To be successful in the landlord game you need to know what your tenants actually want. And then you need to give it to them. It’s the same with absolutely every business. Take Amazon for example. It started out as an online bookseller. But Jeff Bezos quickly realized his USP (unique selling point) wasn’t the big selection of books he could sell but the ease with which people could buy them and get them delivered.
He focused on supplying that ease of purchase, and well, we all know the rest. (I’ll admit there’s a bit more to running a trillion-dollar business - but I’m simplifying…)
When it comes to rentals, knowing what your tenants actually want, will not only help you secure the best tenants and fast, it will also help you retain your tenants and as with any service, offer more, give more value and you can charge more.
This list isn’t about the obvious amenities that people love, like a great location, a seafront view, an indoor gym. Those are all bonuses which if you can offer, great but let’s not dwell on those property investments that escaped us.
Instead, we are focusing on things that are largely within your control as the landlord. Not entirely of course, but largely.
We write a surprising amount about pets and how much people love their affordable furry friends. And it’s maybe because I wish I had a dog to call my own. Or maybe I’m just a product of my society. The point being the generation that is most renting now is the millennial generation. And they l.o.v.e. LOVE their animal pals. Some 73% of millennials own pets. Having a pet policy that is flexible, smart and friendly will help you secure tenants.
That being said, this doesn't mean you shouldn’t be smart about it.
Large parts of the US are hit by hot weather throughout the summer months. But in many states having an air-con unit isn’t legally required. So, it would make sense that when looking at a property many renters actively are on the lookout for aircon. No one wants to be sweltering half the year!
So this one may be something you can do little about. But it may be that your outdoor space could be a huge draw for prospective tenants. When it comes to having an outdoor space, tenants love to have somewhere where they can go sit when it’s sunny out, enjoy a beer, relax with friends or just with a book. This could mean a patio, roof-garden, decking, yard, or even just a small balcony.
It is well worth putting a little bit of effort to make this space nice - and importantly make it low maintenance.
No one wants to have to traipse around the corner, or jump in the car and drive to a laundromat once a week to go get their laundry done. No no no. Having an in-unit washer/dryer is a major plus for renters. Failing that just one or two in the building - you could even make them paid. Whilst not as convenient as an in-unit one it’s still a highly desirable amenity. I’ve known people that would never even consider renting a place without access to a washer.
Imagine this. You come home from a long day's work. It’s rush hour, the traffic has you stressed. You just want a glass of wine. But you get home and everyone’s beaten you to the punch. The street is lined with cars. You drive block after block looking for space and eventually there it is. You pull in exhausted but jubilant and look around. You suddenly realize you don’t know this neighborhood. You check Google maps - that can’t be right a 20-minute walk home…
Having an assigned space, whether it’s a garage or just easily available parking on-street is an amenity that can help people avoid ever going through this again - it’s not surprising then that it’s a very popular amenity.
Dishwashers are a nice convenience to have. But more than that - people really hate washing up by hand, and they will pay extra for this convenience.
A luxury, but one that a lot of people gush over and is sure to grab the attention of all but the most Spartan of tenants.
We mentioned before that millennials are the largest generation of renters. This is for various reasons but in summary, millennials appreciate the freedom of being able to up and leave - to move to their new job at a moment's notice, they don’t like being tied down to a house.
Lugging furniture around is a real inconvenience for people that are constantly moving house so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that furnished apartments are popular.
This feature typically won’t be a deciding factor for most renters, but if you have smart features, it’s a bonus, especially for millennial renters who love technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) allows devices to “talk” with each other, which makes it possible for technology to work for us.
Temperature controls that allow homes to heat up before you come home, a place to plug in your electric car, and lights that go on as you enter the room are all examples of what smart devices can offer. Nest is the leading provider of smart thermostats, but there are others for less money.
Any experienced renter will know that carpet is a nightmare. It absorbs smells, they become impossible to clean and those tipsy wine-fuelled evenings can easily turn into bloodbaths that will cost you your deposit. A hardwood floor is easy to clean. They last longer, they smell less and you no longer have to worry about spilling your coffee.
These are just 10 of the top amenities that renters want. Often it's the case that they are willing to pay more for a rental because it has these features. Having the right amenities will help you appeal to prospective tenants. If they are looking at multiple rentals that are all great options but yours has one of the above that could be the deciding factor for them!