A small model house with a red vertical stripe sits next to a house key on a wood table.

Written By Alexandra Stevens, United Properties Team Member

Single-family rentals are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. housing market, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute in 2018. That being said, attracting quality tenants to your properties in Grand Rapids, MI is the key. Amenities are a great way to attract these tenants. Apartment complexes are able to lure prospective tenants in with things like swimming pools, community gyms, laundry buildings, parks, and game rooms. Single-family homes and duplexes do not usually have these types of options, but they do give tenants a comfortable and more private place to call home. The goal is to offset this trade-off and create a win-win situation for tenants and owners. As the market improves and new units hit the market with amenities, landlords who have owned properties for a long time without issues renting are left scratching their heads and saying “I have never had issues renting it before.”

We want to be thinking in terms of what will give the most return on investment, and part of that strategy is considering the cost of a vacancy. In order to reduce the vacancy, your property needs to attract viewers and capture their attention when they walk in the front door. The decision to rent or purchase a property is often made within the first minute or two of being in a property. According to Strutt and Parker, 86% of the decision to buy or rent is made based on the first impression. This tells us that curb appeal and updates are important. Imagine for yourself the difference of walking into a freshly painted or upgraded building compared to one that is not. If a tenant is viewing your property, you can assume they are ok with the price. The next part of the deal is convincing them that this is the best option out there for that price. If they feel good walking into your space, the only thing left to seal the deal is having amenities that are consistent with what is expected in the neighborhood.

Working out and general fitness are huge trends right now, especially with our college student properties. There are all kinds of apps to use for different workout plans, and even diet and workout clothing subscriptions! While it is not feasible to put in a full gym or a swimming pool, perhaps a community gym/YMCA membership or discount could be included with the rental. By reaching out to local businesses in the area, there may be various options and discounts available. If you are an owner with multiple properties in the area, ask about a larger discount due to supplying more patrons!

Private or shared laundry is another amenity in which renters frequently prefer in their homes. It is one of the first questions a tenant asks when inquiring about a property, and if it does not have hook ups at all, most tend to move on with their searches. Providing a washer and dryer set in a property can make a huge difference, and if kept in good shape, should last through years of renters. If you have questions on how to best implement a washer and dryer solution, please ask right away – we will help!

Other amenities worthy of adding are dishwashers, microwaves, air conditioners (even window units in the bedrooms), blinds/window treatments, wifi, stereo/surround sound, and perhaps a television in the bedroom or living room. Adding just one of these amenities increases the appeal and value of a property. Imagine a prospective tenant showing up and seeing a brand new TV mounted on the wall and thinking, “this is where I can see myself after a hard day’s work… the couch can go there, dinner table there, and so on”. That’s the type of WOW factor we all want!

The good news for owners of single-family and duplex rentals is that the renting trend is only expected to increase as time goes on! According to an article from Forbes.com, 35% of renters across the U.S. are in single-family rentals, and an estimated 13 million new rental households are expected to form by 2030. This is great news! Quality properties with these amenities will continue to attract quality tenants, decrease vacancy, and in turn, be much more profitable for you as an owner!