Today we'll take a look at six benefits to furnishing student housing.
1. Convenience attracts residents and increases occupancy.
• Students don’t usually own furniture and don’t want to spend money they don’t have to buy furniture for their temporary apartment.
• Furnishing an apartment shared with roommates can cause conflict over the decision of what kind of furniture and décor is used in the common spaces and who burdens the cost of those furnishings.
• Moving furniture in and out of an apartment multiple times throughout one’s time at college is exhausting.
• Having to store furniture during the summer months when students have vacated their apartments to stay with family at home is costly and causes further moving inconveniences.
• A furnished apartment helps students avoid these inconveniences and is a highly appealing option to students looking for temporary housing.
2. Comfort and style attracts residents and increases occupancy.
• When students furnish apartments, they are usually bound to cheap options that fit in their budgets.
• Cheap options include furniture out of parents’ storage units, from garages sales, at thrift shops, or off street corners where the item sat with a “free” sign blowing in the wind.
• Such furniture usually does not create a modern or polished design for a visually attractive living environment.
• Such furniture may not be as comfortable or functional as a student would want.
• An apartment with comfortable, stylish, and functional furniture is an enticing option to the student whose hand-me-down alternatives may be embarrassing, smelly, or half-way broken.
3. A display of student culture attracts student residents and increases occupancy.
• When a prospective resident tours a potential future living space, the space is more inviting and desirable if it is furnished than if it were completely vacant. The prospective resident can visualize what it could be like to live in that space.
• If that furniture appeals to that prospective resident’s design preferences, the space becomes even more desirable.
4. High demand and limited availability of furnished apartments can increase rental rates.
• A demand for furnished student housing exists because of the benefits and conveniences listed above.
• Not many markets have a wide range of furnished housing options.
• Higher rents rates can be implemented if there is competition or waiting lists for units in any given complex.
5. Furniture is an amenity that will increase value and rental rates.
• Rental rates of furnished apartments not only include use of the unit and the broader facility amenities, but also include use of furniture. Naturally, if rent rates include additional services or products, rates should be higher.
• Furniture that provides convenience and style is a premium that will be reflected in the rental rate as well.
6. Furnishing apartments reduces maintenance costs by limiting wear and tear on the facilities.
• Moving furniture in and out of an apartment creates a risk of damage to the apartment structure both inside the individual unit and along the exterior of the complex. Walls can be damaged, paint can be chipped, carpet can get worn down, door frames can be dinged up, stair railings can get bent. Damage is especially likely when residents attempt to squeeze oversized furniture through standard openings.
• With students moving in an out annually, there is potential for structural damage at least twice a year to a majority of the units.
• By furnishing the units, owners have the ability to control the size of the furniture that enters the unit.
• By furnishing the units, owners can control the professionalism of the movers who bring the furniture into the units.
• By furnishing the units, owners can control the number of times furniture enters and exits the units.
• Decreasing move-in and move-out damage and wear and tear, decreases the overall cost of repairs and replacements.
Furnishing rental units is not the only way to add value to an investment property. However, when you have a narrow target market of temporary residents, such as students, furniture can be the additional amenity that specifically meets the needs of that market. Better meeting the needs and preferences of your tenants and including additional services will set you apart from local competition, which can help increase your potential occupancy and support higher rental rates.