Getting Leads & Maintaining Residents: Here's What 60% of Renters Want

June 12, 2020

6 min read

Marketing has always had its challenges, and marketing to specific subsets or demographics comes with its own hurdles as well. Renters between the ages of 22-38 fall into the generational category that has been dubbed “the millennials.” Interestingly, this group of renters makes up 60% of the rental market, with many stating that they feel as though they will be lifelong tenants. 

Because they make up such a large percentage of the rental market, spending the majority of your time marketing for this age range is just good business. But, in order to be able to draw them to your brand, you have to gain an understanding of what they want and expect from an apartment community and its owner. 

Technology, Safety, and Connectivity

The renters of this generation have a number of expectations, especially in regards to technology. Since this group of renters was raised up alongside tech, they expect to see apartment communities utilize tech-based tools. One such tool is virtual leasing. Nearly all (90%) of renters in this age group prefer using technology to find a home, and 75% are doing so on a mobile device. Because of the preference for using mobile devices, you must ensure that your virtual touring tools are accessible via cell phones. 

Smart locks and outside cameras around the apartment community are also a feature that renters want to see when they are searching for homes. Also called “the anxious generation,” those within the millennial age group are more inclined to choose communities that make them feel safe. These residents also prefer renter’s insurance so that they can also protect their possessions and themselves if an issue were to occur. Renter’s insurance not only protects your residents but protects your property and ROI as well, so not requiring it in your community could cost you money.

Connectivity, both with technology and without, is an important part of these renters’ lives. They are more likely to browse the internet, order online, leave reviews, read reviews, and more. Having a stable internet connection and a good cell connection is often a make-or-break selling point for an apartment. Technology aside, this generation appreciates communities with well-maintained outdoor areas that allow them to both get fresh air and interact with neighbors. 

Resident Care and Maintenance

Renters within this age group are 95% more likely to use online reviews to help them choose where to live, and those that have a bad experience are also more likely to leave negative reviews on the same sites they used for browsing. This makes resident care and maintenance needs an important factor. 

Through most things, thanks to technology, this generation of renters are accustomed to “instant.” If they have a question, they Google it and get their answer in a few minutes. They expect the same quick response from property managers and owners when they have needs, like maintenance requests. If your community’s communication is poor, you’re not going to retain these residents. 

Taking too long to respond to or fix maintenance issues is the number one reason for residents to both leave an apartment community and leave a negative review. (And unhappy residents are 95% more likely to leave a negative review compared to the 85% happy residents that leave positive reviews.) Ensure that your property management and maintenance staff are available at all times to handle maintenance issues quickly. No resident should have to wait for repairs, especially emergency repairs that put a strain on their ability to live their lives. 

In addition, these renters don’t like to make phone calls. 75% of millennials prefer text messaging over phone calls, and they send, on average, at least 20 texts per day. If you aren’t incorporating text-based communication into your property management, you’re missing an opportunity to gain and retain residents. 90% of people say they would rather receive a text than a phone call from a business, and 95% of texts from businesses are read within 3 minutes of being sent. Lastly, operating hours for resident care should never end. This generation wants to know that they can “call” at any time of day or night and receive the help they need. 

They Don’t Want Strings

Many of the renters from this generation enjoy traveling or working jobs that allow them to travel and see other places in the country or the world. As opposed to investing in things like home-buying, which 13% feel they will never be able to afford, they spend their money on opportunities to make memories. 

How does this relate? Because millennials want freedom. They want to have the option to move across the country for a new job without being bound by a leasing contract. When offered the opportunity for a shorter lease, many will jump at the opportunity, even if they don’t intend to leave that quickly. While turns can be expensive and time-consuming, if you’re struggling to find ways to draw these renters to your communities, consider snipping the lease contract strings. 

They Care About the World

In previous generations, it was less likely for a customer to stop using a brand because the CEO accidentally said something the public deemed insensitive. Most would continue using the product until a better or more affordable option came along. This is not the case for millennials. 

Millennials have a deep connection with the society around them and often use their beliefs and morals as guiding points in choosing which products to buy and even which places to live. This generation is more likely to live in apartments with eco-friendly options like solar panels, and they also want to align themselves with brands that do some form of charity. If you have a charity that you donate to, an event you sponsor, or any kind of charitable organization you partner with, you should consider listing it somewhere on your apartment community’s website. The best way to do this would be to have a small section where you encourage people to donate as opposed to outright stating, “I donate to X, Y, and Z.” 

Affordability

Due to the housing shortage, this is the number one desire for renters everywhere. This puts owners in a somewhat tough position. You don’t want to charge so much for your units that your renters can’t afford to live in your community, but you also need to turn a profit. So, how do you profit while also maintaining affordability?

The best way to approach this is cost-cutting measures. If you’re unsure how to go about cutting costs, you can find information here and here. By finding ways to cut your costs, you’ll be able to continue turning profits while also providing renters with the affordable housing they desire. 

This generation of renters have their eyes set on the future, and they are using tools like resident portals, smart locks, virtual touring, and other technologies to find places they want to live. If you’re not catering to this market by upgrading your communities with technology or providing good resident care and maintenance, you’re going to lose money. The millennial generation makes up the majority of the rental market, and many see themselves as renting permanently, which gives you the opportunity to have a lifelong resident. Show that you can give them what they desire, including helping them change the world, and the leads will pour in.