As Millennials become increasingly important to the rental marketplace, many property owners find themselves scrambling to increase their appeal to the group. More so than their predecessors, Millennials prefer the flexibility of renting—which means they’ll be a dominant force in rentals for a long time to come. To make sure you’re equipped to appeal to this crucial market segment, we recommend you pay attention to these aspects of your rentals:
Research shows many Millennials place a premium on smarter living spaces, to the extent that over half would prefer to rent a smart-technology-equipped apartment with no parking space over a ‘dumb’ apartment with free parking. If you can provide app-activated smart locks, smart appliances, and related technologies, you’ll have a massive leg up on competing for rental spaces for many Millennials—it’s something that many consider a must-have within the decade, a new necessity that renters need to catch up on quickly.
This extends to other technological niceties such as charging stations for electric cars, too. Make sure you note these benefits in your marketing materials—it’s one thing to have the features, but you need to make sure Millennials considering renting from you know you have them.
Green and socially conscientious
Millennial renters play closer attention to how they impact the environment and their neighbors than other renters, which means they tend to value recycling, volunteering, and other social goods. Water conservation, efficient heating and cooling, easy recycling or composting, and similar endeavors are a good place to start—not only will many of these help attract Millennials to your rentals, they’ll help you cut costs in the long term and insulate you against regulatory changes for a while.
For visible benefits, you can leverage more easily in your appeals, think noticeable alternative energy such as solar panels, high-efficiency appliances, etc. You’ll also want to make a splash about eco-friendly efforts and other socially-conscious endeavors on social media and marketing materials.
Millennials prefer to communicate through texts and email to a far greater extent than older generations, which means any property owner attempting to rent to the demographic needs to be readily accessible through various mediums. If the only way for a Millennial renter to reach someone at your property is the phone, there’s a strong chance they simply won’t bother. You can stretch your reach even further if you respond promptly to inquiries on chat apps, social media sites, and other modern avenues of communication.
This doesn’t mean you have to communicate exclusively through new technology—you can always pick up a phone to get to the important details of a discussion. You just want to be accessible through new technology.
If you can build a sense of community, you’ll do a far better job attracting Millennials to your properties. Emphasize the amenities of the neighborhood in your advertising, host special events such as movie nights and parties, and build and maintain an active social networking presence. You want to create not just good individual living spaces to appeal to Millennials, but a good neighborhood with good people for them to live alongside.
As a general rule, try to stay authentic. It’s better to be honest and a bit less cool than try too hard and turn off Millennials who see through the charade. An apartment complex doesn’t need to be hip like a night club to appeal to Millennial renters—it just needs to be something more than a box to live in.
Millennials strongly prefer properties with robust online applications. This doesn’t just include smart-home tools as we’ve discussed before, but an effective website, online maintenance requests, online bill pay, etc. Your prospective Millennial renters expect to be able to handle rent and associated tasks the same way they handle everything else—online, perhaps even through an app on their phone.
Try to avoid charging extra for these benefits, as this can be a major turn-off for Millennials who consider such features a default service. The same rules apply to other tech-based conveniences; try to avoid charging extra to accept rent via credit if possible, for example.
Of course, not all Millennials will find the same set of features equally appealing--but by keeping these points in mind, you’ll become more generally appealing to the demographic. You may find that your efforts have a broader appeal than expected—Millennials may be more likely on average to appreciate these improvements to a property, but they’re far from being the only people who will. Expanding your appeal to Millennials doesn’t mean reducing it with other groups.