Your Apartment Checklist

If rental houses and apartments were like cans of Campbell's tomato soup or bottles of Coca-Cola, you could expect every unit to rent for the same price. You could discover an actual "market" rent level. But, in fact, houses and apartment buildings differ in dozens of ways that their potential tenants find appealing or unappealing. Mentally tour properties. What do you see? How do the properties differ with respect to these features?

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Views

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Living area floor plan

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Energy usage/efficiency

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Closet space

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Square footage

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Storage space

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Natural light

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Kitchen functionality

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Ceiling height

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Kitchen pizzazz

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Quiet/noisiness

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Entryway convenience

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Parking

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Tenant demographics

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Room count

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Tenant lifestyles, attitudes

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Appliances (quality, quantity)

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Lighting

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Landscaping

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Security

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Quality of finishes

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Laundry facilities

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Heat/air conditioning

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Fireplace

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Decks/patios/balconies

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Physical condition

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Cleanliness

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Window coverings

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Carpeting/floor coverings

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Types/style of windows

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Electrical outlets

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Image/reputation

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Emotional appeal

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Furniture

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Color schemes/aesthetics

And this checklist doesn't even mention other important tenant concerns such as the amount of the security deposit (total move-in cash), the terms of the lease, the quality of the management, and last but far from least, location. Before you think through all of these possible differences, you can't intelligently say that your two-bedroom, two-bath units should rent for $675 a month. First, you want to compare and contrast your units feature by feature to a broad sample of competing properties.

With good competitive information about property features and rent levels, you not only improve your ability to evaluate your property. Just as important, you prime your mind to spot opportunities to increase its value.

Profit-maximizing investors pay attention to every detail of their properties.

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