Baby Boomers, long the drivers of consumer culture in the United States., are no longer top of the pecking order. Millennials and Gen Z, the generation after them, have taken over! Millennials are now the largest of all living generations. Gen Z, mostly the children of the smaller Gen X, aren't far behind. And both generations are less likely to become homeowners, which makes them your target market.
Why aren't these younger generations buying homes the way their parents and grandparents did? It's partially an economy that has left them with flat wages and staggering college debt, but it's also a different set of values. Younger Millennials especially are driven more by experiences than ownership; they'd rather rent and let someone else deal with the hassles of maintenance than buy a house they have to deal with, in many cases. Buildium characterized them as a generation of "forever renters:"
"The combination of low savings rates, inflation, high interest rates, and the aversion to staying in one place permanently, is making 1 in 4 Millennials give up on home ownership. In 2018, by contrast, only 13.3% of Millennials expected to rent for the rest of their lives.
Millennials are relishing the upsides of renting too. Like the flexibility to relocate for career, travel, and family. They can upgrade proportionally to their income. It gives access to more amenities. There’s less maintenance, risk, and responsibility that comes with renting as well."
Along with that flexibility, great amenities, myriad payment options and digital-first experiences, from paperwork to payments, Millennials and Gen Z both look for places to live that align with their values. Top on that list? Sustainability. That means a lot of things, including walkability and bike access to areas around where they live.
That also includes conservation. They don't want to print anything - digitally signed leases and contracts are paramount. It's a faster way to do business that doesn't waste paper or put ink into landfills and water supplies.
They want to see things like LEED certifications, local energy efficiency grades, Energy Star-rated appliances, low flow showerheads and other sustainable features in their apartment buildings. Marketing the sustainability of your property will help attract these younger tenants, most of whom will be long term.
Some do's and don'ts when it comes to marketing your sustainability to potential residents:
- Don't make false claims. They will find out!
- Do actually pursue sustainable practices. Even if you're just getting started, taking steps toward conservation will impress younger potential tenants.
- Do remember to use social media when marketing your available residences. (NOT Facebook!)
- Do look for sustainable features you already have in place but might not think of to feature in listings and promotions. Sustainability isn't just EV charging stations or solar panels on the roof! Those things are great, but less sexy, everyday features like lower volume toilets, smart lighting, available recycling pickup and energy efficient appliances matter too.
- Do mention if you're using a Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS) to inspire your residents to conserve through accountability and education.
Attracting younger residents who are spending more of their income on where they live makes for a better bottom line. Highlighting sustainability practices in your marketing efforts is key to reaching that audience.
Livable and the Independent Rental Owner
Check out how you can use Livable’s tools to reduce how much energy and water your tenants use and recover up to 90% of your utility costs. Our Ratio Utility Billing System allows you to fairly bill your residents for their share of utility use, including Wi-Fi, water and electricity (no matter its source). We also help you educate residents so they are inspired to conserve resources.
We understand that Independent Rental Owners are one of the largest investor groups in the US – and one of the most underserved. We’re here to change that. Come save with us!