How to Maximize ROI for Seattle Rental Properties

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Rental property owners can sometimes feel like their ROI is fixed, with expenses subtracted from the current rent amounts, assuming that there is nothing else to do to improve returns. Others think the only move to increase ROI is an across-the-board rate increase. While rate increases do have their place, the best property management Seattle, Washington has to offer can tell you that they are far from the only thing you can do to improve returns. 

To learn more about how property managers help owners make their properties more profitable, check out these options for increasing ROI, from charging pet fees to thoroughly inspecting your properties.

Appliances and Upgrades

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You might be surprised how much a new set of appliances appeals to a renter and what they can do for your bottom line. Like other small details of a property, appliances are a signal to a renter: if they see new, high-quality appliances, they assume you're taking pride in the property and offering a quality home to renters. 

These days, if you include electricity or gas in your rental rate, energy-efficient appliances can also pay for themselves simply in savings on the gas and electric bills over time. In addition, choosing a great brand instead of the lowest-end appliances you can find can also extend how many years these appliances have a new or nearly-new look, allowing you to keep reaping the benefits of this simple property update. 

Yes, appliances are an investment. However, property managers can tell you that even a slight increase in rent (and the tax benefits) can fully pay for new appliances fairly quickly.

Additional Property Updates Can Boost ROI, Too

Many rental property owners find that additional updates to a property can also boost returns. However, it’s not always necessary to endure the costs of significant renovations to spruce up a rental unit and attract quality renters.  

Replacing cheap materials with higher-quality options (like flooring) can appeal to renters and improve the look and feel of a home. The right upgrades can also show renters that you offer a quality residence and encourage them to care for your property well during their tenancy. 

When property owners choose to upgrade amenities, they can also generally justify an increase in the monthly rent amount. So, while you’ll spend some money initially to improve the curb appeal, update lighting, or improve the bathroom or kitchen faucets, affordable updates can pay off long-term with better returns. 

Plus, a property manager can tell you that when it’s time to renew a lease, renters will be more likely to stay when they see you have a plan to keep their rental home up-to-date, safe, and appealing.

Consider Smart Home Devices For Appeal

Many tech-loving renters arrive at your property with their own smart home devices. However, if your rental units don’t support smart home technology, you could find those renters choose to live somewhere else. 

There's something appealing about a property that already has its smart speakers, a smart thermostat, and a video doorbell. For tenants that use Google Home or Alexa Home, controlling features like lighting or door locks is something they look for when choosing a new home. 

Adding smart home devices and capabilities can make your renters more comfortable, save energy costs, and keep them feeling safe and secure. When a property owner offers these features, they can advertise them and stand out from other properties in Seattle that don’t have smart home device capabilities. 

These devices and features are inexpensive. However, adding them to your rental units can justify a rent increase, add value to the property, and encourage good renters to stay for another lease term—all of which improve ROI.

Make Work-From-Home Comfortable For Renters

Property management companies have seen that a significant shift in how the world works has included a tremendous increase in work that has become remote-friendly or even permanently remote. Renters who were previously focused on bedroom and bathroom count are also trying to figure out where to keep their desks set up for work. 

If a specific area in your rental can be repurposed to highlight its appeal as a work-from-home location, it can be worth doing so. Whether this means including built-in desks, purchasing room dividers, or adding high-speed internet capabilities, your rental will appeal to a broader pool of renters who need dedicated office space in their homes. 

Make sure to feature a home office when staging a property for photos and creating your property listing!

Screen Thoroughly When Reviewing Applicants

One of the biggest factors in generating better ROIs comes down to the quality of your renters. Once you've created a rental that draws interest from potential applicants, it’s critical to place only the best residents who pay rent on time, take care of the property, and are likely to renew the lease at the end of the term. 

To place high-quality residents, property owners must screen applicants carefully and choose those who have no red flags regarding their rental history. While, of course, people can turn over new leaves, as a rental property owner, your best option is to focus on renting a well-maintained, well-updated space to someone who has a good track record of excellent relationships with property owners and who has paid rent consistently and on time. 

However, avoid using a screening process to discriminate against any specific types of tenants. Instead, using a thorough background review process as a way to focus intently on issues that directly impact a renter's ability to pay their rent and sustain a positive renter-owner relationship.

Place a Focus on Renewals

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When you do find one of these great renters who are interested in a long-term place to live, consider how you can structure incentives to keep those residents long-term. 

However, this doesn't have to mean that their rent never increases. Many renters respond well to discounts or additional services offered for “free” if they are willing to renew a lease, even if the lease is at a higher rate. 

When developing your renewal and tenant retention strategy, start the process early to get residents locked into a new lease term before they consider moving. Offering incentives can help encourage more renewals. In addition, creating a referral program if you have many units to fill since great renters can be instrumental in bringing more great renters in and rewarding your best residents for saying for another term.

Get Every Rental Back to Sparkling Clean Between Renters

Whether you get in and scrub a property yourself or hire a professional, there's no substitute for a clean rental when you go to show your property to new rental applicants. Yes, most renters could clean themselves if they don't see the space as quite up to their standards. However, maintaining a clean property between residents helps set an excellent first impression for new tenants and helps reduce the potential for property issues that can creep in when cleanliness isn’t a priority. 

For instance, skipping a deep clean between tenants can lead to pest or rodent infestations, mold or mildew buildup, and other hazards that could harm your property and tenants.

Offer a Benefits Package For Renters

If you need to boost ROI further, an additional, optional resident benefits package can be another source of value to attract good tenants. Things like 24/7 maintenance services, free air filter delivery, and late payment waivers are all great perks that you might extend anyway. However, by packaging them together for a reasonable additional fee, you boost ROI while also making renters who opt-in feel like they are receiving star treatment.

Keep Hardware Updated When Costly Renovations Don't Make Sense

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Are you worried that the cash isn't there for a major rental renovation? In many cases, property owners don’t need to commit to a significant and costly rehab project to improve the appearance of a property and returns. 

An excellent and inexpensive upgrade is to replace hardware throughout the property! From kitchen and bathroom cabinets to the front door, rental owners can change the locks, knobs, and handles for an aesthetic improvement, creating an impression of a renovation without having to renovate. Keep this in mind if you have a renter or applicant who mentions the property looks dated and cites that as part of their hesitance to rent from you.


Get More Insights Into Improving ROI With Our Free Resource

No matter which combination of things you use to increase your ROI, keep these general principles in the forefront of your mind: aim to take great care of current high-consistency renters, attract and screen potential renters by offering an amazing rental, and don't be afraid to spend money on updates and upgrades if they allow you to boost rental rates and returns.

These methods of increasing also ROI boost retention, one of the most profitable moves you can make as a property owner. If you aren't sure where to get started, an experienced property management company in Seattle can help you choose and prioritize your next moves. If you’re ready for more expert insights right now, download the Real Property Associates free resource, “10 Things You Should Do To Increase the ROI for Your Rental Property.”