The holiday season is just underway, which means that students across the country will soon be heading home from college for the break. In Westwood, the home of UCLA, the total population numbers 52,000, and nearly 25,000 are aged between 19-34. When such a significant number of an area’s population are students who leave during this time, the quiet of the holidays is very noticeable. This is the perfect opportunity, however, for multifamily owners to consider how they might attract these young renters when they return for the new term in January.
Having multifamily housing in Westwood isn’t alone enough to attract students. Competition is tough, and if you don’t have the amenities that today’s students want, they’re going to rent elsewhere. Students have unique needs, and you can benefit significantly by renovating in a way that appeals to this demographic. But what are the most attractive amenities for student renters?
It Starts With Wifi
We’ve mentioned before how essential this amenity is, and we’re not going to stop, because if there’s one thing students need above all else, it’s a fast, reliable internet connection. Think about it: Wifi is the only amenity that your residents interact with constantly. While your gym may only see an hour or so of action per resident per day, residents are likely to be using the internet all day long. Since getting this right is so important, let’s go over how to supercharge the wifi in your apartment:
- Run fiber optic cable to every room in your multifamily.
- Don’t include wifi in the rent. Let tenants choose who supplies their wifi; they’ll prefer their own choice of service provider.
- Provide ethernet cables, so students don’t have to worry about disconnecting.
Don’t skimp here. This can’t be emphasized enough. If there’s one amenity to invest in, wifi is it. Students use the internet for everything from social networking to studying to streaming movies and television shows, and a weak or patchy connection is the fastest way to drive student renters away.
Comfortable Study Rooms to Facilitate Work
Even with super fast wifi, students don’t want to be stuck in their bedrooms all day. But they don’t always want to make the trip to the college library to read their books, either. So why not help both of you out by creating an on-site study room that gives residents a place to get their heads in their books and makes your multifamily stand out in a crowded market? This doesn’t have to be a fancy space; it’s all about how you decorate. Here’s how to help students get to work:
- Plenty of power outlets so devices are always charged.
- Large desks that allow books and laptops to be spread out.
- Comfy chairs for those all-nighters.
- A chillout area where students can take a break, take phone calls, or grab a bite to eat.
Even if your multifamily apartment is shared between students and other families, all residents will appreciate a quiet communal area where they can work or read.
Gyms for Stress Release
The benefits of exercise are no secret, and a smart student doesn’t sit with their head in their books for 12 hours a day, they get up and active too. Spending time at the gym has been linked to higher GPAs in college students. But with university gyms often crowded at peak times and many gym memberships in LA costing over $50 a month, even students who are very committed to exercise can get turned off. Having a space to exercise at low- or no-cost is a highly desirable amenity for students, especially if they just want a quick break during studying without having to travel far. Students aren’t going to expect swimming pools, saunas, or a masseuse, but it’s a no-brainer for them to choose a multifamily that comes with some exercise mats, benches, and other basic equipment.
Outdoor Spaces for Relaxation
Whether it’s a rooftop or a garden, students want somewhere to relax, study, and take advantage of our city’s glorious weather. After all, it’s probably one of the reasons they chose to go to school here. But all outdoor spaces aren’t created equally, especially in the eyes of students. Think twice before creating dog parks or landscaped gardens. Students are unlikely to have pets and they may not appreciate that bed of Peruvian lilies that are about to bloom. Instead, consider installing a pool and an outside cooking area, complete with a BBQ pit. Even a nice stretch of grass where residents can sunbathe, read, or throw a football around is a good option.
If you don’t have space around your apartment building, maybe you have some on the roof. For a student fresh out of their parents’ home, nothing will seem cooler than being able to chill out on the roof of their first apartment. While some rooftop luxuries such as a pool may not be in line with the rent paid by students, it certainly won’t break the bank to install some outdoor seating, a fire pit, tables, and even a couple of barbecues. For those owners who really want to grab students’ attention, I recommend wiring a Bluetooth sound system so that residents can play their own music through their phones.
While the students may decide which school they attend, their parents will have a much larger say in where they live—they have the checkbook, after all. With that in mind, make sure you make it clear that the safety of your tenants is your number one priority. Here’s what needs to be on your checklist:
- Fire extinguishers
- CO and smoke detectors
- Fire rated drywall and insulation
- Fire exits and exit signs
But checking off these safety features isn’t enough. Make sure you highlight all of them in your marketing materials to catch the eye of safety-conscious parents.
Choosing a Contractor That Makes the Grade
Student renters can be a fun and lucrative demographic to target if you are willing to renovate in ways that will appeal to them. REIG will manage and run your project from planning through to completion. Our diligence as contractors and the lengths to which we go to ensure minimal disruption for tenants will make your renovation period as fast and smooth as possible. To find out more and to understand how we can help your Westwood apartment attract more student renters, speak to one of our advisors today or get in touch using the form below.