What Are Tenants Looking For In Their Next Rental Property? (Part 2: Minor and Major Upgrades)

In Part 1 of this series, we covered topics such as pets, subleasing, tenant repairs, and more. We will now dive into some major and minor upgrades tenants are looking for in their next rental property.

2. Minor Upgrades

Minor upgrades would be items that you could easily change at your property for under $1000. 

They include:

  • Ceiling fans
  • Leased laundry machines
  • Garage door openers
  • Garbage disposals
  • Window A/C units
  • Refrigerators
  • Updated light fixtures
  • Updated blinds

Most of these items are self-explanatory, but some are more important than others.


Laundry might be the most important item in this section of the list, and if you own a multi-unit apartment building, it could be the most important item overall. Most buildings will have some laundry hookups on sight, and if you don’t have machines in there, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. 

Laundry can be easily installed at a minimal cost my contacting any number of laundry leasing companies. They will install their own machines and take a small cut of the profit from those machines. 

Many clients want to own and operated their own machines but a word of warning to those who explore this route. The machines can be expensive to maintain and might need to be frequently serviced because tenants are hard on them. Also, it requires you to make frequent trips to the property to pick up the change.

Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are also items that are high on the people’s list. They can save you on plumbing clogs, but they are a regular source of maintenance. 


Providing a refrigerator has pluses and minus as well. If you provide them, you are required to maintain them, but you will miss out on some tenants if you don’t provide them. 

Other Minor Items

Garage door openers will also come along with an additional maintenance cost. Updated blinds light fixtures, and plumbing fixtures are things people want, will pay a little more to have and won’t cost you anything additional to maintain.

3. Major Upgrades

Major upgrades are the next category, and they are large and costly projects that usually involve a vacancy to perform the installation. 

These include: 

  • Open floor plans
  • Remodeled kitchens
  • Remodeled bathrooms
  • Forced A/C
  • Forced heat
  • New windows
  • New flooring (not carpet)
  • Installation of washer dryer hookups
  • Installation of the dishwasher

All of these items are highly sought after, and they will all garner more money for your rental unit.

Open Floor Plans

Open floor plans, remodeled kitchens, remodeled bathrooms, washer dryer hookups, and dishwashers will probably have to be done with a vacancy, and they will cost you a significant amount of time and money. That being said, especially in a market like Long Beach, people are willing to pay for these upgraded units. Besides the additional rent, you will also be improving the value of your buildings substantially.


Flooring is one of the less expensive major upgrades. With vinyl floors, you can have a hardwood looking floor that is easy to maintain. Not only will you make more money in a unit with these floors, but you should save money in the long run by not having to replace the carpet every five to seven years.

Forced Air (A/C)

A/C is another important upgrade. Whether it is a forced air unit or a ductless mini-split air conditioner, potential tenants will love it. They can both be expensive to install, but you will certainly earn your money back in terms of rent. There will be some maintenance costs to adding these to your rental units, but they are worth it.


Most houses already have washer/dryer hookups, but we are seeing a growing trend of adding them to one and two-bed apartments. Usually, with the small units, you will be renting to people who don’t have these and may not want to make a purchase. If you decide not to provide the washer and dryer, be prepared to lose a portion of your potential tenants because they don’t want to make that purchase.

Related: Part 1 – Property Rules and Part 3 – Amenities (coming soon).

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