The multifamily market has certainly evolved over the last several years. From the types of amenities renters demand, to an influx of new development, to rising competition, all these factors have an impact on property owners and the bottom-line profitability of a community.
This is why today, more than ever before, it is extremely important for property managers to ensure their properties are catering to the latest demands of millennial renters, one of the largest rental cohorts in the United States.
The influx of multifamily development in many markets across the nation has also increased competition for renters. It’s pertinent for property managers to truly understand the needs and wants of this demographic in order to drive leasing activity.
So, what are millennial renters looking for in their apartment communities and how can property managers ensure their properties standout amongst the competition?
Convenient service-based amenities
Millennials grew up in the digital age where access to whatever they needed could be found with a click of their fingertips whether on a computer, cell phone or now an app. This instant access has continued to evolve with ride sharing apps like Uber and food delivery apps like DoorDash, both of which make life more convenient for users.
Today’s renters are demanding the same in their apartment communities, especially the millennial and Gen Z demographics.
This includes everything from automated storage areas or lockers for packages, trash valet services, community dog parks and dog walking services, nest thermostats, and smart fitness equipment, among others. Renters continue to require amenities that bring ease to their lives, saving them time and money.
For example, renters today do not simply want an on-site gym facility. They are demanding a fitness and wellness center equipped with access to on-site yoga, zumba and other fitness classes or access to on-site personal trainers, or smart fitness equipment. This provides a convenience to residents that allows them to access services for which they would traditionally have to go off-site.
Along with fitness features, we’ve seen a rising demand for ride-sharing drop-off and pick-up zones. This amenity is well-received by millennial residents who rely on this form of transportation on the weekends, and some even daily, for their commute. This is a standout feature for prospective renters and plays a role in attracting and retaining residents.
Providing amenities that simplify the lives of residents can leave a lasting impact, giving property managers an increased retention rate, which is vital when competing with new developments.
Millennial renters are also demanding many amenities that are typically found in luxury hotels, such as dry cleaning drop-off and pick-up, concierge services for residents such as valet services, spa services, and grooming services for pets, among many others.
This type of hospitality-like service goes beyond the concierge services in themselves and into the superior customer service offered. Community managers and every employee at a community today needs to be thoroughly trained in providing superior hospitality-like customer service to residents at all times.
This includes fast response times, addressing and resolving needs quickly, being available and easily accessible for questions or concerns, etc.
With an influx of multifamily communities, property managers need to ensure their team is equipped with the skills to address resident requests and feedback with the same level of service these individuals would receive when staying at a luxury hotel. This aids in leaving a lasting impression for residents and makes the community standout amongst the competition.
For example, if an individual stays at a Marriott Hotel, whether it’s a higher-end Marriott or a Courtyard Marriott, they will receive the same level of service at every level. Today, the same applies to multifamily communities. Whether it’s a luxury apartment community or a more affordable community, the level of service is expected to be the same and residents are actively demanding this.
Overall, with increased demand for convenience amenities and concierge services, there comes an increased demand for superior customer service. Today’s renters want to be catered to and know that in their apartment community they will get amenities that make their lives easier and service that makes them stay.
Cindy Wick is regional vice president of Western National Property Management, the residential real estate management arm of Western National Group. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Western National Property Management currently oversees the management of 23,600 apartment units in 162 communities throughout Orange County, the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Northern California and Las Vegas.