Americans aged 18-34 are officially the largest apartment renting demographic in the United States. As of 2015 there are 75.4 million people classified as “Millennials”; 78% of that population, or roughly 58.8 million people are active renters. It doesn’t take a leasing genius to see the essentially endless potential in catering to these prospects.
So what do Millennials like to see in properties?
This can’t be oversold enough when you’re leasing to the generation that needed an app like Pokémon Go to even be bothered with walking. I can check the news, pay my bills, order lunch in advance, and call an Uber before I even get out of bed in the morning. With that in mind, it starts to make some sense that dropping by the leasing office and calling in can be perceived as tedious.
Properties that invest in a sort of “one stop shop” solution are seeing serious benefits. For the cost of installing a new trash can you can purchase a custom app with contact info built in, calendars, push notifications, maintenance requests; the list goes on and on. The ROI on mobile solutions is through the roof, just make sure you get your entire leasing staff on board.
Non-standard amenities have been sweeping the multifamily industry in recent years. Some of my personal favorites include rock climbing walls, putting greens, bike storage lockers, an in-unit wall mounted TV, a monthly farmers market, and on-site fitness classes. Obviously a few of these are unrealistic for some properties due to location and cost. Others might find that they are surprisingly affordable.
For example, hosting a pop-up farmers market or food truck bazaar costs your property close to nothing. As a matter of fact, you’d realize a net gain if you decided to charge a fee for the space being taken up. Regardless, it keeps residents in the community and talking to one another about how awesome it is to live on your property, they will likely invite their friends even. The potential for new prospect outreach is through the roof.
Events & Community
There are some variables that really can’t be controlled; inflation, job changes, residents buying homes, etc.… Most property managers can attest to the fact that the list of “unavoidables” could go on for days. The counter to all of these variables is building the kind of community that people don’t want to leave under normal circumstances.
Most communities throw holiday parties, raffle off prizes here and there, or give out small gifts at the gate to celebrate things like Valentine’s Day. In theory, these solutions have a really great potential ROI and can have a major effect on your resident’s sense of community. In practice, many properties fall short when it comes to actually pulling residents in, or closing the back door.
Typically, a maintenance person or leasing consultant sticks a paper invitation on every door in the community. Your Facebook page is usually updated with a reminder; some communities throw up some physical media at the front entrance. The problem here is that most residents don’t even look at door notices before throwing them out and even less check your social media page on a regular basis. So what’s the solution? That same “cheaper than a trashcan” mobile solution mentioned previously. Spend 2 minutes sending out a push notification from your app and everyone with a mobile –aka all of your residents- will immediately get an invite. The goal is to never have a resident say anything like “I didn’t even know we really had community events”. It’s a common statement that can reduce renewal potential every time it is muttered.
One thing is certain, whether you’re located next to a major university or a major business center, Millennials are going to come knocking. The question property managers should be asking themselves is whether or not they are prepared.