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.
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Written by: Michael Zaransky
Michael Zaransky is Founder and Managing Principal of MZ Capital Partners.