container, stepstool, plus lighting and a power source. It brings rave reviews
from both residents and rental prospects.
Electronic;Locks;Master keys are all but gone, and most “key protection
systems” are cumbersome and require a high degree of staff diligence. True
electronic locks, using Smart Card technology, are very expensive and, as a
practical matter, require the replacement of the door and the door buck. The
latest retrofit assemblies can be slipped over the existing door opening while
losing only one quarter of an inch in width. These sophisticated locks are completely programmable and offer an uncompromising level of security. They are
the locks of the future.
Private;Laundry/Utility;Room;Condominium developers learned over the years
that an in-unit laundry room was essential to a successful sellout. Rentals coming on the market are now following suit. Next to an open-room layout, a laun-dry/utility room is the most sought-after feature in up-market rentals. Expect
this addition to filter down to moderately priced apartments.
There are so many renters suffering
from allergies who would jump at this
option. If you run out of ideas, try
some decorator paint combinations,
crown molding or upgraded hard-
ware/fixtures. They all cost money,
but they all pay rewards in terms
of quicker rentals, better clientele,
higher rent and a much improved
Popular common-area upgrades
include package receiving, a wireless
lounge, emergency call stations, a bicycle room and rental storage rooms.
Improvements On A Budget
While the above upgrades are all well and good, what can be added to an
existing, mainstream property while keeping within a moderate budget? The
answer is variety. Preparing and re-preparing the same apartments with the
same paint and carpet year after year is not going to cut it much longer. There
are literally hundreds upon hundreds of variations and approaches that will
breathe new life and value into time-worn apartments.
How about replacing a bathtub with a shower stall or a walk-in tub? Or,
try removing the wall surrounding the kitchen and installing a small island to
completely change an apartment’s look and appeal. Adding a computer center
is a quick fix that will result in a quick sell. A bookcase system with provisions
for a large, flat-screen TV changes the ordinary. Consider installing a 16-inch
border of hardwood flooring around the perimeter of the living area and then
placing a carpet insert in the center. This presents an entirely new look. Or,
what about just offering a choice of either a ceramic tile or hardwood floor?
By the Numbers
A complete, 12-page discussion with step-by-step
examples of how to track, calculate, measure and
improve your property’s average length of stay
and the average number of days of lost rent that
occurs between rentals, is available to read or
print (free of charge) on the IREM Web site. Visit
www.irem.org, click on the “Publications” tab, then
“Bookstore” (in the dropdown menu), and select
Practical Apartment Management, 6th Edition. On the
Web page that opens, you will see a hyperlink that
reads, “click here Ch. 19 Length of Stay.”
Most planning for a new year includes
ways to cut operating costs. Owners
love frugal managers who hunt for
ways to save money, which can add up
to hundreds, and possibly, even thousands of dollars. But, so many managers miss the single best opportunity to
add literally tens of thousands of dollars to their property’s bottom line.
That is accomplished by increasing
the property’s length of stay.
Jot down an estimate of your
property’s average length of stay
on a piece of paper. Also include
the average number of days of lost
rent that occurs between rentals. If
you don’t know, a guess will suffice
and may provide a surprise when
the real numbers are determined.
Improvement in these two categories
is the key to improving a property’s
bottom-line profit. The problem is
that few properties track these numbers and, without that measurement,
improvement becomes just a matter
In the years ahead, real estate managers will become aware of the impact
of an entirely new rental market segment that is growing every day. Let’s