Who are Generation Y? Members of the group may well be your next residents, if not your current ones. Find out how to appeal to the renting interests of this young and upcoming demographic.
The next generation
Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, are those born in the mid-80s, and after. Members of this generation have grown up in the digital age. Their love of technology is partnered with an environmental sensibility.
Generation Y tends to be savvy, well-read, well-traveled (either in person or virtually) and ambitious. Theirs is a generation that knows it can bend the world to its needs in some ways, with flexible workplaces, remote jobs, apps that do everything, and information available on multiple platforms 24/7.
The members of Generation Y recently graduated from school into the workforce and are poised to make their mark in the world using the latest technologies, while also having experienced the privations of the prolonged recession. They realize that unemployment, debt and little or no savings is a current reality.
What are they looking for?
Millennials are an interesting combination of entitlement and practicality. They expect access to information and activity via their phones, pads, computers and televisions. Generation Y renters may be willing to put up with limited square footage to save money (much of their life is spent virtually, which makes it more compact) in return for amenities like a hip location, Wi-Fi, community activity, smart design, high-tech fitness centers and green rental community practices.
What should you offer?
The option to personalize their spaces and opportunities to socialize are high on the list of what Gen Yers want in their next rental. Wall-to-wall Wi-Fi is a must, since dead spots in reception leave these tenants cold. Consider built-in iPod and iPhone docks in units.
Beyond wiring, look for ways to make rentals stylish and modular. Moveable track lighting, hardwood floors that residents can cover with their choice of modular floor coverings, accent walls painted the color of their choice, open floor plans and sliding partitions are all appealing to these tenants.
But what if you’re not developing a rental community and you can’t choose the floor plan? For property owners working with more conventional or existing housing, living appeal for these residents can be provided in shared aspects of the rental community, such as rooftop hangouts, Cyber Cafes, and wired laundry rooms. A redesign of a main entrance featuring modern furnishings and a hip sensibility can set the right tone.
As green living is important to these tenants, consider installing smart elements like rooftop catchment for rainwater, community gardens , energy-saving appliances, gray water systems, composting and, of course, plenty of recycling opportunities. Generation Y prides itself on doing things the smart way and will appreciate living environments that reinforce this self-perception.
Gen Y is also very attached to their pets; consider the benefits of being pet-friendly and offering a portion of your grounds as a pet park.
How to reach them
Begin your approach to reaching these renters using their own milieu: go online. Post vacancies on online listing sites, as well as in major social media outlets.
Online rental applications are a must for this group of tenants, especially because they’ll want to know whether they are approved as soon as possible. Consider, too, that many Generation Y prospects may need cosigners for their loans, so be prepared to work with them.
Generation Y is the world’s fastest growing group of tenants, and they will likely be your bread-and-better for decades to come. Get to know them and what they’re looking for in a rental now so that you can make them your next happy residents.