for miles on both sides of the road. It is vital for the owners to make their places stand out from the crowd in order to attract the best tenants or the most potential buyers. You can accomplish this without breaking the bank if you’re thoughtful and use the following advice:
Do these things first:
- De-clutter: Do not start any project without cleaning up the property. Order a dumpster from a service like Next Day Dumpsters and load it up with all the junky looking outdoor furniture, trash, paper and anything else that doesn’t belong.
- Landscaping: Before you spend money on flowers and shrubs, make sure you can provide plenty of water by installing an irrigation system. If this is not feasible, opt for a xeriscaped theme with plants that require little water like cacti. Check with your local landscape professional about low maintenance foliage — you don’t want to hire a gardener to keep it up.
- Signage: Turn your entrance sign into a showcase worthy of a high-caliber facility. Light up the signage area and situate it prominently. Consider a multi-tiered fountain with colored lights highlighting the water flow. Plant colorful flowers and shrubbery in a stone-lined bed around the sign and fountain.
- Pavement: Repair any cracks or holes in paved areas leading to the property, then have them resurfaced with asphalt or concrete. If you have sidewalks, repair and clean them. If you don’t have sidewalks, put some in. Renters like having access to safe walking and jogging areas.
- Outdoor Lighting: Put in plenty of exterior lights, especially around parking areas. Low level landscape lights are relatively inexpensive and add tremendous aesthetic value to the night view and added security for tenants strolling after dark. Put lights around the front doors of the apartments and keep them symmetrical.
- Clean or resurface buildings: Pressure wash the exterior of the apartments, including the windows and the roof. Black mold and mildew can build up so gradually you don’t notice it happening, but renter prospects can see it compared to the apartments across the street. You might even consider new siding if it’s within your budget.
- Spruce up apartment entrances: If your apartments have front porches, install decorative railings or banisters, repaint or replace the front doors, install new hardware (door knobs, hinges) with bright brass or brushed nickel. Cover the porch floor with skid-resistant ceramic tile or flagstone. If they have walkways, resurface them and add low-level lights along the edge.