August 29, 2009

Increase Rental Income and Lower Your Vacancies

In keeping with the article on the walkability survey and how convenience increases home value, I thought that looking into what renters are willing to pay for now would be useful. The ability to rent fast and for more money should be as important the single family home owner as it is to rental property owners. Many home buyers dont really think of the rental qualities of their home purchase, yet property is holds more value partly based on rent and vacancy rates. Single family homes are, or should be, more highly valued if they can be rented fast. This economy drives home the point that the rental factor is important to home owners too. Many home owners are unable to sell and find themselves reluctant landlords. Being able to rent well counts.

Whats Renters Want Now
Think Life Style

Some of the new developments are trying to compete with single family homes, in that they are providing the space and amenities of a single family home without the maintenance. The idea is to combine family style living with an apartment community. To fuse the best of both worlds and provide a good alternative to home ownership.

On Site Services

Many of us are either telecommuting or somehow tethered to some digital other words we are always working. Its become part of our lifestyle. Multi family is tuned into this change in our behavior and is bringing business related facilities into the home space. The highest rents and lowest vacancy rates are going to multifamilies that are responding by building:

1.Business centers or private meeting rooms, so that groups can meet at a members home facility rather than a coffee shop. These conference rooms are plugged! They have video feeds and big plasma screens
2.Small gym facilities. I have seen smaller rooms built out with some weights and a hand full of Nautilus machines really do the trick
3.Billiards and games tables
4. A public Internet network for tenants
5 A common area where neighbors can get together
6.Consider inviting local services, such as dry cleaners to provide building services at a reduced rate

The idea is to create a sense of community. Taking a page from the retirement community, apartments are being reimagined to include more lifestyle living to reduce tenant churn. In these tough times tenant retention is just good business.

Re-purpose Existing Space to Increase Income

1. Revenue Sharing Arrangements. Consider leasing your washer dryer machines for a revenue share. The company will maintain the machines and share income with you.
2. Consider fencing off some basement for bicycle storage or other storage for a monthly fee.
3. Vending Machines and other ancillary services. You can affiliate with local dry cleaners etc to provide a service for a small fee.
4. Get wired! As units become vacant, add cable, more phone lines and high speed Internet connections
5. Go Green: As units become vacant install low flow shower heads, energy efficient lighting and low flow toilets. The water savings to the owner is well worth it and good Eco citizenship is a plus. Programmable thermostats can save as much as $160 annually per unit. Its a tenant savings, but tenants will be appreciate it.
6. Check out Zip Car offer high competitive rates for parking space in some cities. You might want to see what they can do for you.

Get Tenant Centric

1. A good web site template with slide shows and online apartment applications for new rentals. Also use the free listing services, such as craigs list
2. Online rent payments include tenant accounts with individual passwords. Train your tenants to go there before calling for any rent discrepancies.
3. Create an on line calendar for all building events and whatever you can think of that creates a go to place for communications. Its a good idea to have important phone numbers such as fire and gas and electric etc on line. The more information you can put on line the less nuisance phone calls you will receive
4. Keeping it simple for the renter is good business and generally means simpler for management too. Add the ability for online maintenance request forms to save phone time and provide you with the paper trail you need to stay on top.

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