For multifamily investors, the performance of a property can make or break the bank. Having a half-vacant property is not ideal when the cost of the property, maintenance, and upkeep is typically much higher than a single-family investment.
One way to keep this scenario from becoming a reality is by using curb appeal.
Curb appeal is the first impression that a potential renter has of a property. It’s the moment that new residents are introduced to your property and will begin to make a judgment of it.
If the exterior is pleasing to the eye and well maintained, residents will be positively influenced. However, if the exterior paint is in bad shape, the parking lot is cracked and faded, and the property is not well-lit, that’s going to send a negative signal to residents.
For one thing, most residents want something nice to look at when they go outside (who doesn’t?).
And secondly, they’ll be thinking, “If the outside is neglected, then what does that say about the inside?”
An exterior that is not well kept gives off the impression of lower quality. Using modern curb appeal shows residents that the property is neat, clean, and cared for. Likeability is a key element to selling anything and, as a landlord, investors have got to market their property effectively for the best results.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to up a property’s curb appeal, increase interest, and drive down vacancies.
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Investing in outdoor landscaping is a great way to increase curb appeal.
Adding low maintenance outdoor greenery, such as local bushes or trees, adds a freshness to the property while staying cost-effective.
Regularly removing trash, weeds, and debris sends a signal that the property is well-kept.
If you have a lawn, trees, or other plants that regularly need watering, then installing a sprinkler system is an efficient way to keep them healthy and green.
Another thing that property owners can do is invest in a recreational space. According to this multifamily amenities study, residents respond particularly well to:
Whether that’s a picnic table, a pool, walking paths, a firepit, or a grill, adding amenities that invite residents to spend more time directly outside the property is a great way to entice potential residents.
Depending on what your siding is made of, the process might look different. However, a clean siding is important either way.
Cracked, faded, or damaged siding not only makes the property look more worn-down and aged, but it’s just not pleasant to look at. If residents see siding that’s in bad shape, it will leave them wondering about the state of the interior.
If the siding is made out of wood, having that replaced can freshen things up.
For masonry, such as brick, stone, or stucco, then removing the damaged material and replacing it will go a long way. Another tip is to pressure wash the exterior to make it look clean and fresh.
For properties that have chimneys that are likely made out of the same material, then cleaning those up and installing a chimney cap can both increase the visual appeal and protect the interior of the property from water running down the chimney and causing damage.
Depending on the size of the property, you might have either a driveway or an entire parking lot. Either way, a cracked, uneven lot sends the wrong message to residents and can also be a safety hazard. If there are cracks that are wide enough, residents might trip on them and injure themselves. It can also potentially cause damage to their vehicles.
Repaving the parking lot is a worthwhile investment that will not only improve the exterior look of the property and help it look clean and new, but will also be safer for the residents and potentially protect you from legal trouble.
Lighting is valuable for several reasons.
The first is that many renters only have the time to house-hunt at night. If your property has poor lighting, they won’t be able to get a good look at the space. Increasing lighting will up the property’s visibility for potential renters.
Another important consideration is safety. Bright lighting is one way to deter troublemakers and help keep your residents safe.
Investing in updated lighting is also more cost-efficient. If you have older lighting fixtures, they may be using up more energy and raising your energy bill, while more modern lighting uses less energy and, in the end, pays itself off much more quickly.
Last but certainly not least, the exterior of the property plays a large role in how potential renters will judge the quality of the living space. There are multiple ways to make improvements here.
Whether that’s updating the current paint job that’s faded over time or adding splashes of color for a bold look, updating the paint keeps things fresh and vibrant. It’s an effective way to make the property look new. Plus, if you go for something bright and different, it might also help catch potential resident’s eyes.
Another feature that might be worth repainting are the doors. Choosing a unique color that matches the vibe of the home and leaves an impression on residents is a great way to get them to remember your property.
Have the windows seen better days? Replacing old windows modernizes and cleans up both the exterior and the interior of the property, boosting curb appeal and freshening up the units themselves. It also sends a signal that you care about the residents and their experience.
Replacing old hardware is a cost-efficient way to update the look of the property. If the hardware is old, well-used, and/or outdated, then switching it out for something new and modern can help with curb appeal.
It also leaves an impression on residents beyond the aesthetic. If the hardware is difficult to use, is too loose, or the door itself gets stuck or makes noise when opened, it may leave them feeling unsure or put off.
One of the most valuable strategies a multifamily investor can use to drive down vacancies is curb appeal.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, renters make judgements based on what they see. If they are introduced to a well-kept property that is pleasing to the eye and sends a clear message that the property they’ll be living in is taken care of properly, that’s going to leave an invaluable impression on potential renters.
But of course, curb appeal isn’t the only factor in a successful multifamily investment.. If you’re currently a multifamily investor or are working to become one in the future, we have a free guide that walks through how to spot great opportunities, what to do if you want to invest out-of-state, understanding the market numbers, and more.
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