Fitness Center for Your Rental Property: Worth the Investment?

© Provided by The Motley Fool Fitness Center for Your Rental Property: Worth the Investment?



a close up of some shoes: Fitness Center for Your Rental Property: Worth the Investment?


© Provided by The Motley Fool
Fitness Center for Your Rental Property: Worth the Investment?

If you’re wondering what amenities you can add to your rental property to attract more tenants or higher rents, you may have considered adding a fitness center. You’d be making would-be renters very happy if you did.

According to Rentcafe.com, 92% of new rental properties had an on-site fitness center in 2019. If you’re building a new apartment complex, you’ll likely want to avoid being in that other 8%. And if you’ve got an existing rental building, it’s time to think about adding a fitness center or upgrading what you currently have on site.

The draw of an on-site fitness center

Rentcafe.com surveyed 3,000 renters to get their opinion on on-site fitness centers. There were three main reasons tenants liked having a gym in their building: convenience, cost, and motivation.

Premium gyms can certainly be pricey — a single cycling class can command $30 in many places. So an on-site gym with a membership included in the rent will feel like a steal to most tenants — though for those hard-core workout warriors, you’ll need to provide a top-notch exercise experience.

How much will your fitness center cost?

Does your budget have some muscle to it? Because you can’t simply add a treadmill and some dumbbells and call it a day; your tenants can do that in their own units, after all. But you also don’t have to break ground on an Olympics-worthy training facility, either.

According to Club Industry, it costs between $30 and $80 per square foot to build a fitness center — but that doesn’t even include any equipment.

RentFitnessEquipment.com suggests the following breakdown of exercise equipment that landlords should consider, at minimum, for the size of their rental properties:

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Number of Units Minimum Equipment
  • 1 treadmill
  • Choice of 2 of the following: elliptical trainer, stationary bike, and rowing machine1 set of paired dumbbells ranging from 5 to 50 lbs
  • A workout bench
  • 100-200 units
  • 2 treadmills
  • 1 elliptical trainer
  • 1 stationary bike (recumbent or upright)
  • 1 rowing machine
  • 2 sets of paired dumbbells and 10 pairs of dumbbells ranging from 5 to 50 lbs
  • 2 workout benches
  • 200-400-plus units
  • 2 treadmills
  • 2 elliptical trainers
  • 1 stationary bike
  • 1 recumbent bike
  • 1 rowing machine
  • 2 sets of paired dumbbells and 10 pairs of dumbbells ranging from 5 to 50 lbs
  • 2 workout benches
  • Another thing to consider: If you have 10 or more people using the fitness center each day, it’s considered a commercial gym. That means you have to use commercial-grade equipment. It can take tens of thousands of dollars to outfit a gym for a large apartment complex, plus you have to factor in costs for regular maintenance and prompt repair — the faster, the better.

    There is good news, though. Just as people pay monthly membership fees to their gym, you can do the same for yours. There are companies that will rent equipment for a reasonable monthly rate — maintenance included — so you don’t have to overstretch your bottom line.

    Beef up your apartment complex’s value

    Rentcafe.com’s survey of 3,000 renters found that 47% were interested in on-site fitness centers. Moreover, 28% of renters would not consider an apartment with no gym on the premises. So a high-quality fitness center will no doubt bring value to your rentals and allow you to seek higher rents because of it.

    Maintenance is key for fitness centers in apartment complexes, as gym rats may take landlords to task when equipment is not in top shape. They could argue for a refund on rent, if it’s included. Of course, you could also make the fitness center an exclusive amenity and charge an add-on fee for access instead. It’s a good idea to run the comps on neighborhood gyms to ensure that you’re offering your tenants a good deal, though, or you’ll have some rather lonely exercise equipment.

    The bottom line

    While an on-site fitness center doesn’t have to resemble a pro training complex, it does need to offer plenty of well-maintained equipment for your tenants to get their sweat on. It’ll cost money to add one, but like any good workout regimen, it’ll pay off in the end.

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