The features and amenities renters want most start with high-speed Internet access, according to the survey. Parking came in second, followed by other simple features like walk-in closets, soundproof walls and private outdoor spaces like patios or a balcony. Renters are also willing to pay extra for useful appliances, such as a washing machine and dryer inside the apartment, a microwave oven, a garbage disposal or a refrigerator with a dispenser for water and ice.
Swimming Pools Still Matter
Residents still like to have swimming pools at their apartment communities—and they are willing to pay for them. Four out of five residents are interested in pools as an amenity, according to the survey. The best swimming pools are social gathering places, experts say.
“It's all about an extra place to hang out with your friends,” says Denton. “I’ve seen more cabanas and other gathering spots near the pool so that it has some functionality during the winter.”
More than half of residents surveyed say they prefer to live within walking distance of a grocery store or a neighborhood restaurant. “Being nearby shopping, retail and restaurants is a huge amenity,” says Denton.
A Third of Renters Visit Community Social Media
After they moved in, about a third (36 percent) of residents visited at least one of their community’s social media websites. About half say they would “never” check their community’s Facebook page –and Facebook is the leading social media website for residents.
First Impressions Start Online
The Internet is a huge part of how renters pick out apartments. The vast majority (80 percent) of residents visited the website of their apartment community or property manager before they moved in. Most renters say they also visited opinion sites like Yelp.com to check reviews of apartments. More than half (52 percent) say that during their apartment search they decided not to visit some apartment properties because of negative reviews they have read on opinion websites.