In the last twenty years the renter pool has expanded well outside the age cohort of twenty-somethings. Renting as a lifestyle choice is very much a common happening today. As housing affordability has decreased in recent years more family's have continued as renters. So, who is in your tenant pool really?
Even though affordability has returned (somewhat) with lower interest rates, home ownership numbers are not increasing as jobs continue to be scarce and loans difficult to come by. When looking to fill apartments the bigger the qualified renter pool the better.
• Seniors, young families and working professionals over the age of thirty, all are now mainstays of the renter pool representing a demographic who rent as a lifestyle. There is certain rental housing targeted for specific tenants; students, seniors over the age of fifty-five, etc. Everyone else should be in your tenant pool.
• Most everyone is aware of the non-discriminatory laws that we must all abide by. But can you stretch? Many older properties were not constructed for handicap access so they do not have to offer accessibility. But do you have a unit that can be converted for this use? Imagine how many people you can add to your tenant pool by offering a handicap accessible unit. Granted, it's difficult to change door sizes, but sometimes just a few changes can increase the possibility of a handicap person selecting your property.
• Many owners have a no pet policy. There are many reasons for this and I would submit if you do not have to open up your property to pets then do not. But, right now we are looking for tenants to increase our pool of potential customers to fill units. So consider making some units available for pets - small pets.
• Active and over 50. Today, if you are age fifty you can join the AARP. Apparently, a single gray hair qualifies a person as being a senior citizen. These working professionals are not hanging out at the "center" quite yet, but they do need housing. They go to plays, they work out at the gym. They have some investments that create income to subsidize their wages. As renters, they want a hassle free environment where maintenance is timely and late night noise is minimal.
Note that these suggestions for adding to your rental pool do not include lowering screening standards. There is no reason to increase occupancy AND turnover for non-payment. That's a vicious cycle to be avoided. Do some brainstorming and add to this list. Every additional paying customer is one less vacant unit adding to NOI.
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