Top 10 Features and Amenities Renters in the Midwest Prioritize

plants in a living room
Renters everywhere are looking for more balance in their lives and in their homes. And renters in the Midwest are no exception, according to findings from the 2023 NMHC and Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report, a national report that includes responses from renters in 11 major Midwest markets.

The report highlights renters’ double-edged desire for both the latest bells and whistles and practical everyday features and amenities. The data paints a picture of Midwest renters focused on space, convenience, and lifestyle when choosing a rental home.

Understanding these preferences can make all the difference between a rental property that’s simply attractive and one that’s irresistible. Multifamily developers, owners, and operators must keep a finger on the pulse of renters’ wishes and wants. Knowing what they like, love, and can’t live without can provide a competitive edge, keeping your units occupied and communities thriving.

Top 10 Features Ranked

Air Conditioning (95 percent)

In-Unit washer and dryer (94 percent)

High-speed Internet Access (90 percent)

Dishwasher (89 percent)

Soundproof Walls (89 percent)

Walk-In Closet (87 percent)

Garbage Disposal (85 percent)

Pre-installed Window shades and blinds (83 percent)

Noise-reducing Windowpanes (81 percent)

Refrigerator with Water/Ice Dispenser (79 percent)

There was a time when air conditioning and a washer and dryer in the unit were nice-to-haves, especially in cooler Midwestern markets. Now, however, renters in the Midwest expect these features and place them at the very top of their list of life’s necessities. Renters expect to be comfortable year-round, and they expect to be able to do their laundry without a trip to the laundromat or scaling flights of stairs.

Similarly, renters in the Midwest now also want all the conveniences in the kitchen. Updated and upgraded kitchen appliances were considered essential by many of the survey respondents, with a dishwasher, garbage disposal, and refrigerator equipped with a water and ice dispenser ranking highly in this year’s features list. These ensure both everyday convenience and value-added convenience for entertaining and hosting.

High-speed internet is also a staple, made even more essential by things like a growing preference for streaming services, the adoption of smart home features, and a shift to more remote work. Some of the other highly desired features and amenities in the Midwest seem tailor-made for work-from-home lifestyles. Beyond high-speed internet access, Midwest renter respondents were very interested in soundproof walls and noise-reducing windowpanes—all of which ensure more privacy, more noise control, and more reliable home office setups so that those Zoom meetings can go off without a hitch.

Rounding out the list were walk-in closets and pre-installed window shades and blinds, both reflecting a desire for more efficient space and easier move-ins for greater satisfaction with the home from day one.

Top 10 Amenities Ranked

Reliable Cell Reception (87 percent)

Secure Self-Service 24/7 Package Access (77 percent)

Covered Parking (76 percent)

Controlled Property/Amenity Access (75 percent)

Fitness Center (74 percent)

Non-Smoking Buildings (73 percent)

Swimming Pool (73 percent)

Dedicated Visitor/Guest Parking (70 percent)

Controlled-Access Parking (70 percent)

Property-Wide Recycling (65 percent)

In the Midwest, ensuring reliable cell phone connectivity is a top priority for renters. Today’s renters expect and value the ability to use their devices seamlessly at all times—an essential amenity for personal safety, community engagement, and remote work.

These responses mirror what renters say nationally, further underscoring the importance of cell phone connectivity at home. In fact, data show that 46 percent of all renters responding to the survey said they checked cell phone connectivity when touring a property, suggesting it is an important factor when evaluating a property during a home search.

Midwest renters also value on-site amenities that can support their health and wellbeing. While Midwest renters showed a slightly lower level of interest in on-site swimming pools than the national average (76 percent), they have similarly strong interest in on-site fitness centers to accommodate their daily workout routines. In another indication that health is top of mind for Midwestern renters, non-smoking buildings were a popular amenity for 73 percent of respondents.

Secure and convenient parking options are one amenity that Midwest survey respondents are especially interested in. Covered parking, controlled access parking, and dedicated visitor parking are key considerations for renters in the region as they contend with colder winters and hot summers.

For property developers and managers, the message is clear: While advanced technology and luxury amenities may grab attention, satisfying renters’ cravings for everyday essentials is paramount. The key to success lies in listening to renters, understanding their needs, and tailoring features and amenities accordingly.

By focusing on features and amenities that are must-haves, it’s easier to create and maintain spaces that are appealing to renters, both short-term and long-term. This is not only important for bringing in new renters and getting them to sign on the lease’s dotted line; providing renters with everyday essentials can contribute to greater renter satisfaction and more successful retention.


Source: Top 10 Features and Amenities Renters in the Midwest Prioritize