Kellie Rastegar is co-founder and creative director at Rastegar Property Group.
Over the course of the pandemic, real estate investors have faced many challenges, with some asset classes booming and others struggling. In multi-family businesses, with the rise of remote working, the pandemic has put new demands on tenants and new priorities for investors and developers. While there’s no doubt that the traditional office will live on, it’s safe to say that many employers will continue to take a hybrid approach to work, meaning workers will remain remote after the pandemic, causing tenants to expect more from their living space. and requirements.
As companies in the US plan for the future of their workforces, we can expect many to adopt a hybrid scheme, if not a permanent permanent arrangement for remote work. This continued presence of homeworkers means changes are coming to traditional living spaces, especially in the rental market.
For investors, it’s vital to keep these shifting sentiments in mind, especially since many renters are likely to foreclose on properties that they don’t believe can meet their remote working needs. In areas with high rents, such as New York, rents have fallen dizzyingly. Investors in those major metropolitan areas, in particular, must adapt to meet these changing needs, or tenants will look for greener pastures with so many options available in the market.
Many younger workers have already taken advantage of remote work in the past year and moved out of those densely populated, high-rent cities, and it’s likely we’ll see even more people jumping on this migration trend. As the workforce in America adjusts to the new normal of working from home, investors can expect to look for living spaces with elements of the office.
In the past, it was all about the traditional apartment amenities for renters, such as access to a gym or swimming pool. Now tenants have shifted their priorities and are looking for spaces that fit their new work-from-home lifestyle. Tenants want specialized work-from-home features that make it easier to work remotely. To accommodate this, rather than traditional amenities, landlords need to make features like high-speed WiFi a staple in multi-family homes.
More drastic changes in building layout will likely be concentrated in larger subways, but even those in smaller cities in the US will want dedicated spaces for working from home. With properties located outside of major cities, there can be more flexibility in updating existing layouts to accommodate more remote workers. Investors in smaller metros would like to make these updates to remote working to take advantage of the wave of people moving out of major cities.
When investing in a home, consider the needs of the remote worker and implement design elements in your home that meet the needs of someone who works from home. These changes may include creating dedicated spaces in apartments for external work setups, which can be achieved by converting existing cabinets or extending a niche with space for a desk. Soundproofing can also be a huge bonus for renters who work from home in apartment complexes, providing more privacy when taking phone calls or virtual meetings at home. Another option is to convert common areas into soundproof calling rooms that can be pre-booked by tenants, but you want to clearly communicate the cleaning measures to your tenants. Including these benefits can help attract and retain tenants who work remotely, which is especially important as the number of remote workers in the US continues to rise.
As with most shifts in tenant demands, there is always give and take. Converting spaces and adding new amenities are expensive decisions, but these changes will determine your ability to attract and retain tenants going forward. As an investor, it’s important to focus on projects that are aligned with what tenants want now and what they want in 10 years to ensure these properties are attractive for many years to come.
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