Am writing this from the airport in Sacto, waiting to head back to LA to see Lucy and K-Man and then get back to work.
Spent a lot of time today touring a very large apartment complex for some clients interested in buying it. We did a very thorough walk-through, which will, I think, result in a strong project plan.
We also spent some time “ghost shopping” competitive apartment complexes in the area, which was amazing and depressing at the same time.
It turns out that our normal routine in LA is over-kill here. You don’t need to do “Dwell-light”. Instead, you need to be 10-15% better than competitive properties. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the people who live in them, besting the competitive properties isn’t that hard. We saw:
- Lots of awful carpeting
- All-electric appliances (even stoves)
- Horrible vinyl counter-tops
- Blah linoleum flooring
- Hollow-core doors
- Weird color choices
- Cheap lighting
- Cheap window coverings
- Lack of landscaping
- Bad signage / marketing
Sadly, I could go on.
The odd thing is that improving these properties wouldn’t be that expensive. It’s not like paint companies charge that much more for a nice Egg-Shell than they do for Swiss Coffee (ouch). You can get perfectly acceptable linoleum for just a bit more than horrific linoleum. Landscaping is cheap and makes a huge difference.
I know these things don’t sound like a big deal, but, taken together, a lot of good choices compound to give you the overall sense that an apartment was designed by someone who actually wanted the tenants to like it.