So why this article? Recently, I had the great pleasure of chatting with a good friend of mine who works for a very large property management company. He works with the residential rental portfolio that consists of several thousands of rental units and great number of apartment buildings. His job involves analyzing the portfolio and the buildings within the portfolio. In his work he is looking for indicators that impact profitability and that includes apartment turnover, the amount of revenue generated by buildings, the costs of maintaining, upgrading of units etc.. How utterly boring you might think? At least I thought so until he told me about a fascinating little fact about the turnover of apartments within apartment buildings.
Because he has all of the data in relation to an apartment building and the individual units, my friend was able to review a number of data sets--which included the date of rental, the length of a tenancy, the amount of rent charged, the costs of maintenance to a unit, legal costs in relation to a tenancy. He took this data and then correlated those data sets to the exposure (North, East, South, West) of the rental units within the apartment buildings. The results of this analysis are quite fascinating. For the buildings to which he applied the analysis he found that the "sun" side of the building--where the windows and balconies of individual apartments got morning sun to early early afternoon sun--the rents were higher, the tenancies longer, and the costs to maintain the units was lower. Complaints from the sunny side of the building were lower and the time to rent a vacant unit was lower. These findings were apparent in the numbers over several years and over many buildings.
My friend's analysis of tenant turnover based on a unit's exposure to sun was quite fascinating to me as I immediately thought what an incredibly useful fact this is in the course of deciding what apartment to rent. How many people when renting an apartment or house consider the exposure to the sun in deciding which unit to rent? If, when renting, there are choices amongst vacant units then it would be worthwhile to consider how the sun tracks over the rental unit and the rental unit's windows.
Does considering how the sun moves mean you have to hang out at the building all day long? Of course not! In the days when there is an app for everything there is a handy website at www.suncalc.net that allows you to enter a specific address and then it maps the track of the sun over that address. This is a handy tool to use. What you need to do though, to make use of what it shows, is orient the vacant rental unit that you are considering renting within the building so that the sun tracking data is useful to you.
I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has done this or who has moved based on sun exposure to hear of your anecdotal stories and experiences.
Michael K. E. Thiele