Kitchen and bathroom upgrades high on “Joy Score” for tenants

Multifamily unit improvements add value for all stakeholders

Evanston, Illinois

GNP’s construction arm began making core improvements to a 27-unit apartment building (managed by GNP) in Evanston in early 2023 to modernize the units—giving the apartments a fresh look and feel. The primary improvements include upgrades to the kitchen and bathrooms.

As part of a 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, a joint study from the National Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, NAR calculated a “Joy Score” for each project based on the happiness homeowners reported with their renovations. “Kitchen upgrade” ranked 9.8 out of 10, and “bathroom renovation” ranked 9.6 out of 10.

While the occupants of the Evanston apartments are not owners, we’re getting good feedback about the changes. Other improvements to the property include exterior lighting, landscaping, security and lobby enhancements and new amenities, e.g., a package room.

Beyond making our tenants “joyful” about the improvements to their living space, the upgrades add value for the owners and investors. In conjunction with the unit upgrades, rents are increasing to the current market value. Our primary obligation is to the owner—helping grow the value of their asset. When we can do that and simultaneously bring joy to the building’s occupants, it’s a win-win for our team.

GNP’s expertise and experience in property development and management enable us to make smart choices about the improvements (and design choices) that will add the most value. We avoid “trendy” design options. While tenants may love the look for a few years, such designs quickly become dated in appearance, diminishing the value for the owner for leasing or sales. Instead, we adhere to a classic design philosophy. Using our in-house design team for 90% of this project, we’ve opted for a classic and sophisticated style that should look good in ten years. For the NAR/NARI Remodeling Report, REALTORS® provided an estimate of the likely dollar value each project would add to a home/unit at resale. In comparing that dollar value to the estimated cost of each project provided by NARI members, a “recovered project cost percentage” was calculated. The report project that 75% of a kitchen remodel cost can be recovered and 71% for bathroom renovations.