What do renters look for in a perfect property?
With over half of Canadian renters planning to move once their current lease expires, this question is more important than ever for property owners.
We turned to the data for answers. Today, we’re sharing the top wants and needs of renters based on the latest data available to help you understand what changes to consider making to your property to attract more attention and sign your next tenant faster.
Note: Generally speaking (difficulty will depend on your specific situation), the changes suggested below are listed in order of easiest-to-implement to hardest-to-implement.
What do renters look for? Here’s what the data suggests:
1. The right messaging and imagery in your ads
Before you invest in upgrading your actual property, have a look to see what can be improved from a marketing perspective. Do the photos accurately show how much space and natural lighting is available? Are features and amenities that tenants care about (more on this below) shown early in the photo gallery, and are they among the first things you talk about in your messaging?
Getting the answer to “yes” for these questions should be one of the first things you do to attract more renters. If you really want to put your marketer cap on, you can do the following:
- Start tracking the number of impressions, clicks, outreaches, and applications you receive every month, as well as the monthly click-through-rate (CTR) for your ads
- Test different messaging, imagery, and the order of certain details in your messaging to see if it makes more or fewer people click on your ads (this is called A/B testing)
- Keep track of what information people are asking about when they initially reach out to you and constantly update your ads to include this information
You’ll learn what your specific renters care about as you keep track of the metrics above, but to give you an idea of what details generally they care about– and that need to be upfront in your messaging – here are renters’ top priorities:
- Overall location
- Crime index
- Cost of rent
- Lifestyle conveniences (i.e. access to public transportation, trails nearby, available nightlife, etc.)
Have you wondered where is the best place to advertise your rental property? When you choose Rhenti ILS, your property is automatically listed on all of the top websites: Zillow, Viewit.ca, Hotpads, PadMapper, Zumper, Property Guys, Kijiji, and ApartmentLove.
2. A modern application, lease agreement, management, and payment process
Real estate is currently going through a digital renaissance. More than ever, prop tech is changing what tenants expect when it comes to researching, applying to, and maintaining their properties.
For property owners, meeting this expectation means allowing tenants to:
- pay rent electronically
- digitally apply, sign, and finalize documents including the lease agreement and lease addendums.
- see a virtual tour before their in-person tour
- benefit from a secure, automated package locker system
- use apps for general maintenance and property management (i.e. schedule a repair, quickly communicate with certain parties, unlock/lock doors, book a party room, etc.)
In other words, if there is a way to make your tenants’ lives easier through automation or technology, now’s the time to jump on it.
Check out Rhenti to learn how we make the process of finding and signing the right renters fast and easier than any other way.
3. Move-in incentives
While not as necessary as during the pandemic when demand was lower, incentives are still an effective way to stand out and get tenants through the door.
This is especially true if your pricing, amenities, features, and/or other property characteristics pale in comparison to what your competitors offer - or even if they look the same.
What incentives to offer will depend on your specific property and applicants, but some of the more popular ones include:
- free wifi and cable for a year
- free parking for a year
- gift cards
- free first month of rent
- bonus cash
- phones or other devices
- furnished units
4. More leasing flexibility
More than 35% of Canadian renters don’t want to worry about committing to a place for an entire year. Not only that, but over 40% would be willing to pay more in order to have month-to-month flexibility rather than a fixed term. This presents a huge opportunity for property owners willing to offer shorter-term leases or month-to-month options.
And if the increased admin work of shorter-term leases scares you (more renters, more turnover, more documents, and so on), you can hand off the hard work to Rhenti's industry-leading software for leasing professionals, which we’re proud to say offers a 4-6X workload reduction.
5. The right amenities
As you might expect, many of today’s most sought-after amenities are largely by-products of the pandemic - amenities supporting at-home work, saving renters from having to do certain errands in public, and keeping them safe and secure.
That said, here are the amenities renters want most:
- high-speed internet
- secure building access
- In-unit laundry
Other nice-to-haves are (in no particular order):
- updated kitchens
- pet-friendly units - learn more about landlord legal rights for renters with pets
- outdoor space (i.e. balconies or backyards)
- dedicated workspaces separate from the bedroom or living room
- a garage or parking space
- private gyms
- co-working spaces
If you’re worried about not being able to offer these amenities - perhaps your property isn’t part of a larger building or organization with access to them and you don’t have the budget for construction or renovation yourself - one solution is to offer discounts on nearby gym memberships or co-working spaces.
If you do decide to go down the renovation route, and your property is based in Ontario, be sure to first read our Ontario rent increase guidelines to learn the relationship between renovating and increasing rent.
So, returning to our initial question of what do renters look for, you now hopefully have a better idea of what today’s renters want, how your property matches up with what they’re looking for, and, most importantly, what changes make sense for you to make to attract more tenants.
As touched on above, a modern and seamless online application process is quickly emerging as one of the most sought-after features you can offer as a property owner.
With Rhenti, you can offer exactly that. Modernize your rental business with automated listings, smart viewings, effortless applications, tenant screenings, customizable lease agreements, and so much more. There’s a reason our average time to lease is under 30 days.
Discover more property owner insights by visiting our Rhenti blog.
The blog posts on this website are for the purpose of general introductory information. They can’t serve as an opinion or professional advice. Speak to a professional before making decisions related to your circumstances.