The basic amenities a landlord offers can make or break your rental business.
There is no doubt that renters are expecting more amenities than ever, so I’m going to share with you some of my tips and tricks on getting a high quality look without breaking the bank!
What are Amenities?
When you hear amenities, what do you think of? Perhaps, a pool or even a hot tub?
Don’t get me wrong, those features are awesome, but very few of us think about the basic amenities that are often expected by tenants, but not required by landlords.
- Washers and Dryers
- Types of Window Coverings
- Paint – Yup, I said paint!
1. In-Unit Washers and Dryers
There is a great debate on whether or not washers/dryers should be mandatory in rentals. The good news is that you can have both.
In my opinion, it depends on a lot of factors such as:
- Common Areas: If you have a building of studio units with no space for in-unit laundry nor the plumbing set up, a community laundry space is a decent option. However, you have to maintain it and keep it clean. Don’t count on your residents to clean common area.
- Washer/Dryer Combination Units: Believe it or not, there are appliances that will wash and dry your clothes within the same machine. They are called washer/dryer combination units and they are amazing. They can be easily installed into small closets or can even replace a dishwasher (see picture below).
- Traditional Units: If you have a large house or unit with an obvious space for laundry, without a doubt add it.
- If all of your competition includes a washer/dryer, you better believe that you should be offering some type of laundry service too.
- If none of your competitors provide a washer/dryer, adding one just may set you apart from the rest.
Should I Offer Coin Operated Machines?
It’s 2017, and tenants want in-unit laundry. So, with the new combo machines hitting the market, my short answer is no.
But if that’s not possible, my general rule is that you should only offer coin-operated machines when it is a community laundry space shared by 3 or more units.
I never charge for washing machines in the following situations:
- If the tenant pays the water, definitely no coin-op machines,
- If it’s in a single family home or a washer and dryer space exists in the rental unit, definitely no coin-op machines,
- If it’s in a multi-unit building with a community laundry space, coin-op machines are somewhat expected.
Which of the following reasons is TRUE?
You probably guessed it, all of the above are correct. So while it can be a great way to make some extra cash, tenants definitely prefer free machines.
2. Closet Organizers
If you love clothes, shoes and the 1995 classic, Clueless, you were probably in awe of Cher’s closet with the spinning wardrobe rack just as I was when I first saw it.
Well, I grew up and so did my taste for closet organizers.
I have since learned that most tenants expect closets to have organizing systems, and they are not that expensive to buy and install.
You can find some affordable solutions at:
- Home Depot, Lowes, Menards or any big box DIY store
- Online at Target, Walmart or various other websites
- Local hardware store
I’ve installed closet organizers in 90% of my properties and it is a requirement in all of our renovations for new properties that we acquire.
The benefits of closet organizers include:
- Helps tenant keep their home cleaner and more organized.
- Prevents the need for tenant to purchase additional storage furniture that may clutter up the space.
- Helpful for future rental showings!
3. Window Coverings
If you are still using vinyl roller shades or plastic mini-blinds in a super competitive rental market, I am here to tell you…
IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE!!!
Seriously, tear them down and throw them in your fire pit now. They are ugly, easily damaged (or never operate properly in the first place) and are atrocious to clean.
Splurge on curtains and an attractive current rod that works well with the style of the house.
Curtains can give the home a high-end look without the price tag of a custom blind purchase.
TIP: IKEA’s curtains come super long and usually in a 2 pack for $10-$20. If you have easy access to a free or cheap seamstress, you can often get four windows worth of curtains out of one package.
Not a seamstress? No big deal.
- Just cut the length
- Use fabric tape to create a finished seam
- Scrap the excess fabric
Wait, wait, wait….paint is an amenity?
Yup, it sure is! The only time a white matte wall is acceptable is when it is making a statement.
Other than that, matte white walls just look cheap. Choose a color that adds personality and character.
- Choose an earth tone that you can use throughout – it’s fine to use one color throughout
- Grey tones go well with white trim
Try my go to color: Light French Gray from Sherwin Williams
- Earthy beige and gold tones are great with wood stained trims
Try my go to color: Toasted Pine Nut from Sherwin Williams
Most professional paint stores have access to the color codes of other suppliers or have a color specialist that can guide you in the right direction!
Do you have a tip or an amenity that you regularly offer in your rentals? If so, please share in the comments below!