Imagine you had a crystal ball and could get a detailed list of the most important features and amenities college students look for in housing today. How would that impact your marketing strategy? Would it change the way you plan future property upgrades? Could that knowledge shape your investment goals?

We don’t have a crystal ball, but a brief look at what developers are calling a “world-class experience for students” may give you some insight. University Park exudes luxury at every turn, from the resort-style pool with ample green-space lounging area to fire pits and study hammocks. The Boca Raton, Florida project is a massive 279,000+ square-foot off-campus housing community, intentionally designed and built to deliver a five-star resort-eques atmosphere.

Naturally, not all students are looking for luxury accommodations. Nor do they have the budget to live in a well-appointed property like University Park. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a similar wish list.

Check out this partial list of the amenities and services available with a standard lease. Then, look for ways to modify your property – or showcase features you already have – to attract qualified students looking for something beyond a slightly larger version of the four-in-a-room dormitory.

  1. Covered barbecue grills
  2. Community wide 1GB wireless access
  3. Secure indoor bike storage
  4. Limited access entrance gates
  5. On-site management and maintenance teams
  6. Valet waste pick-up and disposal
  7. Fully furnished apartments – 2-,3- and 4-bedroom homes to accommodate multiple roommates or married couples
  8. Energy efficient appliances
  9. In-unit laundry
  10. Private bathrooms
  11. Flat screen TV’s
  12. Modern kitchen design and furnishings
  13. State-of-the-art 24-hour fitness center
  14. Clubhouse/Student lounge
  15. Cross-fit room and yoga studio
  16. Computer lab
  17. Conference and study lounges
  18. On-property retail outlet selling snacks, beverages, basic sundries, and both fresh and frozen food items
  19. Hi-tech gaming salons
  20. Free transportation to and from campus

Building a Reputation as a Five-Star Off-Campus Housing Solution

There are few things on the above list that many property managers probably can’t see a way to include in their standard offerings. For example, mixed use properties are all the rage, but your property may not be zoned for residential/commercial buildings. In that situation, instead of converting a portion of your lowest floor into a mini-market, you may be able to arrange for discounts with local merchants within walking distance of your property or the campus.

University Park negotiated transportation services with a private company. This strategy eliminates huge financial burdens associated with insurance and onerous regulations. To find out if shuttle service is a viable option for your property, contact local transportation services, taxi companies and bus lines.

The next best thing to on-site managers and maintenance teams is 24-hour access for emergencies. Tenant portals provide a reliable connection between your residents, owners and staff so you’re always just a few clicks away. Remember to train your staff and educate all stakeholders on what constitutes an emergency.

With a bit of brainstorming and ingenuity, you may be able to carve out designated spaces for a yoga studio or computer lab on your property. Adding valet waste service isn’t as difficult as you might think – and it may even save your grounds crew time cleaning up around the dumpsters and parking lots. Adding a fire-pit or installing a few comfy hammocks that encourage socializing could be just what college students in your area are seeking.

Building your reputation as the place to rent is an intentional process. If you missed the recent webinar on ways to stand out from the crowd, you can still access the video and slides. After you watch the video, you’ll be able to apply strategies to help you build your reputation among area college students more effectively, without investing a few million dollars on luxury amenities.