When determining what you should charge for a rental unit it helps to think like a real estate appraiser. You certainly don’t want to price your units out of fair market value but often amenities and features are overlooked that would definitely warrant a higher rental price. Here are a few bonus features that I have found tenants desire and will pay more for the unit if they exist:
- Off street, private drive way, No communal parking or on street parking is always a bonus and rare in a multi unit property.
- Larger than average units, rooms with plenty of space make a rental unit feel more like a home then an apartment.
- 1+ bathrooms, even if the + is just a half bath, the unit will have greater appeal then having just 1 bathroom.
- A large parking area for guests, one of my rental units shares its property boundary with a small office building with a very large parking area, there is always plenty of parking for guests.
- Better than average storage, walk in closets, an open concept 3rd floor or large detached storage space will be a definite bonus for most renters
- A well planned design flow, the rooms are well defined and can be easily identified for there intended use.
- Bonus areas and appliances, washer/dryer area, dishwasher, garbage disposal and 3 or 4 season private use porch are good examples.
- Minimal impact from other rental units, a side by side unit is always more desirable than an upstairs/downstairs situation.
All of these ‘bonus’ features can fetch a better monthly return on rents from the average rental prices you will come across in comparing your properties rental price with others in the area. If a rental unit had all of the above extras and the average comparable is $1,000.00 a month, I would not hesitate in listing the rental at $1,200.00 a month. A real estate appraiser would simply use a table listing features in the first row and rental units (including the subject unit) in columns and by comparing 8 to 10 units find the closest match and what it is being listed at. Appraisers typically follow a formula that helps them balance the differences. If the closest matches still fall short of your rental unit you can feel safe in either pricing the rental at the near match price or bumping up the rental rate if your unit offers much more than the near match.
A simple phone call with the rental agency or owners of the rental comparable’s will give you all the information you need to fill in the blanks on the table. If your rental unit falls a bit short of other listings, you may want to consider either lowering your rate a little or adding some of these bonus features if possible. On a side note don’t forget about technology bonuses like the ability to share your WiFi, which can be more of a bonus then a dishwasher!