One of the primary struggles for any apartment landlord or property manager involves retaining your current residents and enticing new ones to let empty rooms. Left unoccupied, those spaces represent lost revenue that only accumulates until the spot is filled. But attracting new tenants is easier said than done, especially with so much competition in the marketplace. Often, it comes down to the apartment’s features and amenities.
These days, Millennials are about to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest adult generation. They represent a significant portion of all renters, comprising 40% of the housing market, and 90% of them rent. Experts forecast that growth in the rental market could outpace homeownership over the next decade. Because of this, as more and more young people enter the rental market, it’s essential to consider what apartment features this particular demographic is looking for.
Curious what those might be? Read on to discover our apartment features list.
Apartment Features Guaranteed to Attract Younger Renters
When it comes to enticing younger renters, there are two categories of luxury apartment features you’ll need to consider: individual amenities and communal amenities.
Individual Apartment Features
Younger renters are picky with their homes. They plan on renting for a while but are more than happy to move to a better apartment complex or unit if it results in increased conveniences, especially high-class amenities. Such luxury features include:
- Modern Appliances – The vast majority of young people do not have the inclination nor the wherewithal to purchase appliances and lug them around town from apartment to apartment. They don’t plan on making such long-term purchases until they actually own a place. Between rent, security deposits, and moving costs, the barrier to entry to a new apartment is already substantial. You only further increase that barrier by forcing them to purchase additional items. Ironically, they’ll be willing to pay more in order to avoid having to make such purchases.
Also, younger people care more about new things and shiny features. They want a kitchen that feels modern and smartly designed. As a result, you should update the appliances at least every few years, since young people are far more likely to pass on an apartment that feels dated. There can also be an opportunity to slightly increase rent with updates.
- Fast Wi-Fi – Millennials and Gen Z grew up in the digital age. They rely heavily upon their electronics for anything from work to play. Because of that, few things are more frustrating than a Wi-Fi network that prevents them from working, streaming shows, playing games, or just browsing the internet. It may seem like a small or innocuous thing, but you’d be amazed by how many younger renters cite Wi-Fi speeds as a serious area of consideration or a reason for switching apartments.
When selecting your services and speeds, it’s essential that you select the very best. You want your service to be able to not only handle midweek traffic but peak traffic times like Friday and Saturday nights when a significant majority of your renters will be on the network at the same time.
- Plenty of Storage – Millenials and Gen Z’ers could also be called the Amazon generation. More than 60% of millennials do most if not all of their shopping online and they don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. As a result, they need space to store all of their clothes, equipment, and other items. In order to provide extra storage, consider adding the following:
- Extra-large closets in bedrooms (walk-in closets are a plus)
- Plenty of cabinet space
- Closets or extra storage nooks
- Racks to hang their bikes or outdoor equipment
- In-unit Washer and Dryers – Simply having washers and dryers in the complex is important, but the handiness of being able to wash your clothes in the comfort and convenience of the home is a huge boon for a younger generation. They don’t want to deal with the musical chairs version of washing clothes: either hoping for an open washer and dryer unit or praying that no one moved or stole their things.
Even if it means you have to sacrifice some apartment space for a stacked set of dryers, most millennials will be willing to make that tradeoff. This convenience is a huge selling point that could make or break their decision when weighing multiple rental options.
- Smart Home Tech – The younger generation has fully embraced the technological revolution. They like smart features that add an extra touch of convenience or sophistication to their life. In many cases, such new tech will not only make their life easier but yours as well. Consider adding any of the following modern tech luxuries:
- Philips Hue Smart Lighting System
- Keyless smart lock
- Ring front door security doorbell
- Smart leak detectors
- Alexa smart home integration with speakers
- Soundproofing – Although they may live in close proximity to dozens of other renters, the vast majority of people don’t want to be able to hear what their neighbors are up to, nor do they want their neighbors to be able to listen in on their private doings. An apartment should feel like a home, even if it’s not. Renters don’t want a constant reminder that they are surrounded by others, especially if it’s keeping them awake at night or impacting their ability to work from home. One of the easiest ways to ensure this is by soundproofing rooms to ensure privacy and avoid disputes between tenants.
Communal Apartment Features
In addition to their personal space, if you have a complex, young renters care deeply about the overall look, feel, and community of the complex as a whole. This is where luxury communal apartment features come into play. Such features include:
- Pet-Friendly – According to GFK, 57% of Millennial households own a pet, with an additional 20% reporting that they intend to eventually join the fray. If more than 1 in 2 young renters own a pet, you do yourself a massive disservice by prohibiting pets in your apartments. You effectively cut down your prospective market by half, since young people will inevitably pick their beloved dog or cat over your unit. It doesn’t matter how nice or luxurious the apartment is if their furry friend can’t enjoy it as well.
