It’s common for multifamily real estate developers to view rooftop amenities as an “extra.” Whether that means an extra cost, extra coordination item, or an extra liability, amenities can seem like a lot of unnecessary trouble.
But they aren’t unnecessary. And they shouldn’t cause trouble (more on that later).
In reality, rooftop amenities aren’t just an extra. When done right, they become the main highlight of your property. In fact, great rooftop and outdoor amenities are the dominant selling point of the most successful multifamily developments nationwide.
Rooftop Amenities Are A Need-to-Have, Not A Nice-to-Have
To stay relevant and competitive, multifamily developments need to include more (and higher quality) outdoor amenities.
Rooftop amenities and outdoor living experiences are no longer a luxury reserved for the upper echelon of luxury multifamily developments. Exacerbated by pandemic lockdowns, tenants are eager for opportunities to reconnect with nature and with each other. Outdoor amenities aren’t just for suburban single family homes with a backyard. People are now expecting them regardless of where or how they live. Specifically within the city, people want the ability to enjoy their space outside, even when they’re downtown. Fresh air and being outside, along with a deeper connection with your community have never been in greater demand.
As a result, rooftop amenities are only going to become more popular, regardless of a building’s asset class. We’re seeing a shift in the minds of tenants. Instead of asking the question, “Do you offer an outdoor amenity space?” they’re asking, “How good is the outdoor space?”
It’s no longer good enough to offer the bare minimum or old standard outdoor amenity. For example, a cheap pool, grimy barbecues, and picnic tables aren’t a draw for anyone – they may even be a deterrent.
The longer you wait to incorporate high quality rooftop amenities within your development, the more revenue you’re going to lose out on as tenets flock to the properties that meet their amenity needs.
As pointed out by our friends at No Walls Studio, 47% of multifamily residents turn over, on average, every year.
This is quite a telling statistic.
One advantage of renting is the ability to more conveniently relocate. But does that fact account for nearly half of apartment tenants moving each year? Not likely.
Many of these individuals are regularly uprooting their lives in search of better living experiences. And, given how often they’re moving, it’s clear they aren’t finding their ideal living spaces very easily.
Rooftop amenities and outdoor living experiences are a major way to prove to your customers that your property is different and not replaceable. To solve the problem of turnover, you’ve got to provide an experience that is unique to what they can find everywhere else. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, discover who your ideal tenants are and tailor your property to their needs and wants.
Is Your Property Telling the Right Story?
What you choose to do with your amenities is a huge part of creating a compelling story — one that will connect people to your property. These are the opportunities for the the greatest customization and differentiation. While in most instances your apartment units themselves can’t be wildly different from your competition, your outdoor amenities have no such limits.
The high marketability of rooftop and outdoor amenities comes from their place in the story of your property. They are the star of the show. Are they helping your property tell the right story to potential tenants? If not, you’re missing out on a key opportunity.
When a prospective tenant visits your property (be it in-person or online), they’re considering how it will fit within their own life’s story. Your task is to make sure the story, or theme, of your property aligns with their individual story. Where will they entertain their friends and family when they come to visit? Where will they relax after a long day’s work? Where will they socialize and meet their neighbors?
Once your tenants sign the lease, if the outdoor amenities aren’t compelling enough to be a significant part of their lives, they won’t be having the experiences that tie them to the property. Your rooftop amenities should be the place that tenants think of when they’re asked why they love to live at their apartment. This is how you know you’re telling the right story. These amenities should be the first place they think of to celebrate their birthday party or host their sibling who’s visiting from out of town. It’s what they want to show off and where they want to spend their valuable free time.
The reason people fall in love with the places they call home is because of the special memories they make there. The bottom line is that your amenities need to be exciting and differentiated enough that people want to share life’s important events there.
Rooftop and Outdoor Amenities Are an Investment
With the right approach, outdoor amenities are worth it. They’ll only cause trouble when they aren’t planned or executed correctly. Sure, there will always be construction and on-going maintenance costs. But, only dysfunctional amenities are at risk of becoming a money pit.
Effective, purposeful amenities, however, are a smart investment. They increase your net operating income by the thousands, translating to millions of dollars worth of value for your property.
But it’s more than that.
Having the right amenities means you’re not spending money on amenities that don’t get used or make a difference in your bottom line.
It also means that the construction and maintenance costs aren’t sunk, but are part of a smart investment that will yield high returns.
And, perhaps most important of all, they provide evidence to your tenants that your property is where they should call home — not just for the duration of their initial lease agreement, but for as long as they can stay. They should be heartbroken when they have to leave, not eager to move on to another replaceable apartment.
Rooftop and outdoor amenities aren’t your supporting cast. They are the star of the show. And that means they should perform accordingly, right? Are you concerned that you aren’t getting the results you want? We know why you’re feeling that way and what it takes to get what you’re looking for. Let’s talk.