CategoriesProperty Management

12 In-Demand Home Features That’ll Delight Your Tenants

home features

Tennessee’s rental vacancy rate is currently 6.7%, higher than the national average. Competition is fierce among rental communities and landlords, but you can ensure you stand out with the most in-demand home features.

Including popular rooms, building materials, amenities, and tech won’t just impact your vacancy rates, though. You’ll also profit in the short term with higher rents and in the long term via an increased resale value.

Figuring out the features your tenants want doesn’t have to be brain science, either. Leading industry organizations like the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) publish annual reports on this subject.

We rounded up some of the top characteristics buyers and renters are looking for in homes and curated a list in this guide. Read on to learn 12 ways to set your rental unit apart from the local competition.

1. A Dedicated Laundry Room

A dedicated laundry room or mud room is at the top of many peoples’ wish lists this year. These rooms are essential for hiding dirty laundry piles and stacks of clean clothes when guests come over.

Laundry rooms can be pricey to add on, especially if there’s plumbing or electrical wiring involved. But if you also have a basement needing refinishing (another in-demand home feature), that’s the perfect place to add one.

Other optimal places to add laundry rooms are off the kitchen or near bedrooms. Include horizontal space for folding and ironing, as well as ample storage room, and watch your vacancy rates drop.

2. Energy-Efficient Amenities

With rising rents, tenants are looking to cut costs wherever they can. Energy-efficient home amenities like ceiling fans, windows, appliances, and lighting can help them do just that.

Ceiling Fans

If you are looking for a simple and affordable way to include in-demand home features, the humble ceiling fan is it. Ceiling fans can cost as little as $500 to install but equate to major savings for tenants.

Energy-efficient ceiling fans, in particular, can save countless dollars on cooling costs during Nashville’s hot summers. estimates that tenants can raise the thermostat four degrees with a ceiling fan running.


High-quality windows are a must for modern rentals. Windows certified by Energy Star feature multiple panes of glass for optimal safety, as well as a glass coating to block heat and cold from seeping in or out.

Energy Star-certified windows also have vacuum-sealed spaces inside, which contain air or an inert gas. This technology can further protect the home from drafts in the winter and cool air from escaping the home in the summer.


Another more affordable way to give your tenants the energy-efficient units they are hunting for is with new appliances. Energy Star certifies a wide array of appliances, including washers and dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators.

With these appliances, your tenants will enjoy lower energy bills and reduced water usage, appealing to both cost-conscious and environmentally-friendly tenants.


Energy-efficient lighting won’t just save your tenants money on their light bill. It can also save you money, especially if you offer complimentary light bulb replacement services.

LED bulbs with the Energy Star stamp of approval last significantly longer than traditional lighting. Replace the unit’s most-used incandescent bulbs with LEDs, and you and your tenants can benefit.

3. A Separate Dining Room

The majority of homeowners and renters may still prefer an open-concept kitchen and family room, but more and more are also looking for properties with separate dining rooms.

Also known as a formal dining room, a dedicated space for hosting guests or holiday gatherings provides a special place for sharing a meal.

This is one of the more expensive projects on our list. But a unit with a flex room, especially if it’s off the kitchen or informal dining area, is well suited to this in-demand feature.

4. A Walk-In Pantry

Does your unit have a dedicated space for tenants to store their dry goods? If not, a pantry space is a must. Bonus points if you can make room for a walk-in pantry, a leading kitchen feature on many tenants’ wish lists.

Kitchen cabinetry could double as a pantry, depending on how much dishware a tenant has. But tenants with families need that extra storage space, leaving dry goods exposed to pests, bacteria, and greedy little hands.

Walk-in pantries are the gold standard for kitchen food storage. They offer ample space for large quantities of non-perishables, which is especially suited to tenants who shop in bulk.

5. Hardwood Floors

The hardwood vs. carpet debate in the bedroom rages on, but if there’s one thing tenants and homeowners can agree on, it’s that hardwood floors are a must in high-traffic areas.

Hardwood requires less maintenance and upkeep than carpet. For many tenants, this type of flooring also offers a more modern, aesthetically pleasing look that won’t be out of place with their personal items.

Landlords can also benefit from replacing laminate, carpet, and other flooring with hardwood. Hardwood is extremely durable. In many cases, it can last a lifetime with proper care and periodical refinishing.

6. Outdoor Living Space

With today’s modern renters, having a yard or garden is no longer good enough. Tenants are searching for homes with outdoor spaces that can double as living areas.

For lower-rent units, a fenced-in backyard feels luxurious. The higher the rent, the more an outdoor living space should include. Think outdoor kitchens, built-in fireplaces, and wooden decks.

Here are some other popular must-haves to consider in an outdoor living space.

Include Ample Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting may seem like the cherry on top, but it’s actually becoming essential for today’s tenants and homeowners. And the good news is that this is yet another affordable way to give renters what they want.

An added benefit of exterior lighting is increased safety. Think about installing motion sensor lighting to alert your tenants about movement outside, and you’ll protect your renters and your livelihood.

Consider Adding a Patio

The second most desirable outdoor feature tenants crave is a patio. After all, how better to enjoy a backyard space than somewhere tenants can enjoy their outdoor space and host guests?

