In Suite Laundry Economics

Developer

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We are in the design stage of building an apartment building (32 units in downtown core of a medium size market) and are torn on whether to do shared laundry or go in-suite. Wondering if anybody has some insights on this? Thanks for the help!
 

TrevorW

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In suite laundry can add up to $100/ mo for rent, but can be a really challenge to properly vent the dryers for some units. Another bunch of appliances that you need to buy, maintain and replace as well. The washers are another source of potential water leaks and the vibrations of the dryer can be annoying to others in older buildings.

I have mulled over the same question before and always put in the w/ds, as they are important to the tenants I want to attract and the extra $$ in rent tend to average out favourably.

Buy stackable units instead of the combined w/d tower units, that way you can replace individual components as opposed to the whole tower unit.
 

Thomas Beyer

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A W/D conmbo is expected in newly built units, like your own bathroom. Units w/o a W/D are essentially unsellable or sell only at a steep discount.

Get up/down units with a small foot print, in a tiny room with good venting. Be aware of sufficient electric supplies (usually 220 V not 110) and of sufficient air outflow/venting.
 

Developer

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Thanks for your input Trevor and Thomas.

Thomas, it is a rental building and it will be a long term hold so we are more concerned if the extra rent you can charge is greater then the upfront cost and maintenance involved in having in suite laundry? Or is it more beneficial long term to do shared laundry with a company like Coinamatic?
 

Thomas Beyer

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Is there underground parking ? What is the target price point for the rental units, compared to a 35 year old woodframe ?

Assuming 25-35% higher then YES you must have in-suite W/D. It is expected. It costs you 20 sq ft of space plus an extra cable plus venting, plus the actual up/down W/D unit .. so maybe $4000 extra.
 

kfort

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Don't be scared to do a bit of soundproofing for it (even just a layer of sound damping drywall or roxul). If this is a long term hold, do it right unless you fancy higher turnover and more management costs (time or $). Waterproof tubs are easy to pop in below the set and are also cheap insurance.
 

Developer

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It is a heritage re-development with no parking. Most of us are for in-suite but a couple are against it so I appreciate all of the feedback and different perspectives.
 

Thomas Beyer

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Most of us ...

Development by committee ?

Why do I sense a disaster here ? Who is developing what ? Who runs it ? Who makes decisions ? Who puts up the money ? How much is borrowed ? Who puts up personal guarantees for mortgages ? What is the refi plan once fully leased ? How long did you budget for that ? What is the demand ? Are you aware of the enormous risk of heritage re-developments ? The W/D issues are the least of your problems most likely, right behind what colour for the grout you will use.
 

Developer

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"Most of us" - poor choice of words. Just 1 of 3 is against going in-suite. We run a general contracting construction company and have done a couple heritage re-developments for other developers (1 condo project with in-suite laundry and 1 rental project with shared laundry) and 1 ourselves (rental with shared laundry) but this project has larger suites with the room for in-suite laundry so we will likely do it. Definitely a small issue but wanted to get some other perspectives. Thanks for all the help!
 

Thomas Beyer

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Good to hear.

Ensure your financing and lease-up strategy is impeccable and allows room for cost overruns or slower leasing than budgeted. A big step from a GC to a developer as you need financing AND leasing experts on your expanded team !
 
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Matt Crowley

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Just to comment a bit further... W/D value is very area dependent. It will not always translate into higher rent. Sometimes it will just mean lower vacancy. In a downturn, a better product will suffer less (has a second bathroom, in suite W/D). Vacancies are more concentrated on units without upgrades...but it is very, very relative to the area in town. A good location is worth inconvenience. This is why companies like Boardwalk, Westcorp, and Mainstreet have not shelled out millions to renovate their Edmonton buildings to have unit W/D. Many excellent locations and the ROI isn't there to install unit W/D.

A really solid understanding of market supply and demand is really key to answer this question, along with some understanding of market absorption. All this is to really pin down a dollar value for a W/D unit. As a GC you will know the cost side but a lot of retrofits don't actually pay off. The take out is a really critical part of the question as well.
 

Shar0n

Frequent Forum Member
REIN Member
If the rental units in a building are later converted into condos, having shared laundry can negatively affect the ability to sell them. This can affect the sale price. With that being said, shared laundry on each floor is at least better than laundry in the basement when selling. Your plans for the building may change in 10 or more years.
 
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