Picture this: you’re showing off one of your nicest units to some prospects—college students looking to finally live off campus. Before they leave, they share that they won’t be moving into your property. When you ask why, they say, “It just looks like the ‘90s.” But the ‘90s were only two decades ago!? This building was a hit in the ‘90s because of how in vogue it was… but now, it’s simply outdated. Maybe this is you, or maybe your units are starting to look too much like 2005. Updating and modernizing your property is essential to gaining new tenants, across all generations. So if you’re looking for something to enhance your properties, look no further! We’ve provided both big and small projects that will take your units up a notch and far away from “out of date.”
Where do we start?
Every property is unique—some are older, some have specific issues to address, and some just need a few touch-ups. The best place to begin is the inside the units, but that shouldn’t be where you end. Every time a tenant moves out, that creates a perfect opportunity for you to handle updates. That way you can show off refreshed units to prospects and immediately boost your property’s desirability. If you’re looking for a quicker overhaul of your portfolio, here are a few things you can add to your to-do list:
Depending on how long your tenant has lived in the unit, the lighting fixtures may be outdated. Consider modernizing and improving these to show off a more vibrant home. This can also be said of the facility as a whole—make sure common-area lights shine bright, too!
New curtains and blinds can make a big change in any room. And if smoke, pets, dust, or time has left its mark on the windows, it might also be time to upgrade them as well.
Replacing or removing carpets within a unit is an expensive commitment. However, switching to wood, laminate, or luxury vinyl flooring can be more hygienic, easier to clean for tenants, and these options create a more modern look within a home. You are also less likely to have to replace non-carpet flooring over a long period. Look at the long-term when buying flooring—get a product that can handle wear and tear because you know that’s bound to happen.
Mindy Abramson, owner at Distinguishing Style, LLC, stated that “Replacements for hardware and fixtures that are dated or in poor repair are inexpensive and can immediately upgrade the look of your rental property.” Consider changing brass fixtures to stainless steel, satin nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze for a contemporary look.
Although various landscape concerns need to be addressed throughout the changing seasons, it doesn’t hurt to upgrade your landscape to attract more prospects from the outside. Keep your property attractive throughout the year—even in the winter seasons—with decorations or weather-appropriate flowers out front.
Updating the paint in your units and around your property can bring new life and make your prospects and current residents feel refreshed. As recommended by BiggerPockets, be sure to “pick colors that fit your area and that are soothing to your tenants.”
If you choose to upgrade outdated appliances, you will not only win over prospects, but you may keep your current tenants longer. Upgraded appliances are a crowd pleaser and can help you increase rents in vacant units without raising any eyebrows from surrounding residents.
Upgrading the technology in your property immediately creates the feeling of a modern place to live. How long has it been since your property’s heating and cooling systems were installed/improved? What about a keyless entry system? These small but mighty changes can make a huge difference.
Although renovating individual units is important to attracting and keeping tenants, modernizing the outside and common areas of your property can be just as critical. You can make a huge impact by undertaking small improvements. Enhancing the curb appeal of your property will take you above and beyond for many prospects. BiggerPockets notes a few changes you can make:
- Change a dated courtyard to a new fire pit or fireplace
- Supplement the old landscaping with new modern plants and color
- Change out the playground equipment for newer equipment
- Add new planters and chairs to the pool area
What are the benefits?
Updates to your facilities benefit your prospects, your current residents, and you—it’s a win/win for everyone! Resident satisfaction will increase as the place your tenants call home transforms in front of their eyes. Modernization also creates an immediate and obvious attraction for prospects… and you’ll benefit from the repairs as well! With updated units and properties, you can adjust rents, improve energy efficiency, and extend repair timetables—saving you money in the long run. With a new decade just a few weeks away, now may be the perfect time to consider stepping out of the past and into the future at your communities!