There may be reasons why you don't have laundry in your apartments. Not enough space, not in your business model, don't have time to install them, or don't want the hassle to maintain them. I've listed 6 reasons why you should consider including laundry for your rental properties and how it can benefit both the landlord and the tenants.
1. Adds Amenities To Your Apartment Listings
Have your property standout from the rest. Draw larger amounts of traffic to your property listing. Want to rent out your property faster? Adding amenities that others don't have gives you the advantage and first dibs on the best tenants.
When listing my apartments, I have noticed potential renters perk up when they realized laundry is available on site.
2. Additional Income Stream
There are a number of ways to earn a higher ROI via charging a premium on the rent. The laundry units can be located in the apartment and included as a higher rental amount or collected via a coin-op laundry. Typically coin-op laundry units are located in a common area for everyone to use. If the apartments have direct access (units are located within the apartment kitchen) then you may choose to have it included in the rent.
Other options are to exclude the laundry units in the base rent and list the property with a lower starting rental rate and provide laundry as an extra on the rental rate. Test the waters and see how people respond.
How you provide laundry and how to charge for it depends on your strategy and location. Some areas people just want certain amenities included so just roll it into the base rent. Other areas people may not want it included but may want it down the road so you could upcharge for installation.
3. Longer Tenancy
If you have an apartment with all the added amenities and it's not overpriced, many times tenants are likely to stay. Landlords are always looking for long term tenants as turnovers tend to be a point where they have to repaint, cleanup, spend time and money.
Increasing the quality of life for the occupants likely results in longer rental terms. This is all subjective and depends on areas invested in of course. You're unlikely to have long term college students but a couple with kids may be more likely to stay for the convenience of not having to go to the laundromat.
4. Easy And Cheap To Repair
Obviously this depends on the type and brands you choose. I've talked with appliance repair shop folks as well as my brother who used to be an appliance repair technician. They always recommended the Kenmore/Whirlpool brands and I have had great success with them. This is subjective information and you may have different tastes or experiences for your rentals.
If you can, stick with similar brands or models to keep things consistent as you grow your rental portfolio. Limit the number of "bells and whistles" as this can increase repair complexity.
Top loading washers are the style to pick. They are very rugged and robust machines. Cheap replacement parts. The internals of the top loading machines have not changed for decades which allows you locate parts quickly online or at a local appliance shop.
Front loading washers are not the ideal appliance when dealing with repairs and maintenance. The door seals can harbor mold if not left open or cleaned properly. There are more belts that you have to deal with and more involved in the repairs. If you have high water costs then you may have to weigh this against the total cost of the appliance and future repairs.
Dryer type: Most if not all dryers are front loading. Again, sticking with same brand/models will suit you well over time. The Kenmore/Whirlpool style dryers are also very easy to repair with limited parts that wear out. Most common fixes are the drum belts, lid switches, or heating elements for electric ones.
5. Cheap To Replace
This is also specific to the top loading washers and matching dryer set. If you haven't noticed, I'm a big proponent of the top loading washer and have standardized across all my apartments. From a landlord perspective, you are looking for longevity, ease of repairs, and purchase costs. Top loading washers also cost much less than front loading washers which checks all my boxes in terms of purchase price and cost of repairs.
If the appliances are part of the aesthetics of the apartment, you may lean towards new(er) appliances or new-used. I prefer to buy used washer/dryer sets. They have held up well in my apartments with minimal repairs and are cheap to buy.
6. It's What I Would Want If I Lived There
Laundry is the reason I got into landlording and I saw the value before I became one. If I wanted something as a renter, I imagine many others do too! Putting yourself in the renters position gives you a huge advantage and if you would be willing to live there and want certain amenities like laundry, it will help greatly in filling your apartments with quality tenants.
Focus On The Big Picture
Laundry is one piece of the landlording puzzle. It can draw tenants to your rentals with amenities they want. This can lead to longer term tenants and increased cashflow with minimal liability for repairs/replacements.
Take a step back and look at other areas of your rental business that can add value and increase cashflow. Focusing on this mindset will make sure your rental properties cashflow more and give insight to opportunities overlooked by others. Now get out there and do some laundry on your life!