by Marc Courtenay –
Yesterday I received an advertisement from a rental car company. It simply stated, “The next time you need a rental car call us and receive a free upgrade”, and they meant it.
The word “free” strikes a positive chord for us all. So if I’m a couple looking for an apartment or a rental home and I see the word “free”, I’m likely to investigate this offer.
The first way to inexpensively improve your rental property is to offer something free to both existing residents and prospects.
One property manager in our area made arrangements with the local fitness center. He could purchase a 3 month trial membership for his residents at an extremely reduced price, and then give it as a freebie incentive. Everyone came out a winner.
Another inexpensive improvement for your property is to make it more accessible. Offer free bus passes or a $10 gasoline card to those who come to see your property. Call your local mass transit authority and find out about group discounts and special rates for seniors, children, or frequent riders who reside at your property.
Give out free discount cards, bus maps, schedules or other incentives that makes your property feel like the center of your residences’ universe.
Provide adequate parking at your properties, and that each resident has their own assigned space. Install secure bicycle parking racks and offer a free locking system for every resident that chooses to own a bike.
Another great idea is to provide free tax resources for your residents during tax season. One way of doing this is to bring in a tax advisor once a week for your residents.
If you want more senior residents, make your units senior-friendly. Install shower rails, elevated toilet seats, and extra lighting outside and inside. Call the community ride-share or dial-a-ride program and facilitate pickups and drop-offs for your senior residents.
Call your tax advisor and find out what improvements are tax-deductible. Rental property owners may assume that anything they do on their property is a deductible expense. Not so, according to the IRS.
A repair keeps your rental property in good condition and is a deductible expense in the year that you pay for it. Repairs include painting, fixing a broken toilet and replacing a faulty light switch.
Improvements add value to your property and are not deductible when you pay for them. You usually can recover the cost of improvements by depreciating the expense over your property’s life expectancy.
For more ideas on improving rental properties, take a look at the “Repair & Maintenance” section oflandlord.com.