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Got space?! A building basement hosting mostly dust and old crap? An event hall no one is renting out? With just a bit of creativity, you can turn any of those into cool property features. The kind of features that attract millennial renters willing to pay extra for innovative perks and amenities.
When looking for an apartment to rent, millennials look at two main factors: location and amenities. The importance of location is quite obvious. Proximity to work, shopping, and recreation centers, as well as convenient access by transportation, have always been criteria for property selection. But why are amenities, and specifically, communal areas and local on-site services so important to the young renters? Because colleges are spoiling our kids. Sort of.
College dorms across the nation are offering more and more on-campus features and services. From study-rooms and gyms, to cafes, lounges, movie theaters and bars. Most of these amenities are ones graduates could never afford to have at their home, but were part of their lives on campus. So it’s really no wonder that old buildings are adding these to remain attractive.
Obviously, the amenities you can offer depend largely on your budget and the current tenants’ support of the endeavour. Fortunately for you, most of the ideas we gathered can be executed with little to no budget at all, which means higher occupancy without increasing marketing budgets – guess who’s got two thumbs and just won PM of the year – this guy.
1. Gym / Fitness Center / Spa
Fitness and wellness are becoming a priority in the choice of living accommodations. Especially with the self-aware, millennial tenants. Since most can’t afford a home gym, a communal fitness center in the building can save them the cost of joining a gym and make the property seem a lot more attractive. And it’s always more fun to work out indoors when the weather is not friendly to cyclists and joggers.
Don’t try to compete with the range of equipment offered by a gym chain. You don’t need to splurge on a five-star-hotel spa and gym. A few mats, free weights and treadmills, and you have yourself a basic gym. Alternatively, you can bring in a trainer or instructor to help you create it, which can be free of charge for the opportunity to train residents there. With ideas like this you might find your current residents can be a resource.
For example, my friend’s Tai Chi trainer uses his building’s basement to host martial arts lessons. Its free for tenants, gives the trainer a place of business on rainy days, and makes use of unutilized space. And he brought his own mats.
2. Package Room
Not all spaces can be easily turned into comm areas, usually due to the lack of proper air-conditioning and ventilation or other issues. These spaces are often used for storage, but as our consumption culture changes, so should these spaces.
People don’t hoard as much today, but prefer to reuse, recycle and of course – get new stuff. And how do we usually get stuff? Online. Services like Amazon Prime are becoming more popular, and the number of parcels and packages people get daily is just growing. The solution? A package room, with electronic lockers to contain all these shipments.
Sound complicated? It isn’t. Services like Parcel Pending have ready systems to allow you to do just that with minimal investment.
3. Co-Working Space
The rise of the “gig economy” is having a profound effect on millennials’ choice of living accommodations. Woking from home is more popular and sometimes even encouraged. Residents who are freelancers and work from home sometimes need a change of setting, or places to co-operate with partners.
In the past, properties had “business lounges” designed to host group meetings around tables. Today, these rooms need to be equipped differently, with multiple power outlets and a strong wifi signal, that’s pretty obvious. However, an awesome coffee machine can really make a difference, so residents don’t have to shuffle back to their own kitchen to re-fuel or seek a source of caffeine elsewhere.
The use of these services doesn’t have to be limited to residents only. Co-working spaces are popping up all over the place, bringing in extra cash to property owners.
4. Indoor Garden
Sustainability and “going green” is a priority with millennials, but not only. The growing trend of indoor gardening in urban areas is creating opportunities for companies like IKEA to offer DIY sustainable grow-rooms. Besides, who doesn’t like fresh organic vegetables from the garden?
If “going green” is a priority in your residence, and your tenants are committed, this project can create a lot of enthusiasm and attraction with a low initial investment.
5. Art Gallery
Long and narrow spaces are often hard to utilize. Consider turning it into an art gallery, letting your creative tenants display their works (and maybe offer them for sale) in a common area dedicated to art.
6. DIY Workshop
Since you want to go above and beyond for your residents (within budget constraints, of course) think further than college. Think elementary school.
Pinterest and Facebook are full of DIY projects to do. Your residents would appreciate a space close to home that offers equipment for their carpentry or sewing hobbies. Much like with fitness centers, you can invite instructors to run interesting DIY workshops for the crafty members of your resident community.
One obvious consideration with DIY spaces is safety. You want to make sure your residents have a safe work environment so that they don’t get hurt and you don’t get sued. Make sure to have a legal consult from corporate weigh in on legal issues that may come up.
7. Lounge / Party Room / Game Center
As we’ve mentioned, many young renters are looking to re-live college, which means studying hard and doing some serious introspection about their future. Did we say studying?! parties, meant to say parties. Throwing parties can be hard if you don’t have a lot of space in your apartment., and if you have young kids then partying is out the window.
Communicate with your residents to find out if turning the unused space into a hang-out room or gaming center is something that appeals to them. After all, even workplaces looking to attract millennials offer these amenities on-site.
8. Movie Theater
Viewing parties of long-awaited series like “Game of Thrones” are traditionally hosted in the home of the person with the largest TV and best sound system. With minimal investment, you can offer your tenants a cool movie theater to gather and watch the show with their neighbours and friends.
9. Music Room
If your residents are the musical types, pretty much everyone will be grateful if you turn that spare space into a rehearsal room, or even recording studio. It can be reminiscent of your elementary school music room, allowing for people to sit around and sing along to a guitar, or you can invest in equipment to make this a studio you can rent out to aspiring musicians from the neighbourhood. Just be sure to make the room sound-proof.
A good example is our across the street neighbor, who loves to practice his guitar skills at odd hours of the day and night. If his building had a music room, we’d be a lot happier.
10. Relaxation Room
As millennials turn into adults, some of them choose to reproduce and have kids. Those noisy and beloved creatures that make our lives so very versatile. So between the laundry and diapers, it’s hard to find time and place to just relax. Such a space doesn’t have to be equipped with much. A few comfy couches, and maybe room to do yoga or meditate.
Now that you have all these options, you’re probably looking differently at that abandoned space on your property, already seeing what it might become. But before you decide what it’s going to become, think of what your tenants and future tenants would want it to be.
No matter what you prefer, it’s important to bring your team and tenants aboard with the plan and get their input and ideas before you commit. Choosing which amenities to include in your list of offerings to potential renters will influence not only how attractive your property will be, but also the type of people it attracts when vacancies become available.