July COVID-19 Market Update

Another month, another normal, another way we can adapt to the new rental market landscape. 

While it seems like moves from layoffs and to be closer to family have leveled off, this month we saw a lot of moves from tenants who realize their work environment will continue to be their own couch for the near future. 

Make small outdoor spaces to keep tenants happy during these hard times.

Therefore, tenants seek larger apartments to accommodate a work space.  I am seeing a lot of movement from tenants who are looking to move out of a roommate situation and into a one-bedroom apartment of their own.  Even though they are looking for one-bedrooms, they are still looking for additional space that can be used as a work area.  Couples, who are currently in one-bedroom apartments, are now looking for two bedrooms as they are tiring of timing Zoom meetings around each other’s schedules and are looking for an office space.  Enter the ZOOM ROOM!

During these times, it will be important to adjust your advertising to meet new demands, attract interest to fill vacancies quickly, and maximize rents even amidst a fall. 

  • While tenants are cooped up more, they are looking to bring the outside in.  If your apartment has great natural light, take a photo of it during the optimal time of day to highlight this feature.
  • Tenants are cooking and baking at home more, so highlight features that make your unit’s kitchen stand out.  Does it have a gas stove which tenants prefer?  An open floor plan to other parts of the apartment?  A dining area?  Tons of storage?  Abundant counterspace? These are all features that will set your unit apart from the competition. 
  • In-Unit laundry is a plus for tenants now more than ever as they try to limit their exposure to other residents and the public.  If your apartment doesn’t have this already, install small stackable or combo units if you can.
  • As tenants work from home, they are also looking for more quiet apartments.  If your vacancy is on a quiet street, or perhaps on a busy street but at the back of the building away from the noise, highlight this in your ad.   Also, look for small alcoves, large walk-in closets or other areas you can call an “office” or “work area.”    
  • Highlight outdoor spaces.  Outdoor spaces whether it’s a common area, balcony, or private patio are in high demand right now, as tenants spend more time at home and seek outdoor space nearby to catch some sunshine and fresh air.  If you don’t have an outdoor space to offer, clean up a neglected alley or backyard area no matter how small.  Just give tenants something pretty to look at or a small space to sit outside.  Make sure you do not block paths for Recology, or emergency egress routes. 
  • While neighborhoods aren’t currently what they once were, highlight the convenience of services and restaurants that are still open for take-out, quick delivery or curbside pick-up.  This may put your apartment heads above one where tenants have to drive or bike just to pick up food or an essential need. 
  • As MUNI cuts routes and concerned tenants would rather not be in close proximity to other passengers, or are just looking for some exercise, bikes are predicted to become a popular form of transportation.  Bike storage will become more important to tenants.  If you have it, let them know.  If you don’t, try to find a space in an unused area of the building, or maybe even the laundry room. Vertical bike racks that attach to a wall take up a relatively small amount of space. 
  • Where’s the party? Highlight any neighborhood gatherings that take place regularly.  On a certain block of Coleridge Street in Bernal Heights, neighbors gather on the sidewalk and street while their neighbors perform concerts from their front porch or driveway.  On Tiffany Ave, everyday at noon, work-from-homers and their kiddos take to the street for a dance party.  Find your building’s neighborhood celebration and make prospective tenants want to be a part of it.    

Most of all, don’t get frustrated.  We have been through these hard times before and for our own sanity is important to remember that all landlords are having the same experiences.  We will recover and eventually return to seeing the gains that owning property in a destination city such as San Francisco draw.


Natalie M. Drees, Broker’s License #01363493


Lingsch Realty, DRE #02104503

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