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article imageWhat renters want most is for their apartment to feel like a home

By Nicole Pajer     Jan 17, 2014 in Business
When it comes to rental units, the number one thing that clients are looking for is a place that feels like home. Established property management companies weigh in on how to accomplish this.
According to the Census Bureau, an estimated 67% percent of Americans own their homes. That leaves 33% who live in rental properties. The fact that so many people rent may sound like a great scenario for people who manage rental units for a living, however, the apartment industry is ridden with turnover. While some tenants opt to live in the same apartment for many years, a number of renters move from one rental to the next. Michael Lee is a prime example. After having moved to Los Angeles in 2002, Lee has apartment hopped, living in five different rentals before finally settling into a duplex in Sherman Oaks where he has resided for the past seven years. “I was looking for someplace I really liked,” says Lee. “Even though I’m renting, my current place feels like a house. I have a yard, it’s clean, and it’s modern. Everything else felt like a place that was ‘good enough for now”
When it comes to what tenants are looking for, Lee’s scenario is right on par. Renters want a place that feels like a home. For property managers, one of the greatest ways to appeal to prospective renters is to offer a cozy living environment that exudes a permanent feel.
According to a recent survey, the main things that prospective renters consider when looking for a new residence are: curb appeal, the common area, security/parking, apartment appeal, and additional amenities. Establishing this set of criteria in your rental properties is said to give property managers an edge on both attracting and retaining renters.
Keep the Property Clean and Well Maintained
Clients searching for a new home will want to make sure that the property is well maintained and is sanitary. Before showing an apartment, you should to hire a professional cleaning crew to come in and sweep the place clean. In addition, it’s important to keep hallways, courtyards, community garages and other shared spaces in top-notch shape.
Rental units should also be kept free of excess clutter. “You want your property to look lived in, which means including furniture and small decorative details whenever possible,” says PMC Property Group, an East Coast development and rental management company. “However, you also want the prospective renter to be able to imagine themselves and their own belongings in the space. This is more easily accomplished if there are not already tons of someone else’s belongings taking up every available inch of space.”
Appeal to The Senses
You want your rental property to be visually appealing. A great way to do this is to walk through a property as if you were a potential renter. Look at the building with fresh eyes. Go through each room and pretend that you were considering moving into this location. Think about what types of things would you like to see in a potential new home. Von Klein, who manages rental properties near the University of Oregon, suggests arranging furniture so as to simulate a comfortable living environment. Seek out a professional decorator to weigh in on the best ways to make use of the property’s space. Change the light fixtures to make them more modern. Add a fresh coat of paint and maybe create an accent wall to liven up a boring room. Change outlet covers, out of date blinds, and rusted fan blades.
Make sure your unit smells inviting and clean. Install air fresheners in musty closets and light candles to create both ambiance and a relaxing scent. Another great way to give your clients a taste of home is through soothing sounds. “You can appeal to the sense of sound by hanging wind chimes outside the property or playing relaxing music during the tour,” adds a PMC Property Group representative.
Making Your Property Inviting with a Sense of Nature
Research shows that surrounding yourself with nature and greenery alleviates stress and suggests a cozy environment. Midwest-based luxury apartment rental gurus, suggests keeping lawns and gardens well maintained. If the property has a balcony instead of a backyard, jazz the place up by adding flower boxes and hanging planters. Plant fresh flowers and plants around the premise. This will create a fresh smell, clean air, and will transform the rental property into a calming sanctuary.
Keep Things Modern
The rental market is competitive and one way to stand out is to keep your units modernized. Von Klein suggests renovating your apartments and rental homes whenever possible. When one tenant moves out, take the opportunity to upgrade outdated blinds, install new ceiling fans, and switch out unsightly kitchen cupboards. Those tiny touches will add up and will help your units take on a homier vibe.
PMC Property Group reps have had success with adding special touches to model units and furnished properties. “Treat your properties like five-star hotel rooms about to receive important guests,” PMC recommends. “Set the table, put clean linens on the beds, and generally spruce the place up.” Even things like adding new art to the walls to installing energy-efficient appliances will appeal to prospective tenants.
An apartment or rental house doesn’t have to feel temporary. Follow the advice of the experts above to transform your rental units into the inviting home that your prospective tenants are searching for.
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