Graduation Plans are underway as this year’s class gets ready to embark on their next chapter in life! Although some kids move back home after graduating there is a large percentage that make the decision to remain on their own and others simply must because their first “real job” is in a different city. College and University graduates are young professionals and can be a demographic to target. I am not suggesting that age old stereotypical student rental property of 5-6 guys with a party every night. I am suggesting targeting the recent graduate who is mature and embarking on their new chosen career path be it alone or with a roommate. There are a few things you can do to attract them.
Be Professional and Courteous
Understandably landlords look for tenants who have a clean background and reliable forms of income. Some of these standards can be high for a recent graduate, and sometimes owners can forget to apply similar expectations to themselves.
Recent college graduates and their parents (because they are often still involved) want to know that you will maintain the rented property and feel comfortable with you. Start off on the right foot with younger applicants by establishing a good reputation of being respectful, reachable, understanding, and professional. From the initial conversation to the viewing ensure all members of your team are positive with a welcoming tone of voice and during showing the showings are dressed in a professional manner that conveys you are a professional landlord.
It is essential that you have a website in today’s day and age. Allowing your applicants to apply online will truly appeal to the tech-savvy graduates you are hoping to attract. For this reason, you want to make sure the site is user friendly, and easy to navigate. It is also imperative that your site be readable both on a desktop and mobile device. If potential tenants get frustrated with your website, can’t find information, pages won’t load, they are more likely to move on to another site, ensuring yours is easy to click through will encourage them to stick around and look at all that you have to offer.
Today’s young professionals review everything from restaurants to travel, to products they purchase to rental spaces! Creating the opportunity to allow for online reviews for your rental spaces can make a difference.
Work diligently to stay on top of your internet presence to attract quality graduate tenants. Make it a habit to continually update!
Social Media Presence
You would be hard pressed to a find a graduate today that is not on social media and who doesn’t manage most of their life with a computer and their phone. Create an account on a variety of Social Media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Zumper or Kijiji. Don’t shy away from a YouTube channel either. Taking the time to post to these platforms and investing in online advertising can go a long way towards attracting new tenants.
Make sure your posts look sleek, with well shot photos, and videos. If possible, take the photos when the sun is shining, and your property looks bright and welcoming. Lighting for your videos is just as important and the person who is shooting the video should have a steady hand or tripod. If budget allows drones offer a great opportunity to get unique footage of your property. The adds should highlight all the positive amenities, key details about your property and be as direct and to the point as possible. Like your website, preview the ad before posting to make sure it looks good on a desktop and a phone, again that’s where most potential tenants will be viewing your ad.
Reminder, recent graduates don’t want to be going to the bank to make a rental payment and the days of writing 12 post-dated cheques are gone, most graduates have probably never written a cheque! Set-yourself up to accept rental payments electronically through the bank or online via your website. This demonstrates to your tenants that their convenience matters, and it also ensures you get paid!
Be Aware of the Neighbourhood
Your bottom line is most important when renting a unit; however, you want to be fair and in the same pricing ballpark as nearby and similar properties. Scan other rental properties and see what they are charging. If your property has additional features and amenities to showcase, then absolutely charge for them. Your advertising and leasing staff should be ready to speak to those additional benefits if questioned why the rental rate is higher.
Highlight the Amenities
University and College grads are coming out of an environment that ensured a social connection. When showcasing your rental, be sure to focus on nearby restaurants, shopping, gyms, places where young professionals may want to meet friends, are there nearby coffee shops, or movie theaters? Recent graduates tend to be more conscious of the environment so public transit is important if it is nearby highlight it.
Be Safety Savvy
Ensure all your units are up to code and equipped with the latest safety technology, such as fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and proper locks for the doors and windows. Most of these are also legally required. Does the property allow for the installation of additional safety features like alarms or smart doorbells? These extra measures can provide peace of mind and make your renters feel more secure.
Finish all Renovations
If you are renovating a home, consider that most people have a harder time visualizing the finished product so ensure all renovations are completed, and all local building inspections have also been completed before showing. When you are ready to start showing, the property should be thoroughly cleaned, and free of any construction related items. You want potential tenants to see the beautiful, finished product.
Pets can understandably be a concern. They can damage flooring, carpeting, and scratch walls and doors and not to mention cause odours. There is a lot of potential damage that can be caused by pets and left behind for you when the tenant moves out. Consider though that many recent grads grew up with a pet at home and want to have that same companionship in their new place. Allowing pets can be a great selling feature. Many potential good clients want to get a pet or have one that they simply will not part with, not even for the perfect apartment. You can put parameters on the type of pet, no dogs over 50lbs for example. Have a conversation and don’t dismiss the idea straight out. By not allowing pets you are eliminating many potential clients.
Give them a Chance
Maintaining your properties and updating all online communications can go a long way in attracting qualified young recent graduates and professionals. These tenants also have the potential of staying for a few years as they work to establish themselves, which for you as a landlord can save you money by not having to fill the unit every year. Don’t dismiss a young recent graduate, create a space they are comfortable in, and can call home and they might just surprise you and be a “perfect” tenant(s)