Recently, the priorities of renters have shifted. This is due not only to the immediate effects of the coronavirus pandemic, but also to its long-term social and economic impacts.
To prepare for the future rental market, property owners have to adjust, both in what they offer and how they offer it. While virtual tours have become essential elements of rental listings, what these listings must include to capture a home-seeker’s attention is the clinch.
Here are five features and amenities to raise your property’s rental value and succeed in the market.
Home Office Space
Remote work is here to stay. When companies first shifted work online at the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns, it was an emergency measure. Six months later, technology, routines, and infrastructure for telecommuting are firmly in place. Countless companies say they will keep this new workforce model even after the end of the pandemic.
For property owners, this means that adding home office spaces will attract professionals as tenants, especially younger ones.
Essential home office features are proper lighting from both natural and artificial sources, enough electrical outlets, and fast internet access. Soundproofing or sufficient distance from noisy areas of the property are a plus. If you’re renting your property furnished, tenants will appreciate an ergonomic office chair, a spacious desk, and a bookcase or filing cabinet.
With a lagging economic recovery, uncertain times lie ahead. Statistics show that one way people are coping is to avoid the painful bills (and infection risk) that come with dining out. Instead, they are cooking at home more. That banana bread went viral during lockdown is just one sign of that trend.
Consequently, a well-furnished, updated kitchen now ranks amongst the top five desirable home features.
For some property owners, providing such a kitchen may entail an entire remodel. While it sounds daunting, a specialized contractor can handle this cleanly, quickly, and with a minimum of disruption.
Short of a remodel, there is already a lot of value in adding high-quality countertops, spacious cabinets, and stainless steel appliances. Durable materials pay off in the long run, since kitchens, like bathrooms, tend to suffer from moisture and heat.
In addition, consider opening closed kitchens into adjoining living rooms. Cooking is no longer a solitary task – with the pandemic, it has become a social activity.
For tenants, it’s a big plus if their prospective apartment comes with modern, energy-efficient appliances. Washers, driers, fridges and dishwashers are favorites, as is efficient heating and cooling.
For one, they’re spared the hassle of moving heavy appliances or buying new ones. For another, the low power requirements relieve both their ecological conscience and utility bills.
Compared to the gain in rental value, replacing aging appliances is a relatively small investment for property owners.
Many apartment owners are highly skeptical of pets. Dogs might bark and relieve themselves in a corner, cats might scratch up door frames.
However, this cuts both ways: A categorical ban on furry companions is a deal-breaker for many home-hunters. Under the current conditions, people value companionship more than ever. They are willing to look for housing that doesn’t deprive them of that companionship.
This is why a recent study showed that pet-friendly apartments can ask 20-30% more. There’s more: These apartments also rent out within 19 days – as opposed to 29 for those banning pets. In addition, with an average of 46 months, pet owners are long-term tenants. Non-owners stay just 18 months on average.
The bottom line? Consider allowing pets with special contract conditions, rather than banning them.
Storage, Storage, Storage
Storage is always an appealing feature. Now, with people spending more time in their homes, any square inch of additional space to reduce clutter is particularly appreciated by renters.
Adding storage is a relatively quick and easy way to increase your rental property’s value. Built-in or sliding door cupboards and wardrobes are a great way of making existing spaces feel bigger. Dead space under beds, in kitchen corners, or over bathroom cabinets can be put to better use. Some research – and perhaps a carpenter’s professional opinion – will get you plenty of smart solutions.
Also think about secure outdoor storage space. Bicycle storage – even a lockable shed – may clinch the deal for eco-conscious renters.
At the end of the day, adapting your property to the shifting rental market and the changed priorities of home-hunters is crucial. Some adjustments are quick fixes – such as allowing pets or exchanging appliances. Others require more time and investment, like upgrading a kitchen. In the long run, they all will be worth their cost in rental value.