Millennials are a financially up-and-coming demographic. It's difficult to draw general distinctions about any large of group of people, of course, but in general Millennials are tech-savvy. They tend to care about the environment, often worry a lot about finances, and care deeply about their relationships with others.
What's more, Millennials are overwhelmingly choosing to rent rather than buy, so catering to them can be very profitable. Yet if you want to look relatable to your Millennial tenants, you may want to subtly adjust how you do business. Here are some ideas:
Older Millennials came of age when the Internet was becoming indispensable; younger ones have never known a world without it. If you want to really engage your Millennial renters, you'll need to integrate technology cleanly into your business.
Make sure your business has an email address, and make sure it's checked regularly and that all correspondence is handled promptly. Online rent payment is one of the best ways to engage Millennials. Many don't use checkbooks or only use them rarely. Giving the option of online forms for maintenance requests is another way to make your property management company easier and more intuitive for Millennials. If you're really tech-savvy and have a particularly large rental company, you may even consider designing a mobile app specifically for your business.
Take Financial Trouble Into Account
Many Millennials have come into the job market since the Great Recession. While many of them have had tremendous success in the tech sector, many others are still struggling (or feel like they're struggling) in low-wage, dead-end jobs.
If your properties are located in a college town or another such Millennial-heavy location, you may need to take your tenants' financial difficulties into account. Make sure there are low-income housing options available for them and be ready to be understanding about credit problems on applications. Consider allowing your tenants to take up certain maintenance tasks — like vacuuming entryways, maintaining yards, or taking out trash — in return for a discount on rent.
Don't let your willingness to help your tenants, Millennial or otherwise, get you into trouble. But if you play your cards right, you can enter into a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Make Your Properties Eco-friendly
Millennials tend to care a lot about the environment. To that end, you may consider making your Millennial-friendly properties more eco-friendly, too. Consider adding insulation to attics or replacing old windows with less drafty, more energy-efficient versions.
This generation is also likely to sit up and take notice if your properties have more unorthodox green options. You might consider a community garden space near an apartment complex, for instance, or rain barrels that collect from the gutters.
Foster a Community Among Your Tenants
Despite all the insinuations that Millennials don't care about the people around them, most of them are surprisingly compassionate and community-minded. If you own an apartment complex that caters to a lot of college-age Millennials, you might consider putting together community-minded events like movie nights or other social endeavors. It'll take time and money, but your Millennial tenants will appreciate it, and it can help create a better relationship between you and them.
Millennials aren't inscrutable space aliens. They're essentially just like other renters: They want a safe, comfortable, affordable place to live. But a Millennial tenant comes at the rental process from the perspective of their upbringing, desires, culture, technological expertise and certain financial considerations relevant in the new economy. Keep these in mind as you talk to them, and you'll be able to communicate smoothly and easily with your Millennial tenants.
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