Too often during unit turns I’ve seen multifamily owners get carried away with adding the latest must-have amenities while overlooking some of the basics. I’m as big a fan of fun technology as anyone, but sometimes I have to remind myself not to neglect other aspects of my units in the face of other upgrades. Unit turns are the perfect opportunity to drive up monthly rents by not only adding popular new amenities, but also by updating the basics of your apartment, and where better to start than from the bottom up?
Is the carpet in your units starting to look a little ragged? Perhaps there is some pet damage, or it’s starting to fray, or maybe there’s a wine stain lurking somewhere under the sofa? Maybe it’s just seen better days. Isn’t it about time then that you tore up the carpet and replaced it with flooring that allows you to charge a premium for the sleeker, more polished feel that different high-quality flooring options can afford? In short: don’t ever underestimate the power of flooring as a selling point for new renters.
The Argument For and Against Carpet
I can’t give you a definitive answer on whether or not carpet is right for your apartment—that depends so on the variables of your particular property. But what I will do is lay out the pros and cons of carpet, before we look at the some of the available alternatives.
Carpet is softer and comfier than almost any alternative on the market. It’s also quieter, which makes it a great option if your tenants have young children who are going to be running around the apartment 12 hours a day or if you want to avoid noise complaints between floors. While not essential in Southern California, carpet is also warmer and can act as an insulator.
There are a few downsides to carpet, however. Firstly, carpet quickly wears and gets ruined easily. And when it does pull or get stained, you need to replace the entire area to make it look presentable again. As a result, carpet tends to be high maintenance and won’t last as long as other types of flooring. Carpet can also harbor allergens, dust, and bacteria.
With so many disadvantages, it’s no wonder that more and more renters and owners are turning away from carpeting. But if you’ve got the urge to tear up the carpet in your apartment, there are a few things to consider before you begin.
Who Might Prefer Carpet?
Just because carpet isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it should be banned from apartments for good. There are a couple of scenarios where renters may prefer a softer option under their feet.
- Families with young children. Carpet is often the best flooring choice for young families. Toddlers aren’t always the steadiest on their feet, but that doesn’t stop them from wanting to constantly explore. There are going to be a lot of falls and carpet can provide the cushioning needed to prevent more serious injuries. Its insular properties can also help to keep the screams and shouts from annoying neighbors below.
- The elderly. Anyone who has looked after elderly parents knows that heart-stopping feeling when we hear that they’ve had a fall. Unfortunately, losing our balance as we get older is part of life. Like with toddlers, carpet provides softness and comfort in case the worst happens. We also can become more sensitive to cold as we get older, so elderly residents may appreciate the added warmth that carpet provides.
- Pet owners. A pet craze is sweeping the multifamily scene. More than ever, our furry friends are being welcomed into rented accommodations and landlords are going to tremendous lengths to create amenities that attract their owners. Pets don’t treat hardwood and laminate flooring with the care that humans do, however. Carpets are much more forgiving to claws and won’t get ruined as soon as you let a dog loose in the apartment.
The choice of your flooring in your multifamily should reflect your tenants. If you have a lot of elderly tenants or renters with young children or pets, it may not be worth tearing up the carpet. After all, the last thing you want when you’re trying to drive up rents and attract more renters is your current tenants leaving.
If you’re serious about bidding farewell to carpets and upgrading your flooring, there’s good news, because you have a multitude of options.
- Real hardwood flooring: Nothing adds a touch of luxury to a home like real hardwood floors. The price tag will put many owners off, but this flooring is worth investing in if you can afford it. Not only do they look fantastic, but this type of flooring will also last for over 20 years if well cared for.
- Vinyl flooring: This has been around since the 1930s, but vinyl planks are bringing it back into fashion. Cheaper than carpet, these planks come in a range of different styles that can look almost as good as real hardwood flooring. The real beauty of these planks is the way they are installed. Planks interlock which makes them easy to install and replace if or when they get scratched.
- Laminate flooring: When you want the look and feel of hardwood flooring, but you don’t want to shell out, opt for laminate flooring. This fiberboard alternative is topped with a thin layer of plastic that can incorporate hundreds of wood-style designs. Like vinyl flooring, this option comes in planks which are easy to install and replace, but expect planks to last up to 20 years.
- Tile flooring: No longer reserved for kitchens and bathrooms, tiled flooring also looks great in living rooms. There’re hundreds of designs to suit any style of apartment, they can last for decades and your residents will love the cool relief from the hot Californian sun.
- Concrete flooring: Last but not least, this is the ultimate choice for refined, minimalistic style. Commonly found in downtown lofts, concrete flooring can work just as well in apartment blocks situated in the suburbs. It is relatively cheap and will last longer than almost any other alternative listed here. Of course, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But it could be a winner if your multifamily targets young professionals who like the aesthetic.
There’s a lot to love about these alternatives. They all look a heck of a lot nicer than carpet, but they are also all more durable and longer lasting. So not only will you get to charge higher rents straight away, you can also look forward to lower maintenance costs and a higher ROI in the long run.
Here to Help Turn Your Units
Ultimately, the choice of flooring in your apartments is up to you. But whatever direction you take your apartments in, REIG is here to help. We’ve helped dozens of multifamily owners in San Diego County to turn their units, leading to higher rents and increased retention rates. We appreciate the necessity for speed and work to a tight deadline to ensure your apartments are vacant for as little time as possible. Find out how we can help by giving us a call today. Alternatively, fill out the form below and a member of our team will get in touch.