Having shown thousands of potential tenants hundreds and hundreds of properties from simple studios to multi-million dollar mansions, there are a few factors that always seem make the difference when choosing one property over another.
If you are an investor or thinking about it, I’ve outlined five secrets on what renters really want, whether they tell you or not!
So, the trick is, whenever possible, put in granite. It isn’t much more than laminate (especially if you can use remnant pieces) and it actually wears better than any other counter material so it will last longer in a rental and its hypnotic powers are indescribable!
For some reason, when a property has granite it acts like this hypnotic vortex that immediately pulls people in. Whether it’s because it’s shiny or a symbol of luxury, it works. In fact, there’s a property on a dead end street with access that even GPS can’t seem to find on a dirt road with pot holes bigger than my car and kind of looks haunted on the outside, but when you open the door, this big, beautiful granite island stares you in the face and draws you in. To be fair, this property also has my other 4 secrets as well, but, I kid you not, every time this unit comes open, there is nearly a brawl over who is “1st in line”.
White can be clinical and cold. It is the most popular color for a rental because it is easy and usually pretty easy to match when patching, but deep down, prospective tenants just don’t like it. We have a 17 unit condo complex. All of the units were white when we started managing it. Slowly over time, we’ve updated the paint to a neutral tan with white trim and neutral carpet. Not only do these units rent quicker, they rent for nearly $100/more!Sometimes a prospect can’t pin down what they don’t like about a unit, but it just doesn’t “feel” cozy. Adding a little warmth in the color creates an inviting feel and in nearly every instance rents faster and for more (assuming the paint is done well.
This seems painfully obvious, but when potential tenants are looking at places to rent, they get online and look in the paper, and then they make a list and drive by each of the places to see where they are and what they look like. If the yard is dead, the paint is peeling, there is garbage, miscellaneous things are falling apart, it sends a message that if the outside is falling apart, how will the landlord take care of the inside once I move in and it is an immediate barrier. Properties that have an exterior that is clean, free of debris, chipping paint, damage, and groomed yard will ALWAYS make a better first impression.
When living in a house you are usually walking barefoot, lying on the floors, and if you have little ones, you let them crawl on the floor. Consciously or subconsciously, when tenants are looking at properties, flooring makes a huge difference. Old, torn, dirty, smelly, stained flooring isn’t appealing. People don’t want to live in other people’s dirt. Even if the carpet has been sanitized, heavy stains are hard to overlook. Flooring can be one of the biggest expenses in a property to replace, but the different it makes is enormous! There are so many new and reasonably priced flooring solutions now that it makes sense to make the investment to get the better tenant that wants to take care of the property and wants to stay longer. This will reduce the overall costs in the long run! A happy tenant is usually a better tenant.
In addition to being clean, it should be free of smells. The sense of smell is almost more memorable than sight. And like other decisions, people may not consciously be making decisions based on the smell of the property, but I promise, if there is a smell and it isn’t inviting, it will make a difference.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard, wow, your properties are really clean. Well, of course they are clean! As I said above, no one wants to live in someone else’s dirt and filth, I certainly don’t! When renting a property, the biggest trick is to have it professionally cleaned not by someone who just does daily house cleaning, but by someone trained in property turn-over. These experts pull out the appliances, clean the blinds, window sills, tracks, fan blades, light fixtures, fridge cracks, hard water stains, grout, and all the little nooks and crannies that we don’t even see but are there.
There you have it, my 5 secret tricks to getting your property rented quicker, at higher rates and by better tenants. Of course there are hundreds of other factors that go into decision making by every individual, but from meeting and talking to thousands of people, these are the top 5 that seem to really make a difference!