Whether you believe it or not, the biggest demographic of tenants in 2021, are millennials. We meet with countless investors all the time to manage or place tenants for them and the top question we usually get from them is, “who will you typically rent to.” The number one answer is usually millennials! The Millennial generation—born roughly between the early 1980s and mid-1990s—are prime candidates for the rental market for a few reasons.
To be honest, they are usually shocked by this answer.
The main reason is millennials want to trade their money for experiences not assets, thus, they prefer to rent as opposed to buy. Why? One reason is that Millennials were hit hard by the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. They may see homeownership as risky, or it may be financially unrealistic for them at this point in their lives. They have larger student loan debt burdens than previous generations, and they may need or want to pay them down before they think about buying a home. They may also want geographic mobility to pursue different opportunities without being tied down.
The younger Millennials have recently entered the working world, while the oldest are in their mid-thirties. This is an age group that is often in the process of renting before they eventually put down roots and purchase a home.
If you’re looking to target millennials, you’ll want to ensure your properties are attractive to the Millennial age group—both to rent now and to stay in for a while. Here are some way to target them:
Invest in smart technologies
I’ve talked about this before in other blog posts but millennials are tech savvy and want smart technologies. Electronic locks, smart thermostats, the list goes on and on. Some of these are more expensive, however, if you’re considering holding the properties longer term consider this an investment in your property. This will also help attract that target resident you’re looking to attract (i.e. millennials)
Change how you market to them
One often-repeated truism about Millennials is that they’re digital natives with few memories of a time before the internet was ubiquitous. It’s true: They will expect to be able to see available rental properties online—they don’t think of seeing them in-person as a first resort. Make viewing your properties, applying for rentals, and asking questions convenient, appealing, and seamless. This is especially important for first-time renters, who are new to all of the ins and outs of renting.
86% of Millennials own and use a mobile phone regularly. Once they become renters, they will appreciate being able to pay and request services online. Enabling online payments and maintenance tickets can make your job easier, too.
Don’t forget about using social media as a communication tool: 82% of Millennials use Facebook, 55% use Instagram, and 30% use Twitter. If you’re not on social media—both for marketing to and communicating with tenants—you may be very distant on their radar.
Make sure your properties facilitate their lifestyle as digital natives, too. You will need excellent WIFI, of course, or at least be ready for an ISP hookup of the tenant’s choosing. USB-equipped wall plates for charging won’t go amiss either, if you’re feeling especially hospitable.
Yes, we know that a lot of investors don’t like pets in their property for fear of damage, however, the fact is that Millennials love pets. Millennials represent an impressive 35% of the pet ownership market. If you don’t allow pets, you are eliminating 50% of your tenant pool. Even my thinking has evolved on this.
Market the Neighborhood
Millennials are interested in experiences. They’re interested in checking out music festivals, new restaurants, local craft beer. The more your neighborhood appeals to young people, the more attractive that renting with you will be.
Make a list of the events and happenings in your area that would be interesting for people in their 20s and 30s. Highlight local eateries and stores and use that as part of your ad.
Millennials are great tenants to have and if you’re interested in targeting them for your next rental property, this is how you do it. If you’re looking for some help to manage your Hamilton/Niagara rental property, or help you find some great tenants, feel free to reach out to our team.