Today’s prospective renters are searching for homes in more sophisticated ways and prioritizing well-appointed units with updated amenities. In fact, according to a recent study, prospects were using apartment features as their first filter option rather than community amenities or price.
However, your communities may not have the budget or the time for a full renovation from garden to roof. Instead, look to make small yet impactful upgrades. Note that while your current residents will be aware that these changes are happening, you’ll need to update the photos and descriptions on your online listings to ensure that prospective renters are aware of the upgrades as well.
Keep in mind that consistency is key. Upgrade units in a way that doesn’t clash with existing amenities but still appeals to your ideal renter base. A better approach is to focus on a single room type and then make it a priority to achieve the most effective impact and return on investment (ROI) for your renovation dollars. Remodels of kitchens and bathrooms traditionally bring the best ROI, and even superficial refreshes can give you the results you’re seeking.
According to our studies, two of the top filters renters use in their search are for in-unit washer-dryers and dishwashers. The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) also found that renters are prioritizing microwaves and refrigerators. Adding these appliances or upgrading older models to sleeker, more modern versions or those that are more energy efficient will appeal to current residents and prospects alike.
One of the easiest updates you can make is to replace outdated fixtures and countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. For example, laminate countertops have come a long way from the cheap quality and limited color options of the past. Now, many successfully mimic the look of granite or other stone. Standard hardware in a trendy and stylish finish, such as matte or copper, can be all it takes to change the overall look of a bathroom or kitchen.
Even something as simple as a fresh coat of paint can make a unit look new and bright. Stick with neutral tones that will have a broad appeal, and look for washable paint or paint with a satin or semi-gloss finish (or a combination of both). Consider giving your residents a choice of an accent wall color option to personalize their experience further while they rent from your community.
Don’t forget to make sure that your listings reflect the upgrades you have made. It may be time to have a new round of HD photos taken that focus on the updated rooms. Label your photos to describe both the room and the enhancement to improve your SEO. By drawing attention to these changes in your listings, you can attract more prospects, increase your lead pipeline, and maximize your ROI in a short amount of time.