Scattered Site Rental Toolkit:

Business Planning for Development & Management

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Management

V.A. Producing a Marketable and Durable Unit

As discussed in the previous module, understanding the needs of your expected tenants is vital to Scattered Site Rental (SSR) program success. The development of quality units that are energy efficient, durable and include amenities most desired by prospective tenants will lead to marketing success. How can you determine what clients are likely to want? One way is to interview local realtors to find out what people are looking for. Another possibility is to find out what amenities are offered by existing similar rentals with low vacancy rates. The most thorough approach is to commission a professional market study that surveys the competition and offers a series of recommendations about unit type, interior and exterior finishes, and amenities.

Advice from the Field: What to Build

It is also important to understand the realities of rental housing. Rental houses take a certain amount of abuse and in some cases units are trashed by the tenants prior to eviction or turnover. This can happen for a number of reasons. Tenants may not value the property because it is not theirs. They may be careless, or may be sloppy housekeepers, or may have habits that are hard on units. For example, some tenants cook in such a way as to generate large amounts of grease in the kitchen, which soon coats many of the surfaces and can ruin the appliances, cabinets, and walls. For all of these reasons, maintenance costs are high and adequate replacement and maintenance reserves will be important to ensure adequate funding. To make matters more complicated, with SSR it is more difficult to keep an eye on the units to ensure they are well cared for. It also costs more to maintain them due to of higher travel costs and a lack of uniformity in components.

Advice from the Field: Lowering Maintenance Costs

Next: V.B. Approaches to Producing and Managing SSR Projects