Apartment Features Guaranteed to Attract Younger Renters
10 Min Read
Written by: Parcel Pending
One of the primary struggles for any apartment landlord or property manager involves retaining your current tenants and enticing new ones to rent apartments or empty rooms. Left unoccupied, those spaces represent lost revenue that only accumulates until the spot is filled. But attracting new residents, including millennial renters, is easier said than done, especially with so much competition in the marketplace. Often, it comes down to the apartment‘s interior design and amenities.
These days, millennials are about to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest adult generation. They represent a significant portion of all apartment 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 decade1. Because of this, as more and more young people begin apartment hunting, it’s essential to consider what modern apartment features this particular demographic is looking for.
Curious what those might be? Read on to discover our modern 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 more modern apartment if it results in increased conveniences, especially high-class amenities. Such luxury amenities include:
The vast majority of young people do not have the inclination nor the wherewithal to purchase kitchen 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 the barrier to apartment rental by forcing them to purchase additional items. Ironically, they’ll be willing to pay more to rent a luxury apartment to avoid having to make such purchases.
Also, younger people care more about new things and shiny features. They want a kitchen that has a modern design. As a result, you should update the appliances in the kitchen 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 by adding upgraded apartment features, such as hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and even a dining table in the kitchen, and modern decor in the bathroom.
A Variety of Floor Plans
Younger generations are not typically attracted to the cookie-cutter units for rent in most apartment buildings. If possible, builders could offer a different floor plan for the apartments on each floor of a complex, a design strategy that reflects the sense of individuality these young renters crave. These renters are also attracted to apartments with high ceilings, wood flooring, a bright living room and dining area.
When it comes to the living area, you should ensure that there’s enough floor space so they can express their individuality. Millennials, for example, want their living areas to reflect their sense of style as well as maximize the space. For example, the coffee table may likely be equipped with storage drawers.
Millennials and members of Gen Z grew up in the digital age. They rely heavily upon their electronics for everything 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. If you’re wondering how to reach Gen Z renters, this is it. It may seem like a small or innocuous thing, but you’d be amazed by how many younger renters cite Wi-Fi speeds as one of the amenities they consider when renting an apartment or deciding to move to a different apartment.
When selecting the services and speeds for your apartment building, it’s essential that you select the very best. You want your service to be able to handle midweek traffic as well as peak traffic times, such as Friday and Saturday nights, when a significant majority of your apartment renters will be on the network at the same time.
Plenty of Storage
Millennials and Gen Zers 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 anytime soon2. As a result, they need more interior space to store all their clothes, equipment, and other items. To provide extra storage space, 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 bikes or outdoor equipment
In-Unit Washer and Dryer
Having washers and dryers in one of the common areas of your apartment complex is important but younger renters want to wash their clothes in the comfort and convenience of their homes. They don’t want to deal with a musical chairs’ version of washing clothes: either hoping for an open washer and dryer unit or praying that no one moves or steals their things. Installing a washer and dryer in each of your apartments is a great way to attract the younger generation.
Even if it means you have to sacrifice some interior apartment space for a stacked set of dryers, most millennials will be willing to make that tradeoff. Although the younger generations appreciate luxury, the convenience of an in-unit washer and dryer 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 lives easier but yours as well. Consider adding any of the following modern tech luxuries:
- Philips Hue Smart Lighting System, including in the bedroom, dining room, and living room
- Keyless smart lock
- Ring front door security doorbell
- Smart leak detectors
- Alexa smart home integration with speakers
Although their living space is in close proximity to dozens of other renters, the vast majority of people don’t want to hear what their neighbors are up to, nor do they want their neighbors to listen in on their private doings. Apartment living should feel like single-family home living. 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 residents.
In addition to their personal space, young renters care deeply about the overall look, feel, and community of the apartment complex as a whole. This is where luxury apartment community features come into play. Such luxury features include:
According to GFK, 57% of millennial households own pets, with an additional 20% reporting that they intend to eventually join the fray3. If more than one in two young renters owns a pet, you do yourself a massive disservice by prohibiting pets in your apartment building. You effectively cut down your prospective renters by half, since young people will inevitably pick their beloved dogs or cats over your building. It doesn’t matter how nice or luxurious the apartment is if their pet can’t enjoy it as well., Now is the time to invest in an outdoor space suitable for tenants and their furry friends!
Multifamily Parcel Lockers
As mentioned, young renters are constantly ordering things from Amazon and other online websites. But these renters aren’t always home to accept their deliveries. And the rise of porch pirates stealing packages left in front of their doors 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, medication, and other items at the proper temperature.
- Convenient – Multi-size lockers can hold packages of varying sizes and are ADA compliant for those in wheelchairs.
- Courier Agnostic – Accept deliveries from any courier service for 100% deliverability.
- Fast – Barcode scanner for instant package delivery.
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”4. Pools provide residents 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 residents 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.
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. To ensure this sense of protection, consider adding the following:
- Electronic fobs for getting into the complex or parking structure
- 24/7 security services and monitoring
- Cameras installed throughout the property
- Smart door security systems
- Fencing around the apartment
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 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 in that you’re offering a fitness center when they consider your rental fee.
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.
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 into a parking space without a seconds’ thought. Also, they factor in guest parking since many will want 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.
In addition to providing luxurious apartment features, it would be wise to provide additional specials or enticements in order to attract new tenants and improve your resident retention. Consider doing one of the following:
- Reward Referrals – If your current residents 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 becomes a resident, they receive something in exchange. This could be a gift card, a free month of rent, cash, or an 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:
- Lower 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 residents to pay in person or by check, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to make both your lives more convenient. Millennials and Gen Zers want to be able to pay for things online and 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.
Small apartments also offer many benefits for younger renters. However, when you market studio apartments (the average square footage is about 500-600 sq. ft.) to millennials and Gen Zers, you have to appeal to those who are comfortable living in small spaces, such as single residents looking for affordable rentals5.
If you want potential renters to see the value of a small space, you should consider staging it to offer them a vision of what they could do with a modern style studio layout. Include eye-catching furniture and storage solutions that fit the space. Then photograph the apartment so the younger renters can imagine what it would be like to live in a studio, and post the photos with your rental listing.
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.”
- Heeb, Gina. Markets Insider. Millennials are about to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest adult generation – and it could drastically alter the US housing market. (2019, April 1). https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/millennials-baby-boomers-largest-adult-generation-alter-housing-market-2019-4.
- Melton, James. DigitalCommerce 360. Millennials now do 60% of their shopping online. (2019, March 26). https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2019/03/26/millennials-online-shopping/.
- Phillips-Donaldson, Debbie. Petfood Industry. Baby boomers, step aside: Millennials now own more pets. (2015, April 1). https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/5049-baby-boomers-step-aside-millennials-now-own-more-pets.
- Haughey, Rick & Cino, Paula. National Multifamily Housing Council. A Tale of Two Amenities Survey. (2019, April 12). https://www.nmhc.org/news/nmhc-news/atale-of-two-amenities-surveys/.
- Reliable Water Services. Marketing a Studio Apartment: How to Make Small Spaces Appealing. (2021, October 14). https://reliablewater247.com/studio-apartments-marketing-small-spaces/.