High-end apartment amenities are a guaranteed draw when a multi-family property manager is trying to pull in more affluent renters. The issue with such amenities is often that it takes a long time for them to pay off as the luxury additions are expensive to build. While they may allow landlords to seek a higher monthly rent, it will likely be a year or two before the rent increase results in ROI. That may make some managers less likely to offer options like business centers, gyms, and coffee bars, even though they know such features would pull in their ideal clientele.
However, high-end amenities do not have to be extremely expensive or time-consuming endeavors. In some cases, it’s wiser to start with basic versions of these amenities and build on them as time permits. This allows landlords to spread out the expense of high-cost investments while reaping the benefits of high-end apartment amenities right away.
Maximizing ROI While Adding High-End Apartment Amenities
The investment in adding high-end apartment amenities isn’t just related to the expense. It’s also about the time it takes to get these amenities up and running, from building them out to training staff to manage them. However, landlords do have options to rapidly roll out even the most expensive amenities in a cost-effective way.
Building a Basic Business Center
Business centers are the second most popular amenity which renters are willing to pay more for (with fitness centers being the first). However, these centers are also expensive to implement, with a national median reported cost of $13,500. Seeing a return on that investment could take several years if the landlord doesn’t strictly control spending.
An alternative is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or coworking setup. In this scenario, Wi-Fi, printers, fax machines, and other business needs are provided while the most expensive items—the computers themselves—are brought by the tenants who use the center.
By establishing a BYOD business center, the landlord cuts the direct cost of purchasing computers, as well as the ongoing cost of software, upgrades, and repairs, saving thousands of dollars in capital expenses.
Landlords must also consider cyber-security needs. As 73% of U.S. adults own laptop computers, such a policy would likely not be a problem for most users of the center. The landlord would just need to offer internet connectivity, copiers, fax machines, and printers to provide the full business center experience at half the cost. By starting out basic, renters get an amenity right away, while leaving room to build on it later with more luxurious options.
- High-End Business Center Upgrade Options:
- High-end desktop computers with internet access
- Rentable conference rooms with video conferencing for tenants who wish to hold the occasional meeting
- FedEx, UPS and USPS shipping, as well as package drop-off options
- Call-answering services for individuals who need a business line
Creating Affordable On-Site Fitness
Fitness centers are the number one amenity that apartment renters are willing to pay more for, and are responsible for the most increase in rental revenue compared to all other physical amenities. Of course, with those promising figures come a downside. A fully-functioning gym—with all the machines and features—can cost upwards of $30,000.
However, landlords do not have to go that far to establish a fitness center that will increase tenant satisfaction.
It’s possible to create the most basic fitness spot with some spare space and a $2,500 investment in machines and weight racks.
Most exercise equipment, like stationary bicycles, rowing machines, and elliptical trainers, are far more affordable than you may assume, with basic models of each going for a few hundred dollars. Here are a few other upgrade possibilities.
- High-End Fitness Center Upgrade Options:
- Showers and saunas for after workout relaxation
- Advanced media systems, connecting televisions or surround sound to tenants’ devices
- Regularly-scheduled fitness classes like pilates, yoga, and other trending workouts
- Running trails and tracks for outdoor fitness
Catering to Coffee Drinkers with a Breakfast Bar
On-site coffee shops are desirable amenities for busy commuters, and they offer an immediate competitive advantage for landlords, as they are not common. They’re also an alternative revenue stream which, when well-executed, can pay for itself. However, setting up an on-site coffee shop is logistically problematic. The landlord must find a partner willing to run it, set up the location, and secure all the various permits and licenses. Finally, staffing the location will be an unending expense, which will significantly limit the ROI, especially if demand is underwhelming.
However, a self-service coffee bar in a common area provides the same benefits for residents, while eliminating the logistical hassle and hefty expenses.
Most of the costs will come up front, by renovating the space and adding a wet bar for getting water and cleaning mugs—if such a space doesn’t exist already.
After that, adding pod coffee makers allows residents to make coffee to order and enjoy a variety of choices. Such a set-up is extremely low-cost, with the only ongoing cost being the purchase of coffee pods and supplies.
Another possibility is to add a high-end automated, touchscreen coffee machine that will offer options to renters such as espresso, hot cocoa, hot water, or medium or bold coffee.
Adding higher-end features here will be a bit more involved, as it will require the addition of a stand-alone space.
- High-End Upgrade Options:
- A stand-alone breakfast bar that includes restrooms and a full-service kitchen
- Drive-up windows for quick pickup
- Seating areas for those who wish to enjoy coffee on the premises
- Display cases with bagels, pastries, and other breakfast items.
Finding a Contractor to Prioritize the Most Impactful Amenities
The real determiner in the length and cost of any high-end upgrade—whether the landlord opts for expensive upgrades or more cost-controlled options—will be the contractor chosen to complete the work. Contractors with extensive experience, access to a highly-motivated labor pool, and strong supplier relationships will be best prepared to complete upgrades quickly and efficiently.
Working with someone with a strong portfolio of past high-end apartment amenity upgrades will be the best possible option for landlords who want to minimize the time investment. They will also be able to obtain guidance on the amenities with the highest historical ROI for the area. Partnering with the right contractor is crucial to maximizing the ROI of apartment amenity upgrades, ensuring short implementation periods, and keeping renters satisfied with their high-end living options.
If you’d like to improve your community with high-end apartment amenities,REIG Construction can provide rapid installation so you can enjoy the benefits of increased property value and higher resident satisfaction. For more information on our experience and capabilities, contact us.