Do you own, or are you looking to buy, an investment property? If you answered yes, there’s a very good chance you’ll be renting to a millennial (those born between the 1980s and 2000s), as experts believe this age group is likely to be renting for longer than ever.
While previous generations typically rented for a few years before becoming homeowners, millennials are now renting for longer, with 10-plus years of tenancy no longer out of the ordinary, according to an analysis by real estate consultant and author John Burns.
This trend seems set to continue—and if you want to attract the cream of the renting crop, you need to know what millennials want from a landlord and a property.
Location, location, location
So they say. Location is an ever-present buzzword in the property industry. But what does this mean to a millennial?
Well, this generation is not so concerned with the white picket fence enclosing a spacious yard and great schools down the road. What they do want is ease of getting to both work and play, to facilitate their lifestyle.
- Is public transport easy to get to?
- Are bars and restaurants nearby?
- Is there nightlife accessible within a reasonable Uber-fare distance?
- Are there trendy cafés nearby for brunch the day following?
- Is there a gym that is open long hours within the area?
The more outdoorsy millennials will be drawn to attractions such as nearby parks with good bike tracks, or lakes and rivers for water sports or relaxation. But ultimately, they all crave convenience most of all.
And being in an area with NBN already rolled out doesn’t hurt. Which brings us to…
Since millennials rely mostly on mobile phones and home phones are on the way out, they are very unlikely to make do with living in a “black hole” spot. A lot of time is also spent on the Internet—whether to watch Netflix, play games with others around the world, or work from home, which more millennials are beginning to do—so access to a fast, reliable connection is a must.
Although there aren’t many places left without a decent mobile signal, having a weak Wi-Fi signal can be worse than having a broken stove of malfunctioning oven to some young adults, so keep connectivity top of mind.
A kitchen to live in
When millennials are at home, they still like to be social creatures—and a big thing they look for is the size of the kitchen. (Yes, size does matter!) They have more appliances to make a wider range of foods than previous generations: think green smoothies and pizza makers, and you start to get the picture.
They have regular gatherings in the kitchen. They need room, and storage, so they like breakfast bars or islands (don’t we all?). That said, all of this comes much further down the list than the first two points. Strive for location and connectivity first, then this list of wants kicks in.
Other desirable features to millennial renters:
- Storage, or that extra little room
An extra little room such as a study, storage room, sunroom, or nook that can be converted to a home gym, can be a big deal to a millennial.
- Green factor
Is it environmentally-friendly? Are there water-saving showerheads? Are the toilets low-flow and are the light bulbs energy-saving? Younger generations are becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the planet, so if you can demonstrate your eco-friendliness as a landlord it can be a massive factor in your favour.
- Pets welcome
Millennials are a pet-loving generation. Purchasing a property that is favourable to pets, such as a ground-floor unit with a small courtyard, may help you attract more tenants.
What extras can you offer, such as lawn and garden maintenance for the busy millennial who also has a “black thumb”, or appliances such as a washing machine or dryer? These little bonuses will help you attract top quality tenants, while also minimising your vacancy periods and maximising your rental income.
The bottom line? Millennials want it all—or at least, as much as possible, and they want it now. It’s more than likely that a millennial will flick through rental listings on their phone, so first impressions count more than ever. Keep convenience, a central location and connectivity top of mind, and you shouldn’t have a problem keeping your property rented on the regular.