Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Kitchens 2000

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Kitchens 2000

Article excerpt

Today, the kitchen is where the action is. As with single family home sales, the kitchen is rapidly becoming "the room of decision" for residents choosing apartments and condominiums. "A good kitchen is definitely a marketing advantage," says Alan Huffman, CPM(R), president of Key Management. As Angelique Goodnough reported last year in JPM, the number of people choosing renting as a lifestyle rather than a necessity is on the rise.

These new residents have specific ideas about what they want in their kitchens in terms of appliances. With dual incomes, many of today's renters can afford, expect, and appreciate "extras.' They may be looking for even more specific conveniences that clearly fit and benefit their unique lifestyles.

In addition to the "new" residents, the "old" residents are staying in place for longer. The age at which people are able to buy homes has risen, and more and more young families get their start in apartments and condominiums.

The astute property manager will look for ways to give all his or her residents reasons to move in and stay. These managers recognize that their appliance choices can help make or break the rental decision, while at the same time provide a level of satisfaction that will help build long-term relationships with residents. Although you can't do anything about room sizes or community location, appliances are one area that can be easily updated to improve the look of your property, add value, and meet market demands.

The buying basics

The first principle to remember when buying appliances is to ft the appliances to each of your communities. The demographics of the property should make a difference in your purchasing decisions. You might not want the same appliances for an older community as you would choose for a young one.

In addition, the price range will have a big impact. If you are serving a high-end market, obviously the more "extras" you add (like ice makers and water dispensers), the more added leasing appeal a property will have.

Just as important as the appliance you select is your choice of the supplier. Huffman recommends using recognized name brands. "It's important for leasing," he says. "People like to see a name they've heard of before."

The right resource will also help make your job easier. Some questions you might want to ask your supplier include: Does your company provide readily responsive product service? Do you have local people who maybe easily reached? Are you able to come out at times convenient to my needs? Do you offer discounts for buying in mass quantities?

A final factor you might consider is a change out/buy out program available through some manufacturers. Basically, instead of selling old, working appliances to used dealers when you update an apartment, you would sell them back to the manufacturer for money off the price of your new appliances. An advantage to these programs is that they lift the responsibility of CFC-refrigerant disposal off your shoulders. Huffman says he currently spends $20 to $25 per appliance for disposal.

Reflect your market

The following provides points to consider as you buy to fit your appliances to meet the changing needs of your market:

* Refrigeration. Time is at a premium in the dual-income households of today--and in fact--it seems to be a hot commodity for everyone these days. Trips to the store no longer happen every day, or even every week It may be two or three weeks between shopping trips for some.

One way that property managers may help accommodate this lifestyle change is by providing larger capacity refrigerator-freezers. …

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