How to Create a Desirable Rental Property
Do you want to appeal to a large potential pool of renters? If you’re just getting into the business or hoping to expand a portfolio of rental properties, there are a few things you can do to boost your chances of success with this quick course on understanding how to score right out of the gate.
Your efforts don’t have to be trial and error. Here are some tried-and-true suggestions:
Look to the Market
The key to quick rentals is knowing who is out there. Every community comes with distinct advantages and disadvantages for any type of property. Approach your property, renovation efforts, decor options and marketing efforts by aiming at the right target. Develop a profile of the expected renter based on what the statistics tell you, even though you will occasionally be surprised by the actual response.
A neighborhood filled with young professionals, small offices, trendy coffee shops and casual eateries will have a very different vibe from one that is adjacent to playgrounds and recreation centers, convenient neighborhood malls, grocery stores and family restaurants. Tailor your interiors and your decor choices accordingly.
Create a Welcoming Environment
Houses have inherent personalities: They “speak” to potential renters. Go beyond the basics of sticks and bricks, square footage and function and let your property speak of convenience and comfort, good friends, great times, pleasant views and a desirable lifestyle.
One of the best ways to zero in on this very unscientific concept is to personally visit other rental properties. Keep a list of what you like. You may want to invite a friend — someone not in the same business — to walk through properties with you and give honest feedback. You’ll develop a sixth sense about what works and what doesn’t.
Energy efficiency and sustainability are the concepts to keep in mind as you prepare your property for the market. Going green in affordable ways can really appeal to potential renters. Some eco-friendly choices can be cost-effective, saving you money over time. A desirable rental property will include water-saving fixtures and faucets in addition to efficient water heaters and modern plumbing. Energy star-rated appliances are often in demand, no matter what the kitchen package includes.
Tenants expect proper insulation and modern heating and cooling systems. Most also expect that electrical capability will be sufficient to support modern technology, and landscaping that requires minimal care and is climate-appropriate.
Watch your Costs
Know that style and appeal don’t have to break the budget. Develop a realistic cost estimate along with a workable timeline, whether you embark on a major remodel or simply want to repaint and freshen an interior. Many projects are derailed by delays, but the surest path to unhappiness, not to mention financial ruin, is to overspend.
Resist any temptation to say, “Just this once,” whether it’s a great deal on flooring, an appliance close-out or a one-of-a-kind mailbox. Small costs add up; remember your bottom line at all times.
Keep It Simple
Put aside personal preferences, but rely on your personal reactions. Keep your focus on the tenant with the goal of presenting a blank canvas that will adapt to a wide range of possibilities. That doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to a beige palette – paint companies are great resources for contemporary color options.
Aim for large spaces, adaptable rooms, light and bright decor, interesting sight lines, easy-care materials, and contemporary fixtures, appliances, lighting, hardware and colors. Your space doesn’t have to reflect the latest trends, but its age should never be immediately identifiable, either. Know that every potential renter will see your property with different eyes, shaded by their own ideas of style.
Find a Way to Stand Out
Never underestimate the power of “Wow”. Make an effort to include at least one memorable feature. Give potential tenants something to love: A dramatic entry door, a beautiful master bath and a crowd-pleasing kitchen are great amenities, as are updated fixtures, appliances and hardware. But also think about small improvements that score high on someone’s wish list. Consider the appeal of a backyard deck, built-in bookcases, storage cabinets in the garage, or a convenient device-charging station.
Use your own experience to develop your own list. Because of realistic budgeting, you likely won’t be able to include everything in your final plan, but it will give you a way to zero in on what you should be prioritizing.