Apartment building upgrades are costly, but they’re often a necessity to stay competitive with brand new buildings nearby. So what are the apartment upgrades with the best ROI out there? The 2015 Renter Preferences Study by the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates, the largest survey of apartment renters ever, found features such as ample parking, a patio or balcony and a washer/dryer in the unit were important amenities. Renters are selective and they can be given the amount of properties available.
Choosing the best upgrades requires the perfect balance of strong durability, usefulness and beautiful aesthetics. Ideal upgrades last longer and bring in more revenue for your building. Consider these when you’re giving your apartment building a refresh.
Since 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency has assigned Energy Star scores to multifamily housing units based on energy performance. High scores attract potential residents who are interested in sustainable living. High scores also help save landlords money, since environmentally friendly amenities cut costs long term. The U.S. Green Building Council reports energy costs in multifamily properties rose 20 percent from 2004 to 2014, but upgrades such as LED lightbulbs and solar panels can be attractive to residents as they decrease energy bills for all. You can also upgrade units with energy-saving appliances, ranging from refrigerators to dishwashers, so that you’re more likely to attain a high Energy Star score and please tenants who are saving money on their electric bills.
A community garden at your apartment complex offers a way for residents to invest in harvesting their own food and meet other residents, which strengthens the relationships among tenants and makes your complex feel more like a home.
Life at Your Complex
More than 80 percent of respondents to the Renter Preferences Study cited a pool as one of the most attractive community features at a complex. Especially for warm-weather areas or for complexes looking to attract social residents interested in building a community at the complex, a well-maintained, large pool is an attractive feature that is long-lasting with minimal upkeep.
Local services review site Angie’s List also suggests considering adding community-gathering areas such as a movie room, a media room or game room, and an on-site grocer or cafe to an apartment complex. Adding a gym to your complex can start as simply as dedicating a heat-controlled room to exercise, adding in a TV so people can use workout DVDs and supplying some free weights.
Upgrades to kitchens in apartment complexes give you the leverage to increase rent prices. The kitchen is where tenants tend to spend a lot of time, and may also be the first impression when they walk into a unit.
Real estate management company All Property Management reports even minor kitchen remodels can make back an average of 79 cents on the dollar. This high number means kitchen upgrades provide one of the best returns on investment for property managers. Cabinets, fixtures and counters can be upgraded to wow new renters, while appliances with convenient features are also alluring.
The 2015 Renter Preferences Study found 85 percent of respondents wanted a refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser, 87 percent wanted a microwave and 83 percent wanted a garbage disposal in their units. Stainless steel, low-flow and low-energy models increase attractiveness to buyers interested in environmentally friendly options.
Before making upgrades, ask existing tenants what features they want the most. Then determine the most cost-effective, durable improvements.