4 ways owners are improving their multifamily properties
In any market, there are properties that you drive past and think, “I wish they’d do something to that building to make it look a little better.” When you’re a property owner, those thoughts are directed at you.
Improving your property is not just about making it look better from the outside so that those driving by appreciate it more. It’s about making genuine improvements to the property that increase the quality of living for your tenants, improve your property value over time, and ultimately help you achieve a higher return on your investment.
Making improvements is a key part of decision-making as a property owner or asset manager. Making the right improvements help you recover the cost in the property value or in rents and provide some ongoing cost savings benefit. Making the wrong Improvements can cost you greatly, destroy your cash reserves, and even hurt your lease rates and increase your expenses.
Clearly, making the right decision on where to infuse CapEx in your property is a key component of owning a property and of asset management in general. So, what are the top ways owners are making improvements to their multifamily properties here in Eastern Washington?
1. Exterior Siding
The siding of a multifamily property is one of the first things any future resident sees when they visit your property and is the one thing any tenant sees every day as they enter and exit their unit.
If the siding is dirty, falling apart, or completely missing, this is an eyesore for anyone involved in the property.
In many buildings from the 1970s, the original siding is approaching the end of its useful life. Many owners of these properties are replacing the siding altogether.
While an expensive undertaking, they are seeing lease-up timing decrease, vacancy decrease and unit turnover decrease as a result of the increased curb appeal. In addition, you could see a utility expense decrease due to improved insulation from the new siding.
Additionally, some municipalities offer curb appeal grants for owners who improve the appearance of their properties. This can help offset the cost of major renovations to the exterior of your property.
For owners of newer properties or those who have useful life remaining on their siding, many owners are improving the property with a new siding paint job. Often using a spray coat, they are taking the property from a stale brown/yellow color to a sleek gray or dark blue color, significantly improving the property’s aesthetic.
This is cost-effective and creates a positive return in property value and lease rates.
2. Improved Flooring
When a tenant moves out of an old property and it’s time to refresh the property with a unit turn, what is the most frequently used piece of the property from the tenant’s point of view? The flooring of course!
Every day the floor was walked on, spilled on, dropped on, had furniture dragged across during moving and reorganizing, etc. The floors take on a real beating. Over time, the flooring reaches its useful life or has gone out of style.
Many property owners in the Tri-Cities are using the unit turn as an opportunity to re-floor. The most common new flooring material is vinyl plank flooring. It is spill-resistant, easy to install, and cost-friendly.
New flooring can drastically improve the look of a unit, taking it from a dated apartment to a fresh, new-feeling apartment ready for move-in today!
Across town, there are all kinds of property signs welcoming current and future residents. These signs often get neglected under long-term ownership, even though it’s sometimes the only thing distinguishing one property from another in a neighborhood of multifamily complexes!
The property sign is one of the first things a tenant sees when entering the property and is sometimes even the first thing they see when viewing properties online. This is your first impression, why not make it great?
Upon acquisition, many owners immediately update signage or even change the property name altogether. As a property owner, you don’t have to wait until that time comes, you can reap the benefit of a sign change today.
By updating your sign, you will increase your curb appeal and make your current residents feel like they’re in a refreshed community. You may end up increasing tenant retention and improve your lease-up timelines.
This is possibly the most cost-effective change you can make as it costs very little to implement and will have a drastic difference.
4. New Windows
Similar to siding, on many 1970s buildings the windows are on their last legs of useful life. Many property owners are choosing to replace windows during unit turns or even all at once throughout the entire property.
Many owners see the long-term value of less maintenance and lower expenses or are simply at the point where they have to replace the windows because they are no longer performing their necessary function.
New windows can significantly decrease energy costs due to poor insulation in older windows. Older windows let out heat while newer ones keep heat in the unit, reducing your power bill as the landlord since most landlords pay for electric or gas usage.
Lastly, make sure you check with your local municipality to see if they have energy efficiency grants available, which can help offset the cost of your upgrades. Have questions about options in the Tri-Cities? Reach out and our property management team can help!
If you own property in Eastern WA, have you made some of these improvements recently? Are you planning to make improvements in the year to come?
For many clients, they want to know what impact these improvements will have on their property value. We offer a free property valuation that outlines the value of each improvement to your property value.
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