Appealing To Millennial Renters Who Wish To Remain Child-Free And Mortgage-Free
If you own or manage rental properties, your ideal tenant is likely a young, gainfully employed person who plans to rent long-term. Luckily for you, this dream occupant comprises one of the largest renting demographics: millennials. According to Pew Research Center, 74% of them are renters. And given that the same study states that they’re also less likely than other age groups to move once they’ve found an ideal rental space, marketing your properties to millennials is a great way to attract reliable, long-term tenants.
Most millennials view homeownership as a risk they’d prefer to avoid. Many have amassed stifling levels of student loan debt and, having come of age during the 2007-2009 credit crisis, are more cautious about investments. This is good news, but it also means that appealing to this market requires a nuanced marketing strategy. Here are five guidelines:
1. Become Tech Savvy
You need an online strategy that includes not only websites like Craigslist, but also top rental sites and social media platforms. The importance of the latter cannot be overstated: Over 76 million millennials in the U.S. are on social media.
Be sure to include numerous high-quality photographs (preferably professional) with your listing. Write-ups should be thorough. Applicants should be able to apply online and easily ask questions.
In addition to offering prospective tenants a seamless online experience, be prepared to upgrade the technology available to current residents. Wi-Fi is a must, and such things as USB-equipped wall plates or keyless entry have great appeal.
2. Go Eco-Friendly
According to research by Nielsen, millennials care deeply about and allow their purchase decisions to be influenced by a company’s environmental focus. For property owners, that means it is best to use digital statements, communications and marketing. Energy efficiency should also be top of mind. Install solar panels to curb electricity costs, and switch to Energy Star appliances, energy-efficient lights and self-regulating thermostats.
Building materials are equally important, and the use of paints and construction materials with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will be viewed favorably. If your property is close to public transportation and can thus reduce driving and carbon emissions, say so. It’s also worth mentioning if your corner of the city or town features bike-sharing programs, bike lanes or walking trails.
3. Allow Pets
While properties have had the luxury of restricting pets in the past, shifting priorities among younger generations have made it a real handicap to ban animals. Millennials may not want to own houses or cars or become parents, but they are the largest demographic of pet owners.
Therefore, it’s wise to adopt a lax pet policy and ensure that whenever opportunities arise to reassess furnishings or to renovate, pet-friendly materials are chosen. Certain flooring and fabric options tolerate pet accidents better than others, and choosing those will likely prove more lucrative than preventing renters from cohabitating with their furry family members.
4. Promote Neighborhood And Lifestyle
Location is everything, and when you’re describing yours, it’s imperative to think through the elements of your neighborhood and the lifestyle they beget. If you’re in the city, highlight walkability and access to co-working spaces, nightclubs, breweries, parks or other places where young professionals will likely congregate. Likewise, if your rental is outside of the city, advertise it as a quiet retreat that’s close to nature, where residents can decompress.
Make a list of everything your area offers that could interest people in their 20s and 30s, and include them in the descriptions of your property. This demographic is very interested in their proximity to work and their options for play, so focus should be placed on those neighborhood conveniences rather than school districts or safety.
5. Offer Better Amenities
It’s time to assess what conveniences you are offering to tenants. Installing a washer and dryer can often be the best and easiest way to add value to your property. Parking (especially of the off-street variety) is another priority for most tenants. If you own older buildings, you’re likely competing with newer rental properties that offer glitzy amenities like gyms, pet spas, swimming pools or room service. Ensure that you’re competing to the best of your ability by offering as much as your checkbook and your property can reasonably accommodate. Older buildings typically benefit from having larger units than newer construction. Coupling that space with a handful of alluring amenities positions properties to go head to head with the newer, luxury-branded options that are emerging across the country.
Community spaces are also really important for young professionals, especially unmarried individuals who are seeking opportunities to meet new people and congregate with friends. Having built-in communal areas like shared decks, lounges or gardens can make a huge difference with millennials. Perhaps your property could accommodate a fire pit, a grill or a garden. Or, if you’re lacking outdoor space, consider transforming an unused room into a game room, fitness center, library or kids’ playroom.
Whatever you decide, remember that millennials are longer-term tenants who expect their apartments to offer all the comforts of home (if not more). While all of these suggestions aren’t going to apply to every millennial applicant, and many might not be cost-effective options for you, every landlord and property manager needs to be thinking about how to maximize their properties’ assets in the context of these millennial-friendly features.