Property investment is big business, and opting to invest in rental property helps to guarantee a steady income, provided your property is well looked after. Ibis World reports the apartment rental industry is worth $169.5bn in 2021, which doesn’t even include larger properties. The key to a valuable rental property is the ability to find good tenants and keep them there.
Of course, factors like neighborhood and budget will impact the tenants you attract, but you can also draw in a higher class of tenants with the quality of your property. Beautifully landscaped yards and well-kept green spaces tell potential residents a lot about your properties, but how can you make yours stand out a little bit more? Let’s look closely at the benefits of investing in outdoor space for your residents.[ez-toc]
Why invest in a new outdoor space for your residents?
Whether you own an apartment block, several houses, or an extensive development, there is land around your property, and it is a huge waste to do nothing with it. At the very least, you need to ensure it is well-kept to maintain your property’s appearance and reputation, but doing more can be beneficial for your bank balance and your residents.
Boost your Returns with a Quality Rental Property
The National Association of Realtors evidence shows properties with desirable landscaping sell for an average of 7% more than those without. If it’s attracting prospective buyers, it will almost surely attract more renters. It’s also worth considering research from the National Association of Landscape Professionals, too, which found 79% of Americans rank lawns in their top four features when looking for a new property. It is easy to underestimate the value a well-designed green space brings to your property, and a little renter-friendly outdoor makeover could go a long way to improving the value and interest of your buildings.
Keep Good Tenants
As well as the financial benefit, a successful rental portfolio is also reliant on high-quality tenants and the ability to keep them in situ. The National Center for Housing Management reports that 54% of apartments change tenants each year. Long-term tenants are something all landlords crave, as downtime between tenants leads to lost rent and additional expenses such as professional end-of-tenancy formalities and cleaning. So doing all you can to keep your tenants happy and vital to ensuring they don’t move on. Curb appeal and green spaces, which are well-maintained and are something to be proud of, add to the list of reasons a tenant should want to stay in your property.
Create a Sense of Community
For complexes, developments, and apartment blocks, you can create an outdoor space that fosters community spirit and gives the residents the chance to get to know each other. Living alongside neighbors you consider friends is a rarity in apartment blocks, so if you can help build these relationships with enjoyable, shared green space, your tenants will thank you. How you approach this communal space is up to you. You could go all-out luxury and consider installing a pool and similar amenities, or you could opt for perfectly mown lawns and a scattering of picnic tables to encourage dining al fresco and as a community.
Questions to ask before renovating your property’s green space
Deciding to transform your property’s yard or give its curb appeal a lift is a great start, but it’s essential to consider some critical questions before you get started. It may sound great in theory, but will your ideas be worth it in practice?
1. Can landscaping your outdoor space lead to increased rents?
It would be most unfair to increase the rents your current tenants pay if you renovate the outdoor space. However, you may find that in time you can advertise your properties at a higher rate. There are plenty of low-maintenance and budget-friendly ways to improve your property’s landscape, which can help attract higher rental rates. Before getting started, consider if your current rental rate is at the higher end of the market average for the area.
Once you start to renovate and develop your property’s yard, it is easy to get carried away. Do not fall into the trap of over-renovating. This can leave you unable to charge a competitive rental price.
2. Can the outdoor space available be optimized for residents?
Something can absolutely be done with every outdoor space, but your plans and ambitions need to match reality. A compact space will not work as a communal dining space for a large apartment block, and you also need to think about what’s best for your residents. For example, if you allow pets, consider pet-safe fencing to create a space that residents and their pets can enjoy together. Keeping the requirements of your tenants in mind will help when deciding how to renovate and redesign the space.
3. Do you need to provide gardening services, or will your tenants be held responsible?
Keeping on top of a new outdoor space is essential for your investment to be worthwhile. You should plan on investing in regular gardeners to attend, as leaving maintenance in the hands of tenants often leads to tears. It is essential to balance cost with common sense and work out an arrangement that suits your tenants and yourself without risking the newly developed land.
4. Are there any Local Ordinances to consider?
There are local ordinances and green space rules for all regions, so you need to check this out before any work begins. The green space rules will lay out any prohibited plants or grasses so you can avoid planting anything which may lead to fines, as well as having to restart your project.
How to Create Imaginative and Manageable Outdoor Spaces?
