What Millennials Want in a Rental
While you cannot advertise directly to the millennial generation (those born around 1982 to 1995) per Fair Housing laws, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep them in mind when marketing your rental property. The news may talk most about how many Millennials are living with their parents - and some are - but many more are looking for a place of their own.
Forty percent of the housing market is made of the Millennial generation, and 90 percent of them are renters. That’s a lot of people looking for a home. If you know what they want, you can better position your rental to be competitive among all renters.
Millennials use their phone for almost everything - bill pay, communication, and surfing the internet. Chances are they’ll find your property from their phone. They may even email you for more information. Don’t turn them off by requiring everything else to be done in the office. From the application process to making payments, Millennials want to do it themselves and they want to be online when they do it.
How your renter communicates with you isn’t related to the specific property, but it makes a difference for retention. A Millennial will likely want an easy way to get in touch with you. Yes, even in an emergency. Text message, Facebook messenger, email, and an online chat system are all preferable to making a phone call for many Millennials. Ease of communication is an important factor for getting and keeping them as a renter.
We all know location is everything in real estate, and there’s nothing you can change about where your property is located. What you can do is highlight what’s nearby and the proximity to local hotspots and big employers. Don’t forget to mention how close parks and the beaches are, as well as walkability, dog parks, and other features Millennials look for in relation to where their home is located.
Many Millennials think of the environment in all that they do. They look for sustainability and anything that let’s them go green, because it’s good for the planet and their bank account. Any energy saving features you can add to the rental should be highlighted. This could be new Energy Star appliances to eco-friendly materials used for the floor, as well as small touches like LED light bulbs.
Many Millennials want or already have a pet. The decision to allow pets is a business and personal decision for you, but if you’re hoping to attract Millennial renters, rethink your rule. You can always charge a pet deposit or monthly pet fee to help with any damage. You may want to limit the size, amount, or breeds you’ll allow renters to have in your property, too.
Some landlords include utilities and services in the rent, and others don’t. There’s no rule that says you should pay for your renter’s internet. That being said, make sure your property can easily be connected to internet. If you live in a rural area, check with local internet providers to find out who offers service. Make this information available to renters so they aren’t scrambling to get connected after they move in or wondering if they’ll be able to before they put in their application.
Big Kitchens and Lots of Storage
Millennials learned more lessons from the last recession than we may realize. They’re waiting to buy homes, and they would rather cook and hang out at home. This means that plenty of storage and big, modern kitchens are a plus. You can’t make your rental any bigger than it already is, but consider getting creative with storage to give the appearance of a larger space. When you’re ready to upgrade the property, start with the kitchen - that’s a big selling point for all generations.
New Ways to Use Technology
Smart homes are no longer a fad and are quickly becoming expected by younger generations of renters. You may be limited in what you can do based on location, market, and the condition of your property, but don’t ignore this completely. Small touches like USB outlets in place of or in addition to electrical outlets can make a difference. A smart thermostat, home security system, or smart smoke alarms are selling points. You don’t have to offer the smart refrigerator, but if that fits in your market, it’s not a bad idea, either.
Millennials aren’t a monolithic group. Not everyone wants the exact same thing in their home. But because this generation has lived much of their life connected and online, their expectations are different from older generations. They also saw what their parents and grandparents went through when the market crashed in 2006 and 2007. If you can keep these things in mind when remodeling your property, investing in a new one, and marketing your rental, you can attract Millennial renters.