Illinois Residential Real Estate Improvements Developers Should Consider

By: | November 10th, 2023

Photo by Jan Weber on Unsplash

The Illinois population is declining: between 2021 and 2022, the state lost over 100,000 residents, which is the third-highest population loss in the country. Less residents means greater competition between those providing residential rentals, which means you need to use every advantage possible to secure tenants and ensure that you’ll have a steady rental income.

Once you’ve secured DSCR loans in Illinois to finance your investment and are ready to develop the property for tenants, it’s time to think about how to boost your profit margin through well-considered improvements. These are some of the best options for helping your rental property stand out amongst a sea of worthy options.

Solar Panels

Environmental consciousness is everywhere: even renters want to feel that they are having a tangible impact on the environment and helping to reduce their carbon footprint. They also want to reduce their utilities if you are not including them, so providing them with the infrastructure to be more eco-friendly will demonstrate that you care about the climate and their pocketbooks.

Solar panels are one of the best methods for private residences to save money and the environment at the same time. They are easy to install and can generate enough energy to significantly reduce a property’s dependence on natural gas-powered electricity.

Thankfully, Illinois has a variety of solar power subsidies for both homeowners and businesses to take advantage of, which will further reduce the cost and help you attract tenants. 


If you are purchasing single-family properties or building an apartment complex, your tenants expect to have somewhere comfortable to enjoy themselves, and hardscaping is an excellent option for this. While it may be a significant upfront investment, it will reduce your need for landscaping, and it is sturdy enough to withstand years of rough treatment by tenants, so you don’t need to worry about constantly repairing it.

Paver stones are an attractive option, making a backyard space feel less like a parking lot and more like a patio. Tenants can then accent this with their own lawn furniture or potted plants to create their own oasis without adding any permanent structures. 

In-House Washer and Dryer

Many tenants dread the weekly trip to the laundromat, toting all their clothes with them and spending hours sitting around for their garments to be cleaned. You can alleviate this burden – and create a great selling point for your property – by including a washer and dryer in the unit or in a communal basement. Many tenants are willing to pay more for this convenience, as it can save them a great deal of time and energy when they’re already working to make ends meet. 

If you have a more high-end luxury rental, you may consider adding this as a complimentary service; it’s not necessary to buy the highest end model, either, as long as the appliance gets the job done with little hassle. You can also choose to install a coin-operated washer and dryer if you’re concerned about tenants potentially damaging the units. 

Dedicated Parking

There is little more agitating than spending hours circling a lot to find a space, and it is doubly so when you’re trying to park in front of your own home. Whether you have a single-family home or an apartment complex, providing adequate parking will provide ease and convenience, which is a major selling point. 

It can be challenging to get this space in larger metropolitan areas, so you may consider buying an adjacent lot or, if you are building the complex, having a parking lot built underneath the building. You should also ensure that you have enough parking for any potential guests that is clearly demarcated and controlled. Charging a monthly fee or building this into your rent will help offset the costs of maintaining and securing the lot.

Security Features

Illinois is pretty hit or miss regarding safety. Chicago is well-known for having a high crime rate, but even smaller suburbs or rural towns can still have issues with break-ins and burglaries. Just like homeowners, tenants are concerned for their safety and want to ensure that their families are protected from any potential dangers.

Because you would need to revoke access to any old tenants who leave, newer systems like Ring and Nest cameras may not be of great use, but commercial alarm systems like ADT can be incredibly useful as they are built for your needs. However, even more basic and inexpensive options can reassure residents. Don’t use glass entry doors, as they can be easily broken by a burglar; instead, choose a heavy door with a peephole. Always have at least two doors between a resident’s unit and the outside, and use a pin pad or swipe system for elevators so that it is more difficult for an intruder to move between floors. For larger apartment complexes, a doorman or security guard is a major selling point, especially in big cities.

With Illinois’s dwindling population, you need to be extra alert to the needs of your tenants, as responsiveness and amenities can be the difference between having steady income and struggling to find occupants. These features, while a major upfront investment, will make your property far more attractive to those seeking to make a home. 


More articles from Industry Tap...