Before you make any decisions, it is also vital to assess the space available. Local garden centers and local landscaping companies can help recommend ways to enhance the landscape to suit your surroundings and add value to your property. Getting creative and using your imagination can really help to make your property stand out. First, let’s look at some low-maintenance ways you can transform the space and make it the best it can be for your residents.
As already mentioned, Americans love their lawns, and if you can incorporate lawned areas into your outdoor space, it will be appreciated. Artificial grass is an option, but going for the real thing is better for the environment, and there are options that are low maintenance and manageable. It is more than possible to have low-maintenance turf laid, or you can opt for no-mow grass seed mixes, which only need watering occasionally and mowing once a month or even less. Working with professionals to maintain your lawn ensures it looks great for your residents and their guests, and it remains a low-maintenance yet high-value addition to your property.
2. Plants and Flowers
Flowering plants and greenery bring life to any outdoor space. They make it a more enjoyable place to be for your residents. Perennials are the best option for your needs as they’re both hardy and designed to look fantastic at any time of year. They add color to your property and give your residents an attractive place to enjoy with their neighbors. If low maintenance is important, opt for evergreen bushes and ornamental trees and shrubs to create a foundation for the space and build from there. You could also consider hardscaping with materials like wood and stone to minimize exterior maintenance yet still create an enjoyable space. Decking and patios are popular hardscaping options that can be the perfect complement to a smaller lawn area.
3. Considering Climate
The Department of Agriculture produced a Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which is an excellent tool for choosing the right plants for your climate. For example, hot, desert climates are ideal for succulents and xeriscaping, while rainy areas naturally lend themselves to wetland plants such as dogwood and marsh marigolds. Be sure to have a good understanding of your climatic conditions before committing to any particular plants or designs.
There are other considerations unique to your properties that will inform your final decisions when it comes to redesigning your outdoor space.
Creative Touches for Outdoor Space
Outdoor spaces which stand out from the crowd and deliver something unique and inviting attract tenants who never want to leave. You may also be able to creep up that rental rate as you’re offering something a little bit special. So how can you make your outdoor space stand out from the crowd and wow prospective residents?
1. Encourage Technology
We live in an ultra-connected world, so rather than trying to beat them, why not join them? Many bars and restaurants now have electrical outlets in their yards, so why not offer the same for your residents? This makes the outdoor space even more flexible and means they can hook up their tech or even heating or lighting so they can enjoy the yard at night.
2. Boost Inner City Biophilia
You could also consider the benefits of biophilia, especially in built environments and urban spaces. If your properties are in a densely populated or urban space, greenery will really appeal. Green walls, roof gardens, and even green ceilings for covered spaces create a literal breath of fresh air amidst the city’s smog. So while you cannot quite bring the forest to the city, you can add a bit of greenery, which is much needed.
3. Remember Privacy
While you may want to create a truly communal space for your residents to enjoy, it can be helpful to give the option of privacy. If the space is large enough, you can utilize landscaping with your choice of plant to section off separate areas. In addition, you could create designated seating spaces, fun, energetic areas for younger residents, and whatever else your residents want or need.
4. Embrace Trees
While modern design often looks to utilize the newest materials and latest technologies, you can achieve awe-inspiring outdoor space design simply with nature. Different species of tree can work beautifully together and replace the need for different architecture or buildings. Potted trees are ideal for creating zoned spaces in your yard, and for low-maintenance tree management, consider the espalier method, which trains trees to grow at 90-degree angles and decorate your walls and fences. This creates an eye-catching feature as well as remaining easy to prune and manage.
5. Bring the Indoors Out
Many landscapers now recognize that the outdoor space of any property can be treated as functionally as any room. With clever design tricks and multipurpose furniture and accessories, you can develop outdoor space that seamlessly blends with your indoors. This is especially fun and imaginative if you have a lobby or shared reception space. Consistent design within this area can easily lead directly into a yard that can be used as functionally as any other room.
Create Unique Outdoor Spaces Your Tenants Will Love
Building up a property portfolio is something you should be proud of. All of your properties should be something you are happy to promote and advertise when looking for new tenants. Many property owners recognize their interior design is more than up to scratch, but what about the exterior? Taking the time and effort to renovate or maintain your green space or transform your property’s lawn can be a significant boost to your property. Not only will current residents be pleased with their new outdoor space, but you can also be sure it will be an attractive prospect for potential tenants looking to move into the area.
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