The Perks of Updating Apartment Communities

To appeal to renters, developers are enhancing existing apartment buildings with popular amenities and services found at the newest luxury developments.

By Mark Durakovic

MarkheadshotAccording to a recent National Apartment Market Outlook from Zillow, since 2014, apartment construction has skewed almost exclusively toward the high end of the market. And although rents have flattened out, they continue to hover near record highs in many metros. As a result, there continues to be a disconnect between the type of new rental units being delivered and what the majority of renters can afford.

To capture this market—and appeal to discerning renters who have no shortage of housing options available to them—developers are enhancing existing apartment buildings with popular amenities and services found at the newest luxury developments.

As a property management firm with experience managing all types of rental and condominium properties, including communities that vary in size, age and location, Kass Management has identified ways owners can elevate the residential experience while adhering to budgets for both their building and the residents who call it home.

Make Room (Literally) for Health, Wellness and Socialization

Beyond the upgraded kitchens and bathrooms, which have become the norm, today’s savvy renters have been exposed to a highly amenitized rental experience—either themselves or through a friend—and they want an apartment community that caters to their lifestyle.

Since fitness is key for most renters, especially Millennials, an on-site fitness center is often the most-used—and most-requested—amenity. While the majority of new buildings come with fully equipped gyms, this is not always the case with older properties. The solution? Look for underutilized spaces such as basements and storage closets and convert them into gyms and resident lounges, creating amenities where none previously existed.

Add Convenience Through Concierge Services

Since older buildings may not always lend themselves to expansive updates, look beyond the physical transformation of a space and identify services that make life more convenient for residents. For example, if you do not have space for a fitness center, providing tenants with concierge fitness services can turn any indoor or outdoor area into a space for health and wellness through on-site fitness classes and other programming.

Similarly, while it may be difficult to create additional storage space in an existing building, apartment owners can instead offer off-site solutions by partnering with an on-demand storage provider. These firms deliver crates right to residents’ front door at the time and day of their choosing. Residents can store and retrieve items with a few clicks or swipes on their smartphone, offering a fast and easy way for them to declutter their apartment and free up valuable closet space.

Smarten Up With Technology

Upgrading a building’s technology is another way to appeal to tech-savvy renters without making significant structural changes. Offerings can include ultra-high-speed internet service, upgraded cable or satellite service, USB ports, electronic key fob access and Wi-Fi-connected appliances. Smart-home technology that allows residents to customize settings like lighting and temperature carries the added benefit of energy savings—a particularly big draw for environmentally conscious renters.

And although online resident portals are a common offering in newly developed buildings, they’re not always available in older communities. In order to improve resident service, which can help reduce turnover costs, landlords can implement a web-based platform that allows residents to pay rent, submit maintenance requests and stay in the loop on community announcements.

The Bottom Line

The best amenities are those that meet renters’ basic needs while fostering an emotional connection—both among residents and between the resident and their community. Providing a competitive amenity package that includes thoughtfully programmed common areas and lifestyle-oriented service offerings is the best way to achieve this, giving communities that might otherwise be overlooked by renters a new lease on life.

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