Not all Millennials grew up focusing on the American Dream of homeownership that Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers did. They grew up in an economy that was associated with a housing market collapse, increased housing costs, and growing income disparity. In addition, Millennials face several barriers when it comes to home ownership, including affordability, student loan debt, credit deficiency, and lack of down payment. Many Millennials are also delaying or bypassing marriage and children, feeling less reason to pursue home ownership and choosing to remain in low-stress rentals instead.
As a property owner, you will want to understand and market to this population! Putting out a traditional "for rent" sign will not cut it with this group. You must adapt to their communication style and highlight what is important to them. Check out these tips to attract the Millennial market to your rental properties.
- Market Online – Most of us know that Millennials tend to be a tech-savvy group. When looking for a new place to live, they will go online to find availability, amenities, and price. Make your property available on as many lists as possible. Not only is it critical to have a website, but also social media pages dedicated to your property. Consider posting virtual tours and pictures online. Millennials do their research, so make sure you are included in it!
- Text Inquiries – It’s plain and simple; people do not make calls like in the past. Make sure your listing has a text-to-inquire option as well as email.
- Convenient Rent Collection – When you think about Millennials, the phrase “instant gratification” might come to mind. This group has grown up with smartphones that can give them just about anything with a tap on the screen. Only offering the ability to pay rent via check will seem archaic. Embrace modern payment systems such as Venmo and Apple Pay. If you have a property management company, confirm they are using a renter-friendly system, such as Buildium (there are many others!), that can help streamline tasks like rent payments and maintenance requests through an online dashboard.
- Laundry – Speaking of easy payment systems, if you are not offering in-unit laundry, lessen the inconvenience of scrounging up quarters to do laundry with card-equipped machines.
- Location Focus – Make sure you highlight any trendy restaurants, bars, or businesses conveniently located nearby. If there are any major employers in the area, focus on that as well. Inquire if you can get on any relocation guides that these employers give out.
- Animal Friendly – Allowing pets may sound like an added risk to a property owner or landlord, but it’s worth considering to attract Millennials. According to a May 2018 TD Ameritrade survey, 70% of Millennials are pet parents. To protect yourself, make sure you have a proper pet policy; this can eliminate the cons of renting to pet-owners. Additionally, many Millennials are sneaking pets in no-pet rentals, so allowing them can create better transparency and communication between you and your tenants.
- Co-work and Co-play – If possible, having co-working and community spaces available is a huge plus! Millennials and others are increasingly embracing virtual work, so having a trendy co-working area could be a major attraction! Socializing is important too, so if it can double as a community room, even better! Consider including Wi-Fi in these spaces, or throughout the building, to keep tenants connected.
- Environmentally Friendly – Millennials tend to be more environmentally conscious than some generations before them, so many will be drawn to a rental that shows an earth-friendly attitude. If any environmentally friendly practices or updates have been implemented at your property, such as green technology, advanced recycling methods, or eco-friendly cleaning, be sure to highlight those in your rental ads.
- Outdoors – Highlight any biking, walking, and running trails that are near your property. If you are located near any state or city parks, make sure to mention that in your marketing too. You could even consider having outdoor rentals available, but make sure you have the right insurance coverage if you decide to offer this amenity.
- Cause Marketing – Millennials are concerned for their communities, and many of them find it critical to volunteer and donate to local causes. If you volunteer or donate on behalf of your business, market that. Show that you are putting effort into the community where your potential tenants will reside.
This might seem like a lot of effort to market to a select population, but considering Millennials make up a large portion of renters, it’s not only worth it but essential! Plus, a lot of the tips mentioned require very little cost on your part – just rethinking how you market your properties. The Millennial rent trend is likely to stick around for a while, and virtual work is becoming more prevalent, so the mobile flexibility that renting provides may become even more appealing! If you keep all these tips in mind, and keep up with trends and technology, you will have the Millennial market mastered!