Attracting Millennials to Your Apartment Rental Property

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As a property manager you need to identify what your ideal tenant profile is. If that ideal tenant happens to be post secondary students or young professionals, then likely they were born in the 1980s to the early 2000s, this means you are looking for what society and the media has labeled a “millennial,” or Generation Y. This generation is one of the largest groups of renters today, so if you have properties located around post secondary institutions or close to city centres, this just might be the profile you are looking for.

Would I Want to Attract Millennials?

Millennials are officially one of the biggest renting demographics out there today and don’t appear to be rushing towards home ownership. This generation is hit particularly hard by recession in some parts of Canada, so thanks to this sluggish job market, huge student loans and a tighter lending/stricter credit market, millennials are refusing to take any additional debt in the form of a mortgage and are instead choosing to rent.

The sheer numbers of millennials seeking rental accommodations means that companies who want to attract these people to their rental properties better pay attention to what these young students and professionals are looking for in order to stay ahead of the competition. If you can make adjustments to your rental properties that are attractive to millennials, you are more likely to get a larger pool of applicants in that demographic.

Rental Property Upgrades for Millennials

The first thing you can do to ensure your rental property is attractive to millennials is to upgrade your rental property with features that are most appealing to young adults. While you shouldn’t lump all individuals together as far as likes and dislikes are concerned, theirs is a lot of research, studies and surveys that highlight what the majority are looking for, their spending patterns, where they want to live and what is a priority for them on the whole.

Here are 5 upgrades that best match what experts have found and have rated highly with the millennial generation:

  1. Proximity to School or Work

Millennial will most likely look for a place that is in close proximity to either their school or work. They are more concerned about easy access to conveniences rather than finding a quiet suburban neighborhood like older renters or families do, their priorities are focused on their work and their play. If they can bike to work, many feel that’s the ideal situation.

What You Can Do
When you advertise for a vacant unit, make sure you include the best information about freeway access, commuter train stations, bus routes and even bike paths that surround your property. When showing the apartment to millennials, consider providing a city bus route brochure or train schedule as part of your introduction materials.

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Mainstreet properties in Edmonton Central – around McEwan University & NAIT
  1. Key Property Features

Millennials like to get together with friends and research shows that the key feature that they look for in an apartment is the living space. It has to be big and the kitchen has to have modern kitchen appliances. While earlier generations prioritized room space in a house or an apartment, this generation likes a lot of space in the kitchen for meal preparation and lots of storage area. They will also really be drawn to any high tech upgrades they see in a rental property or rental package. Another key feature is pet friendly buildings as more a lot of them are pet owners.

What You Can Do
While you may not be able to change the square footage of a rental property, you can make use of the space saving measures to get maximum benefit of what you have. Smart storage, built-in shelving and a bar or island can transform the kitchen into a gathering space. Another option is to build or upgrade a patio area right off the kitchen to extend the immediate space. Seriously, consider using these tips to make your apartment more appealing. Finally, you can also consider making your rental property pet friendly.

  1. Entertainment Options

This generation loves to socialize, meet others and follow their passions. Most are seeking a balance between work and play, so they are looking for a place that allows them easy access to places like coffee houses, night clubs, concert venues, sport arenas and hip restaurants. They feel comfortable among urban attractions and so a location in or near such an atmosphere will be a big plus for them.

What You Can Do
When advertising your rental property, include links to nearby entertainment venues and make it easy for potential tenants to envision themselves living in such a locality. Consider talking to the managers or owners of nearby coffee houses and give away free coupons or flyers to the new tenants while handing out the introduction material.

  1. Environmentally Friendly

Millenials are very interested in protecting the environment and supporting green living, so landlords can implement a range of amenities that cater to this tendency. From recycling, to saving electricity, to reducing one’s carbon footprint, any energy-saving and environmentally friendly feature may seem appealing to them.

What You Can Do
When revamping your rental property, include energy efficient appliances in the kitchen or laundry, provide recycle bins in the common areas or include curbside recycling services. Add insulation, energy-saving light bulbs, low flow toilets, water-saving shower heads and other small yet effective features that can make your apartment appealing.

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Offer convenient recycling options
  1. Outdoor Recreation

Statistically this generation is more active than the older generations, they are more into outdoor sports like biking, hiking, running and other fitness activities. If your property is located near any prominent recreational locations, like ski resorts, national parks, lakes and rivers, make sure to include the driving distance to these hotspots. While they tend to gravitate toward city life when it comes to entertainment, they are also enthusiastic about appreciating nature and playing outdoors.

What You Can Do
In your ads, point out any parks, trails or fitness centers in the immediate neighbourhood. Accommodate renters with active lifestyles by providing bike racks on the property. If your property has an unused section, consider converting it into a fitness center.

Mainstreet Equity Corp. is a publicly traded (TSX: MEQ) residential real estate company in Canada. Mainstreet currently owns and operates properties in Surrey, BC; New Westminster, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary, AB; Cochrane, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; Fort Saskatchewan, AB; and Saskatoon, SK.

Mainstreet provides affordable, renovated apartment suites to Canadians, and is committed to creating real value without diluting shareholder interests.

About the Author
Manpreet Saluja

Manpreet is part of the Marketing team. He is currently focused on rental market research and is closely working with Universities as a part of an intense student project for Mainstreet. He is also involved in the decision making of tenant approvals.

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