Can You Back Up Your Community’s ‘Wow’ Factor?

“It has a bowling alley!” my friend told me about ...

“It has a bowling alley!” my friend told me about an apartment community she and her husband were considering. 

“That’s awesome,” I said. “You’ll never have to leave.”

“It closes at 6,” she admitted. “Maybe I could go bowling some time before work.”

“Well, how was the actual apartment?” 

“Eh, it’s just an apartment,” she said. “Nothing special.”

“Would you at least have an easy commute?”

“It’s closer for my husband than where we are now…further for me. I guess I’ll see how much they’re charging in rent. If it’s a good deal maybe we’ll still look into it.”

Does your apartment community have a “wow” factor? That’s great. Especially if your community is located in an area with lots of apartment buildings, like a major city, then it’s important to have a hook to get renters interested in your building. (I choose this Hook.) Really cool amenities, such as a bowling alley, or masseuses on staff, or a vending machine that only has Snickers bars and Doritos (seriously, how awesome would that be?), would definitely garner interest.

But can you back that amenity up?

Are your units all upgraded with new kitchen appliances? Have the carpets been cleaned and the walls been repainted? Do you have a way for residents to pay their rent and make maintenance requests online? These aren’t as exciting as, say, a bowling alley, but they’ll keep your residents happier in the long run. These are the types of things that lead to resident retention as well. (It’s like when you only dated musicians because they were so artistic and misunderstood and sexy, but then you realized they were all also full of themselves and made you carry their bass to all their “gigs” because they couldn’t afford real roadies, and that you were better off with that safe and dependable accountant-type guy, who’s actually pretty sexy now that you’ve gotten to know him.)

Ultimately, cool amenities are fun, but what people really want is a nice place to live.

And, if you do have a cool or unusual amenity, make sure you have hours that work with most people’s schedules. No one wants to go bowling before work.

By Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: Maria Simonova