The Top 7 Simple Fixes to Get Your Apartment Rented

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Whether you have been in the real estate industry for seven months or seven years, you have probably learned that the expectations for apartments today are a lot more intricate and detailed than they used to be.

This specifically applies to the “Millennial Renter” who tends to be a top tier renter who is loyal and strives to find a perfect apartment to settle down in. The catch? They are hard to please. Overgrown bushes in the front yard? Next. Outdated doorknobs, light switches and appliances? Next.

Cue the shiny, desirable amenities that make a place go from “next” to “this is the one. Now we know that it’s not realistic to renovate your properties every one to two years depending on the change in trend. We also know that time is the biggest obstacle to maintain each and every property you manage. That is why we are bringing you seven quick, affordable fixes to make your apartment(s) stand out and attract those mysterious, twenty-something renters without breaking the bank.

1. Neutral Paint: This is number one on our list because it is hands down the cheapest and smallest change that makes arguably the biggest impact on your apartment. Spending a few hours to go from yellow to a light gray dramatically changes the feel of your property. Not only does it breathe new life into the space, but gives off a fresh, new feeling that makes prospective tenants feel at home. Subtle, earthy tones like light gray, taupe, and clay are foolproof colors you should be using right now.

2. Fixtures and Hardware: Lighting, doorknobs, hinges, towel bars, the list of forgotten apartment finishes that make ALL the difference could go on…and on. We have seen that these fixtures and hardware go years without change, and unfortunately, this is pushing away potential (young) renters. Your brass finishes scream outdated, but replacing them with stainless steel, or a nice clean nickel. And as for light fixtures: you can still stay on the cheap side and avoid using outdated, old school lights at the same time! Try going for some eco-friendly lights or small pendant lighting in the kitchen. These add some character to your apartment, almost guaranteeing a high-quality tenant to move right in.

3. Dog-Friendly: That’s right. Making some if not all of your properties dog-friendly. We know you have heard about the (very) high percentages describing how many young renters in Chicago have a dog, so we won’t bore you with those details. Instead, we want to talk about the fact that parks, patios, coffee bars, boutique shops and even some high end restaurants are all making the popular transition to becoming dog-friendly. If any of these neighborhood “hot spots” are near your properties, this could mean major business…if you are dog friendly. We believe the time has finally come where the benefits of becoming dog-friendly outweigh the disadvantages.

4. Dishwashers, Dishwashers, Dishwashers: This one pretty much speaks for itself when it comes to small but lasting improvements. Putting in a dishwasher will attract those A and B clients we all love and cherish. The ones that may renew their lease for a handful of years when it comes down to it.

5. Updated Bathrooms: Updating bathrooms may seem a little daunting, and could definitely add on the extra $$$. However, if you update the right parts of the standard bathroom, these renovations could last you years and years to come. No one likes a dirty, outdated bathroom space. Showing potential tenants that you have kept up the faucets, replaced shower heads and/or updated the plumbing systems can only help you attract those loyal, millennial renters. From a personal standpoint, we have seen hundreds of very nice apartments stay vacant because of outdated, messy bathrooms and it is one of our top suggestions we give to landlords in the Chicago area. Our rule of thumb? If you wouldn’t use the facility yourself, it probably isn’t up to par. Switch out those very old toilet seats, replace the sinks and BOOM! you’ve got renters.

6. Classic, Timeless Finishes: The poll is in: the apartment finishes you thought were a good idea 10 years ago are old news, but changing them again and again is a constant pain in the butt. That is why number 6 on our list is investing in classic, timeless finishes. White molding and cabinetry, wood flooring, “smart” devises like Nest, staying far away from drapes, and laundry in-unit are just a few of the many small features that will never go out of style. Oh, and did we mention the young renters LOVE them? Technology mixed with simplicity is the perfect storm to make your apartments stand out amongst the competition.

7. “Common” Areas: Last but definitely not least on our list are the often forgotten “common” areas. Side yards, front yards, hallways, staircases, garages, gardens, etc. all give potential renters their first impressions into what the inside of the apartment will look like. These areas will also make a huge impact at a very low cost. Painting the handful of walls in the hallways, weeding the front yard or even putting in a fun fire-pit or grilling area will solidify that your property isn’t just “another rental space” but a home. These upgrades prove to be inexpensive but improve the look and feel of the area completely.

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Five Often Forgotten Tips From a First-Time Renter