As a landlord you should definitely know the answer to what is considered a legal bedroom, for 2 reasons.1) Not knowing could cost you legal troubles and 2) Not knowing could cost you cashflow. Here’s how:
The owner of this 4-family property in Linden Nj was well aware of the features that defined a bedroom when they hired our team to find them a new tenant.
Going in to see this property for the first time we were excited for the opportunity to add value and to make a good impression with our new client. Within minutes the opportunity to add value presented itself.
The 4 Apartments on site were all set up as 1 bedroom apartments featuring a living room, dining room, a front entrance, and a back entrance. While speaking with the owner there in person they mentioned that they wanted to get top of the market rents for the apartment and that they even had considered renting the apartment as a 2-bedroom to really force the issue.
When they said this a light bulb went off in my head. I said to them, “You know, a bedroom only needs to have a closet, a door, and a window.” and they said they were aware. As we walked from the back of the apartment to the front, low and behold, the “living room” had all of those features already. It had a decent sized closet, 3 windows, and 2 doors; 1 leading to the front entrance and another leading to the “dining room”. It turned out that the owners’ considerations were legal and now it was up to our team to figure out just how to bring this to reality, and on to the marketing plan we went.
Right before hiring Capital Street Management, this owner had just repaved the backyard area and he even added in a fire pit. From the backyard there was an entrance into the building which led to an entrance into the kitchen of the vacant apartment. This would be our new “main entrance.” Also, what really helped draw up a ton of interest in this apartment was the kitchen itself. This owner did a great job of updating this kitchen a few years prior and it was still intact. With these details. Our plan for showing this “2-bedroom” Apartment fell into place.
In our marketing we virtually staged the backyard with patio furniture to help show what the space would eventually look like. It was a hit, and most prospects mentioned it when confirming their appointment times. Usually they said something like “Is this the place with the backyard?” Yes! This is the place with the backyard.
For showings our team made sure that we met prospective tenants in the driveway which led to the backyard. After greeting them we mentioned that the back area was just repaved for tenant use and we offered to start the tour from there. 9/10 people agreed. After showing the backyard, we entered the apartment, showing them the 2nd fan favorite, the kitchen! It featured granite countertops, tons of cabinet space and stainless steel appliances.
By this point most people were sold!…. Until, they weren’t. After seeing the 1st traditional bedroom they moved on to the smaller “Living Room” (which was the Old Dining Room) their smiles turned ever so slightly, and then as they walked into the front room or “master bedroom” the smiles were just about gone. They looked puzzled as we explained that this room was indeed the master bedroom and it just had a door that led to the front entrance of the building.” As you can imagine, this apartment was no longer ideal for 95% of the people who viewed it. The other 5% walked back and forth through the apartment a few times to see if they could make it work but they usually just couldn’t see it suiting their situation. This routine was like clock work for about 4 long weeks. All throughout we stayed in contact with our client to see if he wanted to make any changes to the apartment listing but he insisted that he was ok with waiting.
And then around week 5 it happened. A qualified applicant found no issue with the apartment and decided to move forward with the lease signing process. And just like that Our goal was met. Together with this client’s vision and our team’s execution we were able to rent that apartment for $300 more than if we would have listed it as a 1 bedroom.
Sure, $300 extra may not seem like enough for some of the hassle, but consider that this proven strategy will be applied to the other 3 Apartments on site as they become vacant as well. With patience and a little creativity, this property will net the owner an additional $1,200/month with no added fixtures or construction needed, just a team willing to see the vision through.
If you’re a landlord with properties local to Union County, Essex County, or a surrounding area and you have an idea for your property that you’re not quite sure how it can be executed, schedule a call with our team. We’ll figure out a plan and see if it makes sense for us to work together . I’m Albert with Capital Street Management. Thanks for reading this post.
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