Ahhh, the millennial renter. Loyal(ish) and content to spend years upon years in the perfect apartment, even with a predictable rise in rent at the end of their lease. A top priority for many apartments is to attract and retain millennial renters. Gen Y renters look for two key things: location and amenities. And while you can’t change your location, you can offer amenities they’d be hard press to find anywhere else. We put together a list of 20 amenities important to millennial tenants for those looking to buy a multifamily property or renovating a current one:
Individual Unit Amenities
1. Pet Friendly
57% of millennial households own a dog or cat. According to appfolio millennials make up 40% of the housing market and of those 90% will be renters. With numbers like that you can’t afford to let them pass on you because their furry friends aren’t welcome.
2. Having wood or wood like flooring
Wood is the number one choice of younger renters. It’s easy to clean, especially with pet hair, and it eliminates the need to buy a vacuum. It also looks very modern and simple, which leaves millennial renters with the option to design on a clean slate. Plus you can slide around on your socks and pretend like you’re ice skating.
3. Washer and dryers in units
The convenience of being able to wash clothes in the comfort of your own home is priceless. If the units are already a little tight on space consider adding stacked washer and dryers. Millennial renters are willing to give up space for this accommodation.
4. Updated Kitchens
76% of millennials say they enjoy cooking and cook at least 4 times a week according to YPULSE. An upgraded kitchen speaks to this foodie generation. Seeing granite or quartz counters, stainless steel appliances, and subway-tiled backsplashes will definitely sway their opinion.
5. Charging outlets with USB ports
This is such a small convenience, but an increasingly important one in our ever-growing technological world. Most apartment buildings don’t come stock with these, but coupling this small renovation with a few other amenities on this list could lead millennial renters into seeing your property as a technology minded, and thus, better choice.
6. Energy efficient appliances
With millennial’s propensity to be eco-friendly energy efficient appliances are a given. Energy efficient appliances are known to save money in the long term and young renters want to save cash on their utility cost if they are paying extra for other amenities. Gen Y is on the lookout for the “Energy Star” labels on washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators. So in our opinion, it’s worth the splurge for multifamily properties to avoid being edged out by a more eco-friendly option.
7. Smart controls for HVAC system
Speaking of eco-friendly and saving money…smart HVAC controls, like Nest or even just programmable controls, are an amenity that aren’t seen enough. Nest has the ability to self-learn from the household habits and can be controlled from your phone. If that is too big of a cost, go for simple programmable devices. Both are small, yet modern luxuries sure to set your property apart.
8. Greater amounts of storage
Millennials grew up in a time when walk in closets started becoming a social status and anything they want is at the click of a mouse. And while they are willing to sacrifice living area space, they are not willing to do the same in storage. A study showed almost 50% of millennial females shop for clothing more than twice a month, leaving a need for closet space. Walk-in closets are a BIG draw. Seriously a big walk-in closet could sell an apartment by itself, especially for millennial women. If that isn’t an option, multiple closets could be just as good.
9. Dog Park/Pet washing station
Petfoodindustry.com reported that 63% of millennials think pets should be pampered. This means including little comforts like an area for dogs to socialize/run off leash or rooms where owners can wash their dogs after a muddy playdate may be enough to gain their monthly dollars and keep them there for a while.
10. Fitness areas with studios for yoga and classes
76% of consumers aged 18-29 are more likely to be doing gym-type activities including fitness classes, indoor group training, yoga, pilates, etc. Gone are the days of small rooms with two treadmills and a bike machine. Millennial renters want to have more studio like fitness areas to align with their fitness interests.
11. Online leasing / rent pay / maintenance requests
If you are still requiring paper for any of these things you will be perceived as living in the stone age. Gen Y has moved away from traditional paper documents in any aspect of their life possible and that should include their living arrangements. They now choose to receive electronic bank statements, use digital coupons, and get their news online. Most probably don’t even own checks, so doing all of this manually would be a big turn off. Look into systems like On-Site.com or RealPage.
12. Bike racks or bike storage
Biking as a mode of transportation is on the rise. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that in the past 10 years biking to work has increased 60%. Millennials don’t want their bikes to take up precious floor space, but they want to know they are in a safe place. An amenity like a bike rack or bike storage can reel them in, especially if your property is just outside of an ideal neighborhood, business area, or public transportation hub.
13. Wifi availability, fiber internet, and great cell reception
The increasingly connected lives of millennials means never having to be offline. Most actually expect wifi availability throughout the entire community and won’t accept bad cell service in their homes. The newest amenity millennial renters are on the lookout for is fiber internet, which is essentially super fast internet. If you want to bring Google Fiber to your property check here to see how and watch the millennial renters flock.
14. Shared car services
According to some studies up to 56% of Gen Y and Gen Z were open to sharing rides. Flexibility in transportation is super important to millennial renters. They may use their bikes and public transportation more, but they want to know they have options. On the rare occasion they need to travel to an area that can’t be reached by those means, a shared car is very valuable. Check out Zipcar to see how you can bring shared car services to your multifamily property.
15. Electric car charging stations
If the environmentally conscious millennial decides to own a car, many look to hybrid and electric vehicles to minimize their carbon footprint. In fact, there have been 416,941 total electric drive vehicle sales from Jan. to Oct. of 2015 according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association. Having charging stations would be a big attraction. Look to places like ChargePoint to install for you or if you have an in house handyman you could always buy a few from Home Depot.
16. Recycling services
Many studies have actually found that millennials recycle less than boomers. So why are we suggesting this amenity to attract millennial renters? They are still very invested in environmental issues and we believe they only recycle less because many rental properties don’t make it easy for them. Offering to bring recycling services straight to their door, even if it costs extra, will be totally worth it in their eyes.
17. Valet trash
Millennials LOVE convenience and there is nothing more convenient than avoiding the daily walk to the dumpster. Valet trash has become an amenity many properties are offering and young renters appreciate the service. Valet Waste is one of the most popular service providers and they also offer doorstep recycling collection services.
18. Comfortable outdoor areas
If the potential tenant is sacrificing in square footage or personal outdoor space a great communal outdoor area is the way to go. Splurge on nice outdoor furniture, install a fire pit for year round use, and think about using rooftop space for great views. It’s important to give millennial renters a comfortable space to gather with a group of friends. It also pairs really well with community wide wifi as a lot of Gen Y have more flexible jobs that allow for working from home.
19. Community perks
This isn’t quite an amenity, but community perks can really help sell a potential millennial renter. Think about hosting yoga classes, holding a summer BBQ, or having a food truck come once a month. Bringing these sort of perks to an apartment can really make up for being a little further away from the city or a cool neighborhood.
20. Energized public spaces
Most apartments come with the standard business room and a communal space with a TV. Honestly though, most people don’t need the business room anymore. Sure they may need a printer or scanner here and there, but for the most part they have their own computers and can print/scan things at their office. Move toward an all around media center with satellite TV to watch big games on, a coffee bar for a morning pick-me-up, and a few office gadgets. Think more like a hotel lobby and less like an internet cafe with attached sitting area.
It is really important to attract and retain millennial renters (and eventually Gen Z renters) because of their longevity in renter status. We know all of these won’t suit every millennial, but they can really improve your odds if you are sitting between those trendy neighborhoods. Obviously don’t feel like you have to have all of them, but a handful together are enough to perk young renters ears.