In the wake of COVID-19, the way we do everything has changed, but one thing remains eternal: home is where the heart is. As the experts in Gulf Coast property management, we have never seen this truth more pronounced than during a pandemic when we were all asked to get very acquainted with our homes for the long haul. This extended stay-at-home period was a time for many to feather the nest, organize, and settle further into their rental home to maximize their comfort during a stressful time as much as possible. For others, it highlighted issues with their rental home that they found less than pleasing.
To keep your rental home competitive during times like these, it's worth working with a trusted property management partner to guide you and advise you on rental upgrades you should be making to your property—if any—before you dive into the process yourself and end up making decisions that might negatively impact your ROI. While some of the things renters look for in a home are the same as any other homeowner, others are contradictory or unique compared to what you might expect as an investor. Your residents are also looking for entirely different amenities in a long-term rental than they are in a vacation rental, so it's worth considering this as well when looking to proceed with an upgrade.
In today's article, we're going to focus on the top amenities and rental property upgrades that your renters are looking for in annual or long-term rentals. While we still advise you to consult with us here at Gulf Coast Property Management before you proceed with any updates, this article is designed to give you an idea of what you should be looking for in your rental property that you might not currently offer.
#1: The Price of Your Gulf Coast Rental Property
This is not an 'upgrade,' per se, but it is the number one factor that any applicant is considering when they look at their next rental home according to multiple sources. Your property may have the best amenities and location, but the price will ultimately determine whether or not your rental property will be vacant or rented.
- If your rental property is priced too high, you will scare off qualified renters who have been scanning the market and understand what a rental property is worth.
- If you price too low, you will miss out on the income you could be gaining from a successful and profitable rental property!
With these facts in mind, it's worth taking a look at your rental rate before you make any property upgrades and determining whether or not what you currently offer is in line with market expectations. If you've been severely overpricing your Gulf Coast rental home, it's possible that no upgrades are needed to stay competitive: a simple adjustment to your pricing may be what's overdue.
If you're ever priced your rental before, you know that this process needs to be based on hard data—not intuition. It's worth working with a Gulf Coast property management partner to handle this process for you for free rather than having to do the research yourself. It also gives your property manager a chance to inspect your rental property and see if any of the following upgrades are needed.
#2: Air Conditioning and Ceiling Fans
It's unlikely that your Gulf Coast rental home doesn't have air conditioning since this is such a big deal for comfortable living spaces in Florida. However, it's entirely possible that your unit doesn't have ceiling fans—and if it doesn't, this is a relatively inexpensive upgrade that can make a big difference in the comfort and desirability of your rental property.
- Install ceiling fans in bedrooms and high traffic areas to improve airflow and keep your renters cool.
- Choose timeless styles that compliment your rental and remain neutral enough to match any decor.
They may seem fairly easy to install, but if you don't have experience with electrical wiring, it's worth your time to work with one of your trusted contractors or property managers to schedule a professional installation.
#3: In-Unit Appliances
Unlike a traditional home-buying experience where you may not want a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, or refrigerator already installed in the home, your renters expect all of these amenities and more in a modern rental. The convenience of a washing machine and dryer in your rental home can be a huge 'selling point' for potential applicants. These days, having to cart your laundry to a laundromat is a sign that your rental is dated and out-of-touch with the kind of lifestyle and convenience your renters are looking for along the Gulf Coast.
Furthermore, your renters will expect these appliances to be functional and durable: nobody wants to settle into their new rental home and find that they're stuck with a cheap oven that is tens of degrees away from accurate baking temperatures or a clogged dryer vent. Taking the time to service the appliances you do offer between renters will not only extend their life, but it will also ensure that your rental is putting its best foot forward for your next renter.
Stainless steel appliances happen to be a hot trend right now, but if you can't spring for the expense of stainless steel appliances, 'stainless look' appliances are more affordable. If you don't want to completely overhaul your current in-unit offerings, you can always get crafty and give them a face-lift.
Make Better Upgrades When You Work With a Property Manager
This is just a small sample of the kind of updates and amenities modern renters are looking for out of their Gulf Coast rental home! To truly maximize all the potential your rental property has, you should be working with a Gulf Coast property management professional.
To see the kind of insight and attention to detail a property management partner has to offer, get started with our FREE resource to prep your property for your next renter: the Makeready Checklist!