It’s summer time and for those of us who live somewhere with at least 3 seasons, now is one of the busiest times for our outdoor amenities. It is a great time to see what is getting the most use, how materials are holding up to the heat and extra abuse, and planning for the future competitiveness of your amenities package. Of course what you have or can do is often dependent on your available space and location. What might work on a 40th floor rooftop in Chicago is likely not going to have the same impact in a garden style proeprty in Kansas City. Here are a few tips for those looking to upgrade or improve existing outdoor common areas at their properties.
1) Identify what your renters want: It’s the old adage, know your audience. What looks awesome online or what a regional manager in Miami said was awesome might not be what is going to work for you. Is your property heavy in boomers, echo’s, or millennials? Ask around, see what your prospects are looking for as they come in. Real time info from your micro market is GOLD.
2) Know local codes: One of the biggest and costliest mistakes we see across the country is a manager or regional coming up with an idea and then executing it by choosing the low bidder who doesn’t pull a permit or know code. Then much to everyone’s surprise at the property, someone from the city comes by and tells them it is built wrong or too close to the pool or needs a fence around it, etc. This can lead to double the original expense simply to make it right. Choose an experienced contractor familiar with your local codes and ADA requirements.
3) Are you your best amenity? Take a good hard look at your community involvement practices. Beyond retention activities are you really looking to drive traffic to your new or existing high end amenities? What good is that awesome fire pit if it’s a ghost town most nights? Today’s renters look at common areas as extensions of their living space – areas to congregate and be social. Make that easy by planning events that will showcase your various amenities and make residents feel ownership and comfort utilizing the spaces over and over.