SKY Properties, Inc.

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6711 Forest Lawn Dr., Suite 107
Los Angeles, CA 90068

(323) 882-6606

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What Renters Want

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What Renters Want: Amenities

Construction of apartment rentals in downtown Los Angeles has become very popular in the last few years in order to keep up with the demand of the growing population, particularly those with higher incomes. Demographic surveys conducted in 2013 by Downtown LA in order to promote business and residency rates, stated that the median income for residents is $98,700 and that 26% of residents make $150,000+ yearly. However, census data taken in 2010 show that the median income for Downtown LA residents is only $15,003. For the entirety of Los Angeles County, the census survey predicted a median income of $53,046. Despite these conflicting figures, high-end apartment complexes are being built throughout the city in order to accommodate potential residents with incomes exceeding $100,000. These new constructions cater to a particular market, usually millennial’s, who are looking for amenities that rival 5-star hotels. This trend is expanding throughout Los Angeles and beyond, creating considerable incentive to upgrade older buildings and to build new modern buildings that appeal to potential residents. According to a recent study by Marcus & Millichap, there are 92 million millenial's , compared to 77 million baby boomers and 61 gen-xers. This is a pretty big number in comparison. Studies also show that millenial's are delaying major life events such as marriage, home purchases, and children. This means that they will live in apartments much longer and hence the high demand. Millenial's have made the move toward city centers with the desire to "go green" and cars are optional, meaning that they prefer areas where they can walk to pretty much anything or take public transportation/ride sharing. A building needs a high walk score, meaning that it needs to be walking distance to restaurants, shopping, banks, etc, because tenants consider a walk score when deciding whether or not to rent.

They prefer large complexes, with minimalistic units, and an abundance of amenities. Popular new buildings include environmentally friendly aspects such as solar power, charging stations for electronic vehicles, and recycling services. Tenants are willing to pay for the opportunity to positively impact their environment. Another excellent idea is a community garden where tenants can grow their own vegetables, herbs, etc. Additional rent can be charged to rent out plots in the garden.

Not all apartments are made equal and each prospective tenant is looking for something different, something distinctive that will turn an empty rental into their new home. However, many tenants now expect their apartments to have, at a bare minimum, a few amenities that they simply can’t live without. These amenities include hard wood-like floors, air conditioning, granite or quartz countertops, and modern appliances. While more expensive than carpet, hard surface floorings are low-maintenance, easy to keep clean, and do not typically need to be replaced after a tenant moves out. Southern California weather mandates that all apartments come with air conditioning units, whether it is central A/C or individual units. While a lack of a dishwasher may not be a deal breaker for some tenants, most prospective renters anticipate that there will be modern appliances and updated cabinetry. While all prospective tenants have differing wants, needs, and preferences, these items have come to be viewed as standard in high- end apartment rentals.

Aside from amenities, tenants are especially looking for pet friendly buildings for their furry friends. Many renters are unwilling to part ways with their pets, and will immediately be deterred by a non-pet-friendly building. Renters with animals are increasingly common and accepting pets is becoming a “must” for property owners and management companies. Having a pet-friendly building is nearly as important as the amenities that you offer. You can’t sell your unit to a prospective renter if you can’t get them through the door. Increasingly tenants are looking for buildings that have pet services as well. This includes dog-walking companies, pet sitting, on-premise pet grooming, and dog parks or dog runs. It is also a great way to increase income by charging $50-$100 per month for each pet.

Many building owners have to work with a pre-existing building. While changing an already existing apartment can be difficult and expensive, it is essential to make the right improvements in order to get above market rents and exceptional tenants with strong income and resources. A few right enhancements to an existing apartment building can make a tremendous difference when trying to appeal to renters. Convenience is an important factor when trying to find an apartment. This means making a vacant apartment available to see at all times. Renters want to see an apartment the minute they drive past your “For Rent” sign on your lawn or in your ad. Oftentimes, if they have to wait to see an apartment, they’ll simply move on. Tenants also want easy ways to pay their rent and request maintenance, meaning that an effective website and software is particularly important. They also expect that maintenance requests be done promptly and easily. Millennial’s don’t want to call their manager or drop off their rent; they want to be able to access what they need from the comfort of their own phone.

Once inside the door, owners want to give renters the “WOW” factor. Amenities include the ones afore mentioned, such as A/C, wood-like flooring, and newer appliances. However, to really wow a prospective renter, there are a few things you can do to give you an advantage over a competitor including chandeliers, chalkboard paint, storage shelves in the bathroom, modern lighting, and elegant bathroom sinks. To get them inside the door, beautify the building by making the sure the landscaping is impressive and the grounds are well maintained. Switching from grass to turf is an aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly option, not to mention drought options are currently essential. Upgrading your building amenities to include Wi-Fi in common areas, hiring a dog-walking service, or creating a community room, or fitness center can also make your building more attractive, especially to millennials. You can find ways to upgrade that don’t involve major construction. Many buildings have the ability to support a rooftop deck. If necessary, you can transform an apartment near amenities that can be a rentable flex spaces for tenants to do work that they may not want to do in their home such as artwork or hold classes, work on projects or crafts, work on their bicycles, use them as rehearsal spaces, or even meditate.

The community areas such as pool, lounge, should have comfortable seating areas. Fire pits or fireplaces are also a very popular and create a sense of community for residents gathering at the end of a long day.

If starting with new construction, it is easier to create dream units for future tenants. Renters are looking for the right balance between “charming” and “homey”, and “modern” and “sleek”. Tenants, especially in the millennial generation, are looking for bright, open space concepts with lots of windows, storage spaces, high ceilings or lofts, and large closets. They want modern appliances, with stainless steel refrigerators and dishwashers, personal washers and dryers, and wine refrigerators. However, they also want unique touches such as custom paint, accent walls, crown moldings, built-in bookcases, and tile flooring in the kitchen and bathroom. While creating the perfect apartment might not be feasible, you can mix and match some key elements in order to create an alluring rental.

Some new buildings have taken it a step further by having outdoor entertainment amenities such as rock climbing walls, lawn chessboards, disc golf areas, sand volleyball courts, putting greens, and a single lane bowling alley. For properties near the beach, showers and surfboard racks cater to surfers and beach goers. For all properties, bike storage and repair shops with rentable tools are helpful for cyclists, a trend that is becoming increasingly commonplace. Kids spaces are also popular, with arcade-like features such as pinball machines and chalkboards. New buildings indulge a wide variety of interests, hobbies, and careers.

Tenants crave full-service buildings that cater to their every need and desire. This includes concierge-like services where a tenant can have their appointments scheduled, dinner reservations made, have their packages delivered, dry cleaning picked up, car washed, and have their dog walked without ever needing to leave the comfort of their own home. They want Fluff n Fold laundry services and valet for their vehicle. Prospective tenants want access to free and fast Wi-Fi because many work from home. In addition they need printers, and some buildings even offer 3-D printers. Business centers/conference rooms, recording studios, and rehearsal spaces are also important for working professionals that need to work from home, especially for those in the entertainment industry.

Whether working with new construction or modifying existing apartment buildings, tenants expect the best and most up-to-date services possible. Extending beyond traditional amenities, renters are looking for a building that complements their mobile lives.