As of February 2016, the average apartment rent within a 10 mile radius of Charleston, SC hit $1526. That number gets quite a bit higher for detached homes and specific neighborhoods and location.

If you are a landlord and are thinking of increasing your rental portfolio, look at location. You can’t change the location of your existing properties, but you should research which areas are hot in both the rental and selling markets. Buyers and renters want to be located near shopping, work, good schools, beach and entertainment options.

Tenants also look for optimal storage. I hear this all of the time for both renters and buyers. There is never enough storage options here in the Charleston area. One reason is there are no basements! Some homes don’t have garages either. The “carport” was the popular option for homes here back in the 60’s and many homes still have them. Not much storage there! Adding  more storage, even at the cost of some space in the bedroom or main living area, can make a home seem more appealing.

Updating the kitchen can greatly improve the appeal of a rental home too, and may even allow you to charge a bit more for rent. Upgraded appliances, more lighting and modern cabinetry will make your rental unit truly shine. If the kitchen doesn’t already have a dishwasher or garbage disposal, then 2016 is the year to add these features, as they are almost considered a necessity in the modern kitchen. When making changes to the kitchen, don’t just go for the cosmetic tweaks. Try to do some changes that will improve the function of the space as well. People are spending more and more time in their kitchens, so the better it is, the more attractive the home.

Everyone wants hardwood floors! Carpet is a breeding ground for dust mites and other allergens. New flooring is almost always a part of an update, but consider upgrading from carpet and going for hardwood. Hardwood flooring is a durable option that is considered fairly timeless, and it will also help those who are nervous about prior tenant’s dirt and grime feel more confident in renting your unit. As a bonus, hardwood floors are much easier to clean than carpets.

Open floor plans is another desirable feature that tenants look for. Older properties may have clearly defined living rooms, dining areas and kitchens. This is no longer the preferred model for properties. Whether apartments or homes, properties with open designs are more appealing. If you are renovating, consider knocking down some walls to open the living area so that it flows from one space to the next. This will also help a small space, like an apartment, feel larger and can allow your tenants to have one area that serves multiple functions.

There is a lot of competition out there for rental properties. Keeping in mind some of the features that tenants desire may set your rental property at a higher level than the others.