The real estate market is once again on the rise, which is great news for investors. However, in the decade following the housing market crash, a new generation of renters has emerged, and this generation desires different qualities in a rental property than those of the past. Modern tenants are looking for green properties that offer function and sustainability. The Millennial generation grew up more socially and environmentally conscious of environmental impact. They are more likely to focus on sustainable energy, decreased destruction of native habitats, and a decrease in waste. Here are just some of the ways you can go green with your rental property to entice this young population of tenants.
Seal up Any Cracks or Holes
Have previous tenants complained of the cold? Does it seem that the heater can’t keep up with the demands of cold weather? The property could be losing heat through cracks or openings in walls, windows, and door frames. Your tenants will spend less money on heating and reduce energy usage if they don’t need to crank up the thermostat to stay warm. Inspect your property for any cracks that need sealing. If your property has an old front door, heat could be escaping through a loose or gapped door frame. You may consider installing new doors; some property owners install glass screen doors to serve as an extra protective layer. Be sure to pay attention to any check any cracks in the ceiling, as heat tends to rise and can escape through the uppermost parts of your home. Improving sealing and insulation can require more than a do it yourself approach; consider using a PACE program like HERO from Renovate America on www.heroprogram.com. PACE programs like this specialize in helping property owners access important energy efficient upgrades. With financing and a network of contractors in one single spot, installing important insulation and sealing is made simple. No sweat off your brow, and a new enticing sustainable feature that can draw in tenants—it’s a double win.
Install a Low-Flow Toilet
Standard toilets account for almost 30% of all indoor water use. Imagine reducing your property’s water usage by about a third. Modern technology has seen an influx of low-flow toilets that use less water to flush waste. Many of these water efficient toilets offer two levers as well—one for flushing urine, and one for flushing hard waste. Your tenants will spend a lot less on their water bill, which is a huge plus for marketing your property.
Purchase an Energy Star Washing Machine
There are many ways to save water, and none as efficient as an Energy Star washing machine. If you install an Energy Star washing machine, you can save as much as 50% more water, when compared to a standard model. As in-unit laundry continues to be a top-desired amenity amongst renters, this investment could be more than worth the payoff.
Check for a Leaky Faucet
It may seem minor, but if your property contains leaky faucets, indoors or out, your tenants may be wasting up to 180 showers worth of water per year. Leaky pipes or faucets left untreated can turn into a much more expensive problem if they have cracks or are rusty. Prevent future expenses by solving the issue while it is small and do your part in water conservation in one simple step.
Modify Your Garden
Curb appeal is important, but so is water conservation. If you live in a drought-prone area, then your garden cannot sustain certain plants unless you are willing to water them more often. Many homeowners waste hundreds of dollars every year by overwatering non-native plants in arid climates. Do yourself and the environment a favor by re-landscaping your lawn for drought-resistance plants. You may be surprised—desert plants come in a variety of lush and vibrant colors that are sure to make your garden stand out. In addition, you will save hundreds or thousands of dollars every year depending on your yard’s size and maintenance needs. Many states and localities offer rebates and incentives for property owners who make the switch to drought-tolerant landscaping. Check your local laws to see if you qualify for a rebate and keep in mind that the better your curb appeal, the more justified you are in charging higher rent prices.
Going green with your rental property is likely easier than you think. Incorporate these sustainable amenities and improve your rental income and property value.