Understanding which amenities apartment renters expect is key to driving ROI.
By Donna Gill (NREI Online Article) — The great “amenity decision” is on the minds of most of today’s multifamily owners. Which amenities will attract residents? Which will provide the best return on investment?
While these questions are important, it’s also important to first determine a property’s current and target renter demographic. This means understanding which amenities renters are expecting, which services to provide and prioritize and how to best secure ROI through them.
Western National Property Management specializes in attracting and retaining renters to boost the bottom line for multifamily owners—with 179 communities and 24,801 units, catering to new and long-time renters is a must-have quality and a fine-tuned capability. Below are strategies our firm uses to achieve strong results.
Anticipate and manage expectations
Multifamily property managers are aware all renters have expectations for their prospective living situation. Whether this includes laundry services or security systems depends heavily on the generation or community to which a renter belongs.
For example, millennial first-time renters will anticipate common areas, in-house laundry systems, easy food delivery and online rent payments. Baby boomers are more likely to expect high-tech security and smart appliances in their individual units. Generationally, millennials represent nearly half of all new renters, and apartment communities are increasingly implementing online options to meet the demands of this demographic.
Successful and efficient managers see the opportunity in installing renter-specific amenities.
Beyond demographics, additions such as small community parks for pet owners or a lobby concierge service to receive packages when busy renters are out can be helpful for renter attraction and retention. Further, geographic location should also be considered when deciding which services fit best for the community in which property managers operate. It’s important to take note of renter lifestyles and plan for amenities that meet the needs of a specific property.
Above all, honest communication with potential and current renters to better understand what they expect should be step one in building loyalty and renter retention.
Use technology to give residents a voice
The #1 item on most renters’ wish lists is technology focused on convenience—renters expect this more and more as ease becomes a priority in selecting an apartment community.
New young renters seek to solve problems and resist asking for help. One strategy to cater to this preference is providing chatbots and online forums or services where these renters can feel free to ask questions they would not otherwise in person. Giving gen Z and millennial renters a way to have their questions answered without direct engagement will—somewhat ironically—ensure they feel seen and heard.
Further, utilizing technological platforms already in the lives of residents as a means to connect with the community is a vital tool for property managers. Apps like Lyft and Uber offer opportunities for property managers to partner and provide a heightened level of convenience beyond those services by themselves.
All this to say, it is easy to become distracted by the latest, high-quality tech. The aim need not be jumping to the newest technological service, but rather, picking those that will serve residents already in the property. By focusing amenities around items that matter most to specific renters, owners and managers can increase NOI and retention rates exponentially.
Paired with the on-site availability and presence of hands-on managers, these tactics boost renter trust and loyalty, thus improving returns and providing the foundation necessary to maintain resident relationships long-term.
Ensure ROI with real people
A personal touch is essential to maintaining renter confidence in the service-oriented nature of a multifamily community. This begins with having real people monitoring resident needs and providing information when necessary.
Technology, when paired with real people in a trusted community, keeps residents secure in their rental choice. This boosts investment return by attracting potential renters and nurturing appreciation from those already there.
For instance, pairing an online notification service with a reception concierge offers a unique personal touch to an otherwise cold exchange. Introducing the warmth of person-to-person interaction in a property can build renter confidence in management, which can directly correlate to strong renter retention.
The bottom line
Multifamily owners and investors can achieve a strong return on investment by tailoring amenities and services to the specific needs of residents. By actively understanding the nuances of what each generation of renters is seeking, property managers can succeed in garnering strong renter loyalty and longer leases.
The time and capital it takes to invest in amenities sought by loyal renters pays itself back quickly in the form of lower turnover and steady cash flow.