By Jessica Jackson, Kiser Group
You’ve seen the headlines or read an article about elaborate amenities being added to Class A apartment buildings. Luxury apartment developers are increasingly competing in the “amenity wars.” From coworking spaces to doggy daycare to bocce ball, many of these amenities are not practical or cost effective for a Class B apartment building. So how does the mid-market building attract and retain a new generation of renters who love amenities? The hottest amenities are those that make life simple for residents. Good news for the mid-market apartment building, as many of these are not only affordable, they will cut down on your management costs. Here is a list of amenities to consider:
Switching from keys to fob entry benefits residents and landlords. Renters want to carry around less bulk and to have an all-in-one solution. Instead of handing out a laundry key, garage key, front gate key, unit key, etc., a fob can be programmed to give each renter the specific access they need. They can also be easily disabled. You don’t have to worry about multiple copies being made or replacing locks after a resident. If you want to splurge a bit, products like ButterflyMX offer smartphone video intercoms that allow residents keyless entry and the ability to give friends, dog walkers, etc. access right from their smartphones. For the landlord or property manager, you will never have to deal with the inconvenience of a locked out resident.
Even if you offer in-unit laundry or a laundry room, partnering with a vendor that offers a pick-up and drop-off laundry solution will give your building luxury appeal. A laundry service like Tide Cleaners or DRYV is a no brainer for apartment building owners and property managers, as they come at no cost to the building. These services install a locker and manage operations for you. The lockers take up minimal space in a common hallway or entryway. Residents can place their dirty laundry and pick it up when it’s clean. Of course everything from ordering to tracking is done from an app. I also suggest that you negotiate with these services for a revenue split.
Similar to the laundry solutions, there are package solutions from Amazon lockers to other types of lockers. Package build up and theft is an epidemic all over Chicago. Renters will embrace a safe solution for their deliveries. The most popular one I’ve seen is LuxerOne. LuxerOne will install their locker for you and also requires minimal space. Residents get a text immediately when packages are delivered and can track them from an app.
Streamlined Renter Communication
The ability to pay rent and make maintenance requests via a platform can barely be called an amenity anymore. If you still require rent payment by check and a phone call for maintenance requests, it’s time to consider a streamlined property management and payment platform. For many renters, this can be a deal breaker. There are numerous apps and platforms in the market that help renters pay their rent with a credit card, submit maintenance requests, interact with other residents and offer other features. Companies that come to mind include Avail, Rise Buildings and Livly.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
If your building offers parking, an EV charging service like SemaConnect or EverCharge can future proof your building while adding value. These services handle installation and maintenance. They also bill residents and reimburse landlords for electricity consumed. If you haven’t had a prospective tenant inquire about electronic vehicle charging yet, you will. EV sales are rising year over year.
Improving the resident experience will attract new renters and increase resident retention. Practical solutions also save on management costs in the long run. These amenities are the low-hanging fruit, easy to implement and cost-effective for mid-market investments.