Most property managers and landlords recognize that amenities are the most alluring draws for potential tenants. Pools, fitness centers, and proximity to local events are just some of the most popular examples that someone might want from a rental property. When it comes down to choosing between two properties, it's often the presence of amenities that will sway the final decision.
No area knows this better than Seattle. The competition has become increasingly intense within the last year, so much so, that many have dubbed the shift as "over the top." Where landlords once advertised on-site laundry as a luxury, a growing number of landlords have begun to build pools, invest in wine bars, install dog parks, and remodel entirely new community spaces to attract and retain tenants. Some of these projects might be a savvy move -- after all, a simple basement renovation can give you a 70% ROI -- but many others are hesitant to invest in the large price tag these communities have to offer.
So what are people actually looking for in 2019?
Whether you're trying to get a leg up on the competition or enter the rental market for the first time, here are some of the most popular amenities that people are searching for this year.
It's becoming harder and harder to find rentals on the market that are okay with having pets, especially dogs. After all, the claws, hair, and smell alone are enough to raise the price of a security deposit by a couple hundred dollars. But if your rental isn't pet-friendly, you're missing out on a large number of potential tenants.
It's estimated that almost 70% of all households owned at least one dog back in 2017 and these numbers are only expected to continue. Time and time again, pet-friendliness has made it to the top of the preferred amenities for renters. For the landlords and property managers that do allow pets, these individuals are often able to mitigate the potential costs for repair with the help of pet rent or larger security deposits.
Other property owners have found that investing in dog-friendly materials is another good move. If you know you want to allow dogs on your property, choosing proper building materials is the best way to go. Tile and laminate flooring does a good job at preventing scratches while a concrete garage can last for 100 years or more without breaking. While this might not be the best option for your living room floor, this is a great option for garages, basements, driveways, and more.
A recent survey by Zumper revealed that air conditioning was among the most searched-for components online. This is a necessary feature in most hot or humid locations but this idea is not often thought of when it comes to amenities.
This is because providing air conditioning isn't a necessary requirement of landlords in every state. A proper HVAC unit will save you both time and energy when you turn it on. This is a great option for older apartment buildings looking to get a leg-up on competitors in the area. In fact, new appliances not only show that you care about the tenant but they also show that you care about the quality of your properties. Don't hesitate to look at your plumbing when you install new HVAC as well -- it's estimated that a single leaky pipe can waste more than 90 gallons of water each day.
What summer amenity list would be complete without mentioning the pool? Even though this feature doesn't have the enormous sway it used to hold among renters, potential tenants are still floored by the thought of using a pool in the hot days of summer. This becomes an even more frugal purchase when you realize that a pool isn't used as often as tenants hope.
In fact, the presence of a pool is more of an attractor than an actual feature of your property. After all, tenants use this amenity far less often than they hope to when they sign that dotted line. This isn't all that surprising when you remember that the average sunburn can start within the first 15 minutes of being outside. When fewer people use this property feature, that means it's easier to maintain than one might think. Even though glass surface tiles on pools can last almost indefinitely, too much wear and tear can put a strain on any pool.
Investing in security features is another way to show that you care about your tenants and their livelihood. While you don't have to hire armed guards to watch the entrance of your community, simply installing cameras and relying on carded entry can make tenants feel much safer.
While this feature isn't exactly an amenity, it's worth mentioning nonetheless. This is because tenants love it when a landlord is able to offer a single payment option for all of their bills. Not only does this make managing their monthly budget easier, but it also takes the guesswork out of picking the right energy supplier.
It's important to note that the median cost of an unfurnished apartment in the United States settles at around $1,400. If tenants know that this includes access to amenities and all their utilities, they'll be willing to pay more in the long run. And because rental units are often cheaper to heat than entire houses, this makes it a win-win situation for all parties involved.
It just goes to show that you don't have to install a brand new wine bar to attract potential tenants. When you want to appeal to new renters, try investing in these simple amenities to make an impact in 2019.