Landlords, multifamily developers, and investors in rental properties would do themselves a favor to take a look at what apartment renters actually want in a property. After all, your profits are directly tied to your ability to deliver on those expectations. An annual survey by NMHC and Kingsley Associates, and reported by National Real Estate Investor Online, has the answer for you.
For starters, the number one feature renters want is central air conditioning. That might not be a huge surprise, but did you know they’d rather have on-site child care than a fitness center?
There are other interesting results, as well.
What Renters Are Willing To Pay for Creature Comforts
While knowing what apartment renters want is one thing, knowing how much they’ll pay is quite another. According to the survey, 95 percent want air conditioning and are willing to pay a $40.98 per-month premium for it. The 94 percent who want soundproof walls are willing to pay $37.94 per month. The will rate for a garbage disposal is $27.09 per month. Ninety-two percent of respondents said they want a garbage disposal.
Ninety-one percent of apartment renters want reliable cell reception, but only 85 percent want a swimming pool and controlled access. They’ll pay $44.78 more in rent per month for on-site child care, $38.86 more for valet parking, and $30 more for reliable cell service.
What Apartment Renters Are Not Interested In
What they don’t want is just as interesting as what they do. Sixty-nine percent are definitely not interested in co-living spaces. Sixteen percent said they
“probably” would not be interested. Twelve percent said it depends on price, and four percent are definitely interested.
For voice-activated technology, 66 percent are not interested versus 34 percent that are.
What Apartment Renters Wanted in 2018
The same survey was conducted in 2017, asking what apartment renters wanted for 2018. The results may surprise you.
Eighty-two percent wanted fitness centers if they don’t use them. In fact, 41 percent said they rarely use them. Nevertheless, renters were willing to pay $31.75 per month for the opportunity to stay in shape.
Two years ago, renters wanted package lockers. Fifty-seven percent were interested or highly interested. Forty-seven percent reported receiving at least three packages per month.
Outdoors, four out of five apartment renters wanted a patio or a balcony in 2018. Two-thirds were interested in shared outdoor spaces and common barbeque grills. Almost half noted a playground or community dog park on their list of desired amenities.
One area renters two years ago had in common with those today was the lack of interest in smart technology. Only 14 to 17 percent said they wouldn’t rent an apartment if it didn’t have a smart thermostat, smart lighting, or smart locks. They were willing to pay $30 per month extra for them, however, if an apartment had those features.
What Does This Mean For Rental Investors Today?
It’s one thing to know what renters want, and don’t want, but it’s another thing entirely to deliver on it. When it comes to changing apartment amenities to meet the demands of renters, investors should consider a few things first:
- What are the local desires of renters in your area? This is important because geographical differences can play a part in renter expectations.
- Will the cost of changing amenities result in a return on investment enough to make it worth your while. This is where you’ll have to do that math.
- This information illustrates that renter desires change rapidly. Two years is not a long time. Do you really want to convert that fitness center into a child care center only to find out two years from now that renters want a fitness center? What will you do with all that equipment in the meantime?
The bottom line is, you’re in business to make money. If you’re developing from the ground up, it makes sense to build for today’s expectations. If you’re buying an apartment built with amenities from two-year-old expectation, it might not be worth the expense to convert your amenities. Do your own due diligence and do what is best for your pocketbook. That goes for investors in marketplace properties, too.