As long as your unit has a backyard space already, adding a concrete patio can be relatively affordable. Concrete patios are also easy to maintain and incredibly durable, making this an excellent long-term investment.

7. Walk-In Closets

Walk-in closets, especially in the master bedroom, are a non-negotiable for many renters these days. If your unit only has one bedroom, a walk-in closet is even more crucial to accommodate couples.

Expanding a closet can be challenging if you don’t want to lose square footage elsewhere in the unit. In that case, transforming an adjacent flex room or spare bedroom may be worthwhile.

Units that absolutely can’t accommodate a walk-in closet in the master bedroom can still be updated for modern tenants. Consider adding a built-in or closet organization system to offer the illusion of additional space.

8. Solar Panels

Only 0.16% of Nashville homes have solar panel systems, one of the lowest rates in the country. Adding solar panels may be the best thing you can do to truly set your rental unit apart from local competitors.

Renters are willing to pay big bucks for rentals with solar panels. They can access significant savings on energy. Plus, they may have access to solar payouts, depending on how you set up the rental agreement.

Installing a solar panel system can also benefit you. Solar panels can increase the value of a home, make your unit a better sell to environmentally conscious renters, and get you access to federal and state solar tax incentives. Plus, these systems are surprisingly simple to maintain.

9. Functional Built-Ins

Built-ins are furniture-like or storage-oriented items permanently attached to a unit’s interior. They can take the form of bookshelves, display cases, benches, entertainment units, and closet systems.

These functional solutions became popular in the early 1900s, but they are still in vogue today. They are particularly suited to smaller units because they don’t take up horizontal space, offering storage without compromising room.

Decorative built-ins have their place, but functional systems are even more desirable. And the best part is that this feature is incredibly easy and affordable to install.

10. Smart Home Tech

Smart homes are the future. You can make your tenants feel like they’re living it by offering smart technology designed for ultimate convenience, safety, and connectivity.

A SmartRent study recently investigated the most in-demand smart home features in the US. Thermostats, lighting systems, leak-detection systems, and smart access tech are some of the top ones.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats are desirable across the nation, but they are the number one smart tech Tennessee homeowners and renters want.

These thermostats allow residents to control their heating and cooling systems remotely. There are countless benefits to smart thermostats, including lower energy costs.

Smart Lighting Systems

Smart lighting systems are another highly desirable piece of smart home tech. They work with smart bulbs that hook up to a convenient app on the tenant’s phone.

Renters can automate lighting systems or control them from afar. Imagine how much your tenants will enjoy turning on the heat during their drive home from work on cold winter days.

Leak-Detection Devices

The weather is increasingly unpredictable. Renters and homeowners are searching for better ways to protect their belongings. And you are likely looking for ideas to safeguard your investment.

Leak-detection devices can help achieve both of these goals. These devices alert you and your tenants when a leak is detected, preventing costly water damage.

Smart Access Technology

Another highly desirable piece of smart home tech among people in Tennessee is a smart access or smart community access system. These systems do not require keys, cards, or keypads. Instead, they open via an app or biometric scan.

Smart access technology can make renters feel more safe. They can also prevent break-ins, protecting your tenants and your portfolio.

11. Outdoor Outlets

With outdoor living spaces being so popular, it should be no wonder that exterior outlets are high on tenants’ wishlists, too. Outdoor outlets provide power for electric tools, non-wired lighting, and even phone chargers.

If your unit has an outdoor living space, this feature is a must. And while outlets won’t significantly increase the value of your property, they will offer a convenience prospective tenants will be vying for.

You must ensure you follow all guidelines when installing outlets outside. The US National Electrical Code requires ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets for outdoor spaces to reduce the risk of electrical hazards.

12. Heated Floors

There is a common misconception that heated floors can only be installed during construction. In truth, it is perfectly possible to retrofit heated floors in an existing home or unit.

Heated flooring offers an incredibly luxurious feel to a home without the luxury price tag. Plus, radiant heating is a more efficient choice for heating spaces.

In the Garage

The home is not the only place to consider heated flooring. Heated garages are also top of renters’ minds. What better way to offer this amenity than with heated garage floors?

Warmth in the garage makes it easier for cars to start and tenants to work or do hobbies. It prevents drafts from seeping into the home. And if you want to renovate the garage later down the line, you’ll already have heating.

Beneath the Driveway

Tennessee may not get much snow, but when we do, many renters don’t know what to do with it. A heated driveway offers the ultimate luxury during winter storms- it will melt the snow away with no effort on the tenant’s part.

This home feature may not be for everyone. But if you are looking for a way to differentiate your luxury property, a heated driveway may be just the thing.

These Are the Most In-Demand Home Features

These 12 home features are crucial to marketing your properties for top dollar. They will save you and your tenants money, resulting in more satisfied renters, lower vacancy rates, and higher profit margins.

Want more tips and advice to maximize profits from your real estate portfolio? Reedy and Company is an award-winning Nashville property management firm with expertise in finding landlords the best tenants.

Contact Reedy and Company to learn more about our property management services.