Apartment upgrades can be costly. They're often necessary, however, to stay up to date and beat competitors. But which apartment amenities will give you the most bang for your buck? Below, you'll find a few of the top amenities that may be of high interest to both renters and your pocketbook.
1. In-Unit Laundry
Adding in-unit washers and dryers can cost $835 or more per unit. While installation may seem a bit costly, adding this amenity is one of the cheaper options for apartment upgrades. Plus, if residents pay for utilities, you won't be stuck with the water bill on top of the upfront costs.
Installing laundry amenities may allow you to raise monthly rent by $50 to $100. You can break even after a year or two and receive a significant return on your investment moving forward.
2. Wood Flooring
Long gone are the days of fully carpeted apartments. Now, landlords are investing in hardwood and imitation wood flooring. According to the National Apartment Association, installing real wood will cost you about $1,400 on average. Hardwood flooring also accounted for 12% of rent increases in 2017.
Moreover, nearly half of all residents were willing to pay premiums of $75 for wood floors. This flooring type is more durable and easier to maintain than carpet, so you won't need to replace it for quite a few years. This factor allows you to make an excellent return on investment.
3. Kitchen Upgrades
Kitchen upgrades reign supreme regarding individual unit amenities. Renters are willing to pay an additional $30 per month for granite countertops, and this feature contributed to 11% of unit revenue increases in 2017. Meanwhile, the cost of installing high-end kitchen countertops is often less than $1,000.
Plus, this material is incredibly durable, stain-resistant and low maintenance, only requiring resealing once a year or once every few years. Installing marble or granite countertops and other high-end appliances and surfaces may offer you a high return on investment.
4. Green Features
For nearly six years, the Environmental Protection Agency has assigned Energy Star scores to residential buildings that contain 20 or more units. Properties with high scores often attract environmentally conscious renters looking to reduce their energy usage. Investing in green features is undoubtedly a wise move as more residents do the same.
Implementing sustainable measures usually includes outfitting units with energy-efficient appliances. It may also involve installing solar panels on the roof. However, your property must be in an extremely sunny location to see any substantial ROI from solar energy.
5. Fitness Center
Apartments with a quality fitness center fetch higher rents nationwide. Nearly half of renters will pay more to have a health and wellness center on the property. Fitness centers are arguably the most popular amenity — and one worth investing in.
Of course, adding a gym may cost upwards of $30,000 on average, which can seem a bit pricey. However, in cities like Boston, this amenity can raise average rent premiums by around $70, offering a high ROI for many years following installation.
6. Swimming Pool
In addition to fitness centers, pools also make the list of amenities renters want most. While this water feature may be more desirable in warmer climates, residents across the nation still express interest in having a pool on their rental properties. But are pools worth the $25,000 investment?
With an 11% influence on revenue, pools offer a similar return on investment to fitness centers. In cities like Chicago, you can even raise your rent by about $60 per month per unit. Of course, some buildings will charge an additional fee for pool use, but landlords need to decide whether this choice impacts the appeal of the amenity for current and potential residents.
7. Pet-Friendly Zones
People love their pets and actively search for places where they can take them for a walk or play a game of fetch. Therefore, it isn't all that surprising that pet-friendly amenities were responsible for 17% of rent increases in 2017.
These features include dog parks, dog wash stations and other communal pet-friendly zones. Adding these components to your complex costs approximately $7,000 yet offers a more substantial return on investment than any of the above amenities.
Ask Your Tenants About Amenities That Matter
Of course, tenant interests and desires vary depending on demographics and location. Before making any changes, survey your current renters to find out what exactly they value. Are they interested in a pool or in-unit laundry? Will they be willing to pay more rent if you decide to install these amenities?
At the end of the day, it’s your tenants that decide the value of additional amenities. There’s no point in adding a dog park if no one has pets, after all. Asking residents for their input before making upgrades or changes will ensure you'll receive a better return on investment.
Holly Welles is a real estate writer and the editor of The Estate Update. She covers real estate investment, apartment living and personal finance for publications across the web.
*Contributions are solely guest opinions and don’t reflect the opinions of or are endorsed by WYL, our staff, clients or other interested parties.