With more apartments coming on line, it’s time to plan your interior selections upgrades. We all know that renters want to live in apartments that have a modern, updated look. Upgrading your vacant units so they have what renters want will help decrease vacancy loss. If you’re not sure what’s in demand in your area, tour new home communities, read decorating magazines and watch Home Improvement Shows to get ideas. Following are some quick tips to help you implement what you learn without breaking the bank.
- Quality – Have a well thought out plan to make sure your selections will last. Quality doesn’t always mean super expensive. Make a list of your “must-have” upgrades and devote ample room in your budget to those quality items. You can make cut backs on the “nice to have” items.
- Upgrade in phases. There’s no need to do everything at once. You can update the flooring, cabinets, counters, and lighting in each apartment as it becomes available for rent. This will enable you to spread out the cost of the investment.
- Offer packages. Offer renters two upgrade packages—one with total renovations and one with partial upgrades. For example, if you’ve already changed the cabinets, and the countertops are in good condition but the color is outdated, select a paint color that will change look and feel of the kitchen so the countertops don’t look dated. Then offer the apartment as partially upgraded.
- Invest in flooring. Carpeting gets ruined very easily. Make your flooring last longer by installing a laminate floor. A good selection could be a distressed wood look. It’s in style and will hide wear and tear.
- Think green. Install dual flush toilet conversion kits. They’re inexpensive at around $40 each. It is also easy and low-cost to install low-flow shower and faucet aerators. Additionally, installing fluorescent light bulbs will show a noticeable reduction in utility bills. Look for incentives and rebates to help trim costs even more.
- Granite for less. Yes, you can offer granite-like countertops. My favorite sources for countertop makeovers are Giani Granite (http://www.gianigranite.com/) and Appliance Art, supplier of Instant Granite (http://www.applianceart.com/). Check them out.
Upgrades and renovations don’t have to drain your bank account or be a source of anxiety. Carefully planned upgrades can be both simple and profitable. So start your upgrade plan today to make your apartment offerings more desirable. Before you know it, you’ll have a fully leased community
Cathy Macaione is owner of Macaione Consulting Services and may be reached by emailing [email protected].