The right amenities will do two important things when you’re managing a rental property in Pocatello or Idaho Falls. You’ll attract more renters to your property. And, you’ll be able to charge more in rent. The right amenities will also help you retain those residents that you’ve placed.
Which amenities have the most impact? What do tenants really want?
We’re taking a look, based on the data we have been able to gather on the current market and the preferences of residents who are looking for their next home.
Pet-Friendly Policies in Rental Homes
Flexibility around pets is increasingly important to residents. The number of pet-owning tenants has grown, and that means a majority of the tenant pool is looking for a home not only for themselves, but for their furry family members as well.
Pet-friendly amenities such as a dog park, a gated outdoor area, dog waste stations, and a willingness to consider pets will appeal to those tenants who want to move in with their cats and dogs.
Pets are important to tenants, and they also provide you with a great way to make more money on your rental unit. We know that not all rental property owners love pets. They can be risky. We know what a cat can do to the paint on your walls. We’ve seen dogs dig up landscaping. Odors tend to linger in a carpet.
With a strong pet policy in place, however, your property will be protected. Allowing pets and providing pet-friendly amenities will help you attract and keep good residents.
Include information on pets and your pet amenities in your marketing materials to attract the largest possible pool of tenants.
In-Unit Laundry Appliances
Providing a communal laundry room in your building is a great amenity. Tenants will appreciate that they can do their laundry without lugging clothes and linens to a Laundromat.
Even better than communal laundry, however, is in-unit laundry facilities. Putting a washer and dryer in your rental unit will increase your rental value and attract tenants who want convenience in a modern home.
When you’re not willing to install the appliances yourself, we’d recommend at least providing the hookups so that your tenants can buy or rent or move in with their own machines. If you do buy the appliances yourself, look for energy-efficiency models that will keep water and energy bills lower. When space is an issue, you can invest in stackable models, which are far more modern and efficient now.
Buy in bulk to get a deal. If you decide to furnish all 10 or 20 of your properties will washers and dryers, the investment will cost money, but you’ll earn it back quickly. The higher rents, the lower vacancy, and the resident satisfaction will more than pay for the appliance. And, the volume discount will lower your per-unit cost.
Air Conditioning in Idaho Rental Homes
Air conditioning is an amenity you may not have considered. It’s not a requirement in Idaho, and a lot of investors would explain that hot spells in Pocatello or Idaho Falls rarely last longer than a few days.
This may be true, but the summers aren’t getting any cooler. And, your competition is likely beginning to provide air conditioning as a standard amenity. You want to remain competitive in the market, and you want residents to be attracted to your property. If your rental property doesn’t include air conditioning, offering it could make a difference in vacancy and tenant quality. It will definitely make a difference in your rental value.
Consult with an HVAC specialist to get air conditioning installed properly. If you’re not prepared for central air, consider a window unit in the bedroom or the living room, or provide a swamp cooler.
Outdoor Space Attracts Residents
When real estate investors think about amenities, they’re often thinking about what should be provided inside the home.
Don’t forget the exterior space. There are many opportunities to attract tenants to a unit even by improving what’s available outside of that unit. Outdoor space is something we know renters are searching for. They’re especially appreciative of small patios, balconies, and courtyards. If your building has a roof garden or a deck, that will be a huge selling point. Consider putting a picnic table or two outside.
If you’re looking for a building to buy, consider the special amenities that will make a difference in how you market your property to tenants. A swimming pool will be especially popular, or tennis and basketball courts. Tenants who have pets love a dog park, and having walking paths or biking trails around the area is also a big selling point.
Pay attention to the landscaping and the curb appeal.
Included Landscaping and Snow Removal
Speaking of landscaping, is it included in your tenant’s rent?
It should be. This is an amenity that many tenants expect. They don’t move into a rental unit in order to mow the lawn, trim the bushes, or shovel snow in the winter. All of these things are expected to be taken care of for them. Even if you’re sharing the cost by rolling the contract price into the rental amount, providing these service-oriented amenities is important. It’s also smart; tenants will expect to have a well-landscaped property, and they’ll want to know that they can easily get in and out of their building even if there’s snow.
Private or Assigned Parking
Jockeying over a parking space is never fun. Make sure there’s abundant parking at your rental property, otherwise tenants will look elsewhere for a place to live. No one feels entirely safe parking on the street. Try to provide garage or lot parking, and make sure it’s secure.
Even better is assigned parking. When tenants have a spot that’s all theirs, they’ll feel better about where they leave their car. You’ll also want to provide plenty of guest parking that’s well-marked.
You don’t like circling your destination for half an hour, looking for a parking spot. Your renters won’t like that either, especially when they’re coming home from work or school or a weekend away. Make sure they have a place to park.
When you can provide ample parking, make sure to advertise that. Assigned parking and garage parking are particularly popular in areas where space is usually limited. Covered parking is typically in high demand, especially during the winter when no one looks forward to scraping the ice from their car.
Hard Surface Flooring in Idaho Rental Homes
It may be time to give up the carpet.
You don’t have to get rid of it entirely. It’s still nice in bedrooms. But, tenants are overwhelmingly talking about their preference for hard surface flooring. Carpets are a hard sell these days.
Hardwood floors are great. But, you don’t have to make such a big investment in your rental units. Plenty of faux hardwoods also look great. Vinyl laminate is affordable and attractive. The flooring that snaps into place is also durable and looks great.
Hard surface flooring is a great alternative to carpet and an amenity that most tenants appreciate because:
- It’s easier to clean and maintain. Instead of scrubbing a stain out of a carpet, a simple pass with a mop keeps hard surface flooring clean.
- There are fewer allergens. You won’t have to worry about dust and pet hair and odors getting caught in carpet fibers.
- It looks better.
There are benefits for real estate investors, too. You won’t have to replace the carpet every year or two between tenants. The hard surface flooring lasts longer and helps to attract great tenants.
Create Storage Space
When your rental property has walk-in closets or large pantries and other built-in storage space, you’re likely to have an easier time attracting tenants. The extra storage is always an impressive amenity. Renters want to keep all of their personal belongings with them, in their home, and the extra storage space your property can provide will make them more likely to rent it.
If your current space is challenged in this area, you can build larger closets without making a major renovation. You can transform a larger bedroom into a smaller space that also has a walk-in closet or a built-in wardrobe.
Dedicated Work Space and Good Tech
More and more tenants are working from home. Remote work was not a passing trend that peaked during the pandemic. It seems here to stay for many tenants, and you want to appeal to that growing population of renters.
Dedicated work space, whether it’s a home office or an extra bedroom or a loft or even a quiet corner in the living room, is a huge amenity. Create what you can to offer residents a place to work or study.
Technology is also important. While you may not provide internet services for your residents, you want to make sure the fastest speed and the latest wiring is available at your property. They’ll want to access high speed internet.
These are just some of the amenities we know are especially popular with residents. If you’d like us to customize our recommendations, based on your building and your ideal tenant, please contact us at Jacob Grant Property Management.