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5 Ways to Increase ROI through Design and Development

The right strategic planning with ROI (return on investment) in mind can help recuperate a large percentage of a project’s costs and, therefore, increase future returns for investors. APOGEE’s specialty is enhancing the resident experience while keeping the interest of investors in mind. Over the course of our many projects, we’ve developed a list of the most effective ways to enhance properties and achieve our ROI goals.

#1 Address underlying existing needs

This tip speaks specifically to redevelopment projects. When acquiring a property, it’s important to note existing or potential issues within the community and address these as part of a value-add project. Often, these items will lead to savings of both time and money in the long term.

A few examples of underlying issues could include:

  • Unused amenities
    • One of our favorite examples of this can be found at Onyx at Aksarben, our current LIHTC renovation in Omaha, NE’s District 66/Aksarben Village area. Originally called Cedarwood Apartments, the community had a lackluster and under-used concrete swimming pool that lost about 1-2” of water per day. We looked at this as an opportunity to utilize the space in a more eco-friendly and desirable way for the current and future tenant base. We chose to turn the space into a community garden, with plans to open in Spring 2021.

  • Curb appeal and landscaping
    • The definition of curb appeal is the attractiveness of a property and it’s surrounding when viewed from the street. Landscaping, the front entrance, and the condition of the paint or siding are the biggest factors in curb appeal.  APOGEE strives to enhance properties with high quality building materials, flowering pops of color, unique building signage and tree trimming. It is important for our residents to have a sense of pride in their home and rave about the meticulously manured landscaping.
  • Inefficient heating/AC
    • There is nothing more annoying than a loud HVAC unit that runs continuously and rattles.  The VP of Construction Management at APOGEE has 30+ years of experience in heating and air maintenance and is scrupulous about updating and maintaining HVAC systems.  During a value-add project, our team will make sure filters are new, vents are replaced, and units are cleaned and inspected for proper air flow.  Proper maintenance is imperative for the health and safety of our customers.

#2 Get creative with an amenity package

  • Complimentary gym memberships
    • Since some residents prefer the variety of equipment and atmosphere that a large gym can offer, it can be an added benefit to provide complimentary memberships to fitness centers near the apartment community. At Rock Island in Amarillo, TX, for example, we chose to offer a membership to gym with extreme proximity to the property. Our target demographic includes young, fit and health-conscious individuals, so this offer was one that we knew could assist in closing leases during the lease-up period and beyond.
  • Dog Wash stations
    • In addition to necessary dog-runs/parks at properties, an amenity that we like to include is a dog-wash station on site. This allows for added convenience for residents with pets, and helps to keep the buildings clean and free of muddy footprints, etc. This all can help to extend the life of the asset while also providing a service to our residents.
  • Laundromat incentives
    • Not every apartment home is guaranteed to have a washer/dryer in unit. If that is the case, a paid laundry program at a shared laundry facility at the community can be a desirable incentive for existing and future residents.

#3 Choose high efficiency fixtures and finishes

Adding energy efficient fixtures and appliances will cost more up front but conversely it will improve the life of the asset and enhance the value for owners down the line. Residents will also see savings reflected in their utility bills. When developing Ravello 192, located at the corner of 192nd and Pacific streets in Omaha, NE, we chose LED lighting throughout the property and energy-efficient appliances. This adds to the luxury lifestyle that our demographic is looking for at this property, while keeping utility bills relatively low.

#4 Utilize interior design to maximize the appearance of the space

The size of a space is all about perspective. Take the clubhouse at Jasper Place Apartments in Council Bluffs, IA, for example. The community space was dated, compartmentalized and cramped, making it appear small and old. Through renovations utilizing transitional design and contemporary pieces that implement the property’s new branding, the office became an ideal spot for meetings, prospect tours and events.

#5 Consider high end apartment features

Smart home locks

  • At the aforementioned development Latitude 41, we chose Rently smart-home style locks for all of the unit and common doors to add an extra level of convenience for the residents. These locks add another level of safety and security for residents, all while cutting down on the number of maintenance calls for resident lock outs.

Package lockers

  • Residents are shopping online more than ever, and secure package delivery is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. We’ve implemented these package locker systems at vast number of properties in our portfolio, and find it to be a big selling point when it comes to leasing homes. Accessible 24-hours per day and only opened with secure code entry, residents never need to worry about getting their deliveries when they need them.

Drone pads for Amazon delivery

  • Amazon drone delivery was recently approved by the FAA, which could allow some packages to be delivered within an hour of an order being placed. By remaining on the forefront of technological advances when developing (or redeveloping) an apartment community, residents feel that their convenience is at top of mind and are more likely to renew leases and/or refer friends and family to become residents too. We have not implemented this technology yet but intend to do so in the near future!