This is the second article in a five-part series that examines how to "rehab, rebuild and rebrand" your multifamily community through marketing: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Getting your property rehabbed is a lengthy process. From experience, we've found promoting to your current and future tenants the changes that will be happening is an important way to advertise the value-adds, as well as alert them to the construction delays or hazards that can be caused.

Consider using visual display boards with the new layout or finishes in your clubhouse. This not only can inform tenants of what is happening, but it also promotes the anticipated construction timeframes and finished results. This same information can be put on your community website or a digital signage board. Flyers and leaflets under tenant doors are also a great way to get the ball rolling.

In a 2014 research study conducted by Valiant Design + Marketing, surveyed property owners and managers indicated the decision to purchase new properties was based on high ROI potential. These results shared the following insight:

  • Purchase cycle: Due diligence and financing completed in one year or less.
  • Top three purchase attributes: Location, revenue potential and price
  • Updates: Over 90 percent of respondents would make updates based on trends and marketplace demands
  • Rehab timeframe: Six months to two years
  • Top changes made: Kitchen and bath remodels for individual units, flooring upgrades, interior/exterior painting, landscaping and signage and wayfinding.
  • Additions or future updates: Roofing, HVAC, green features, fitness, technology, parking lots and ADA compliance upgrades.

Upgrades and addition results

Initially, additions are a capital expense, but they can ultimately become a long-term cost savings to management.

  • Pet parks: Could potentially reduce wear and tear on overall grounds and were considered for installation within the first two years. Playgrounds and updated laundry facilities were also important updates.
  • Sustainability: Consider adding Energy Star upgraded appliances, LEED-certified toilets or plant drought-tolerant landscaping. All are sustainable features and act as a marketing tool for those concerned.
  • Kitchens: Use faux stainless steel with granite countertops. Or, use the spray granite and replace tired kitchen doors to give kitchens a fresh look at an affordable price.
  • Bathrooms: Resurfaced tubs, raised sinks and updated brushed nickel fixtures can give a tired bathroom a modern pop.

Community results

  • Clubhouse: It's the place to be. Having updated business centers, kitchens and cafe-style coffee is great for keeping community in the clubhouse. Large-screen TVs can be placed high enough to avoid vandalism, but low enough for visibility.
  • Outdoors: Fire pits add warmth and can increase sense of community.
  • Pool: Resurfacing an old pool will add vitality to tired pools. Old saunas can be turned into changing rooms or lockers, too.
  • Technology: It's never going away. Having Wi-Fi, cable or cloud servers available to tenants can be an added bonus.
  • Security cameras: Add peace of mind for tenants, and cut down on vandalism for owners.


Landscapes play a major role in drive-by appeal for apartment communities. A 2013 study by the American Society of Landscape Architects interviewed 166 landscape architects who specialize in residential design. They were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements.

Consider using these findings to your advantage as you work to improve your property:

  • Cook and entertain outdoors: A whopping 96 percent of Americans surveyed said they wanted grills outside. This was closely followed by complete outdoor living spaces, with seating around the community. If your apartment complex does not yet have a built-in barbecue area, you might be missing out on tenants who value livable outdoor spaces.
  • Sustainable low-maintenance landscapes: About 94 percent of people surveyed said they liked low-maintenance landscapes. Of course, in an apartment complex, the amount of maintenance might not directly affect the tenants, but it may affect your landscaping bill.
  • Lighting and installed seating: About 95 percent of those surveyed claimed lighting was important to them in an outdoor space. This makes it possible for tenants to cook dinner outside as the sun goes down or even simply feel safer taking walks at night. Using energy-efficient lighting, with timers and sensors helps keep light pollution to a minimum. Installed ledges and boulders to installed benches.
  • Pools and tennis courts: Over 80 percent of respondents found that weatherized chairs outside were more important than the pool or tennis court. However, focus on getting grills and seating set up first if your apartment landscaping is missing.
  • Raised bed gardens and window boxes for fruits and vegetables: This is an inexpensive way to build community and possibly gain longer-term tenants. The study showed many people like the idea of having gardens to grow their own fruits and vegetables. You can offer one or even a few courtyard gardens, or even individual unit window boxes.

In the third part of this series, we'll look at how to market your brand on the street to capture drive-by traffic.