Apartment renovation strategies for owners are all about adding value that encourages tenants to renew while justifying rental increases to maintain profitability. The best features to add are designed to last and keep up with current trends in multi-family living. With a focus on amenities, in-unit upgrades, and smart enhancements, multi-family owners can accomplish both these tasks.
Three Apartment Renovation Strategies for Owners to Consider
There is no single apartment renovation strategy that’s right for all owners, but there are some smart approaches to take when considering the desires of contemporary consumers. Apartments are moving in a community-focused direction, in that consumers want to do just about everything at home without the need to go out. The top three apartment renovation strategies for owners to consider support that convenience and cater to current multi-family trends.
#1: Fix amenities first
When renovation funds are limited, the priority should go to improvements that everyone can enjoy. Upgraded amenities can even act as advertising, as they provide curb appeal that encourages drop-in visits from prospective renters. Some of the top amenities renters want to see include:
- Fitness centers: Gyms are among the most popular amenities as they save renters money. The average cost of a gym membership is about $60 per month, so offering this as an added amenity is particularly appealing.
- Business centers: Remote work has grown by 140% over the past decade, meaning more renters need a place to do business while at home. Offering business centers is a major draw for the growing number of individuals who need complete office setups with computers, fax machines, printers, and mail services.
- Pet-friendly amenities: The days of “no dogs allowed” are dwindling as landlords realize that by refusing pets, they’re eliminating 67% of US households. Today’s landlords should cater to pet owners by offering features like dog parks, pet grooming parlors, and pet-friendly walking paths with convenient waste disposal stations.
These are just a few of the amenities apartment owners and managers should focus on to improve a community’s curb appeal and gain new renters. Other options like swimming pools, clubhouses, and coffee shops are also great for inspiring a sense of community that encourages people to rent.
#2: Focus on long-term value for in-unit upgrades
While the tenant will be responsible for damages outside of normal wear and tear in an apartment, for the most part, the owner is going to have to cover the cost of most in-unit renovations. As such, it’s wise to look to upgrades that last longer and require few updates between tenants.
By opting for longer-term in-unit upgrades, the landlord reduces repair expenses between tenants and speeds the unit back to market.
An example of such an upgrade involves replacing carpeted floors with hardwood. In California, the maximum useful life of a carpet is 10 years. Damages must be depreciated based on that table if the landlord wants to charge a tenant for them. So if a tenant damages an 8-year-old carpet that cost $1,000 to install, the most the landlord can charge is $200—the remaining value of its useful life.
However, the useful life of a hardwood or tile floor is significantly longer. If properly cared for, it can last as long as the unit itself. Occasionally, it will have to be refinished, but that’s a much faster, less frequent, and more cost-effective job than replacing an entire carpet. Tiles, meanwhile, are also cost-effective as they can be replaced in pieces to minimize the extent of repairs.
By opting for longer-term in-unit upgrades, the landlord reduces repair expenses between tenants and speeds the unit back to market. While they may cost a bit more at first, they pay for themselves in the decades after their installation.
#3. Consider smart upgrades
The smart home product market brought in an estimated $5 billion in 2018, and this is only the beginning. Smart home innovations will continue to expand, and younger generations will demand these features. Offering tech-focus upgrades like in-unit Wi-Fi and smart security can attract young Millennial renters who consider technology a priority. As this generation has 71 million members, they make up one of the largest renting groups in the housing market. Choosing smart features that are both innovative and cost-effective, will help to attract this lucrative demographic.
The ability to control costs and conserve energy is particularly important to environmentally conscientious Millennials. Some simple installations can go a long way.
Smart thermostats serve as a prime example. Some of the best models cost under $200 and are easy to install. Meanwhile, they can reduce heating and cooling expenses by up to 20%, according to one study of popular Nest thermostats. The ability to control costs and conserve energy is particularly important to environmentally conscientious Millennials. And landlords would do well to meet them in that cause.
Choosing a California Contractor for High-Quality Renovations
Before beginning work with any California multi-family contractor, it’s important to get several proposals and review their license status with the Contractors State Licensing Board. The site is particularly useful as it lists out complaints, insurance, and other necessities the landlord will need information on prior to beginning a renovation project. Proper due diligence in the beginning will save a lot of headaches later.
The best apartment renovation strategies for owners can add significant value to a community but only if completed by an expert California contractor. These individuals can add amenities that create curb appeal, build long-term in-unit upgrades, and set a smart foundation for the amenities of the future. By working with the right partner, California landlords and owners can enhance their communities and the lives of the residents in them.