- Commercial Parcel Lockers – As mentioned, young renters are constantly ordering things off Amazon or other online websites. But they’re not always home to ensure that their newly purchased items can be signed for or safely delivered; and the rise of porch pirates stealing packages left in front of their door has become a mounting concern. You can alleviate such fears and entice younger renters to your apartment complex by offering smart-lockers for package delivery and storage.
Lockers such as these provide the following benefits:
- Smart – Built-in infrared scanners to detect and classify packages in each locker.
- Secure – Have 24/7 cloud-based video surveillance capabilities.
- Cool – Refrigerated lockers to keep groceries and other items at the proper temperature.
- Convenient – Multi-sized lockers can hold packages of varying sizes and are ADA compliant for those in wheelchairs.
- Courier Agnostic – Accept deliveries from any and all courier services for 100% deliverability.
- Fast – Barcode scanner for instant package delivery.
- A Pool – According to a 2019 Eddins survey, “Pools were highly valued in both warm and cold climates because, when you cannot use it all year-round, you appreciate it more when you can.” Pools provide tenants a place to congregate and enjoy the outdoors without having to trek to the beach or a community pool. It’s a huge draw, especially for holidays and the summertime when people are looking to host parties or hang out in groups.
In addition, it’s a great, free marketing opportunity to show off the complex since your current tenants are far more likely to invite others over to also enjoy the pool or other amenities. If you don’t have a pool and it’s 100 degrees, then they’ll go to their friend’s apartment that does have one. Who knows, that could be enough reason for them to switch complexes when their lease is up.
- Security – Like with smart lockers, young renters are concerned about the safety of their neighborhood, complex, and apartment. Offering on-site security provides them with the peace of mind in knowing that their safety is not a concern. In order to ensure this sense of protection, consider adding the following:
- Fencing around the apartment.
- Electronic fobs getting into the complex or parking structure.
- 24/7 security services and monitoring.
- Cameras installed throughout the property.
- Smart door security systems.
- A Gym – Younger people care deeply about health and fitness. The struggle that many of them encounter, however, is having to commute to and from work and fit in a time before or after to head over to the gym and work out. Similar to a pool, the convenience of an at-home fitness center is a massive boon; it’s one less outside monthly expenditure, they’ll have to pay. As a result, they’ll factor that into your pricing.
For example, consider two practically identical apartment complexes:
- Option A costs $1200/month but has a gym
- Option B costs $1100/month but doesn’t have a gym
A gym membership costs approximately $40-$200 per month. Most younger people would be willing to pay a little more in rent for the ability to work out at home.
- Parking – Few things can be as frustrating as an apartment complex that fails to offer convenient and secure parking. Young people don’t want to have to commute from work and then spend the next 30 minutes trying to compete for a spot within a mile of their complex. They want to be able to pull up and in without a seconds’ thought. Also, they factor in guest parking since many will want to be able to invite their friends or romantic connections over without any serious hassle.
If you’re currently building a complex, be sure to set aside space for a parking structure or at least provide two personal spaces per apartment.
- Enticements – In addition to providing luxurious apartment features, it would be wise to provide additional specials or enticements in order to attract new tenants. Consider doing one of the following:
- Reward Referrals – If your current tenants are happy with where they live, they may already encourage friends or acquaintances to check out your complex. You can encourage such behavior by offering referral rewards, wherein if they recommend a person who ends up becoming a tenant, they receive something in exchange. This could be:
- A gift card
- Free month of rent
- Additional parking pass
- Move-in specials – When young people tour your apartment, it’s helpful to entice them into making a decision by offering promotions or specials. This could involve:
- Lowered security deposit
- No security deposit
- A free month of rent
- Free utilities or Wi-Fi for a set amount of time
- Online Rent Payment – If you’re still forcing your tenants to pay in person or by check, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to make both of your lives more convenient. Millennials and Gen Z’ers want to be able to pay for things online and to be able to set and forget via auto-payments.
Why give yourself or them more work than needed? Make the move and transition to an online rental payment system.
Enticing Young Renters
With so many renters in the market, it’s critical that you distinguish yourself from other apartment complexes. Doing so doesn’t require that you spend millions of dollars on the newest and best things. It’s as simple as adding small conveniences that can save young renters time, hassle, or money. By being mindful of these things, you can set yourself apart and make your apartment somewhere that young people say, “We need to lock this place down before someone else does.”
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Donaldson, D. Petfood Industry. Baby Boomers, step aside: Millennials now own more pets. (2015). https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/5049-baby-boomers-step-aside-millennials-now-own-more-pets
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