How to Better Strategize Your Apartment Marketing With Millennial Renters

There’s a lot of talk these days in the apartment marketing community about millennial renters. Some define millennials as having entered young adulthood in the early 2000s, others as anyone who was born between 1980 and 2000. 

Regardless, this generation is often accused of being aloof, lazy, and unprincipled. They get married later, live with mom and dad longer, change jobs more often, and of course, they’re always posting selfies.

Well, the first three are true, but there’s more to millennial renters than hashtags, food pictures, and emojis. As Adam would say on the hit TV show Mythbusters, “We’re here to reject your reality and substitute our own.”

apartment marketing myths on millennial renters

Did you know that 12.3% of U.S. millennial renters in 2019 plan to “always rent,” up from 10.7% in 2018? In some metropolitan cities, 1 in 5 millennial renters expect to rent forever. Among millennial renters who plan to purchase a home eventually, 70% are waiting because they cannot afford it, and 33% say they are not ready to settle into a home yet. 

Whatever the reason, the point is that millennials are renting longer and postponing the permanence of owning a home until later in life. This means millennial renters offer a significant opportunity for apartment communities to increase leases and maintain resident retention.

If multifamily brands want to get a piece of this significant portion of the market, multifamily marketers will need to abandon these five myths about millennial renters.

Myth 1: Millennial Renters Are Lazy

People often cast others who do things differently as doing things incorrectly. Just because millennial renters have different lifestyle patterns than their parents did, doesn’t mean that they’re lazy.

While it may appear that this generation is lazy, don’t jump to conclusions. The key aspect to keep in mind is that millennials are the digital generation, and as such, they value convenience. They see the potential of the Internet, mobile devices, and digital media in making apartment hunting and community connectedness more efficient. Take time to understand how their interests and lifestyle may differ from previous generations.

Resident Buyer Persona Worksheet 2

Myth 2: Millennial Renters Are Incompetent

When millennial renters have a question or don’t know how to do something, they ask Google. This is not a sign of incompetence, but quite the opposite. They, along with Gen Z renters, see the Internet as a great resource and wealth of information, and they’re constantly accessing it to make their lives and communications more efficient.

They’re also the most college-educated generation. They can see advertisements for what they are, and they know the Internet is a giant ruse of data collection. But they also know that it only helps everyone to make better, more informed decisions as renters, and it makes multifamily brands work harder for resident attention and loyalty.

Millennial lives and communications are fully documented online, which provides apartment marketing professionals with scores of valuable information. Use it to better understand, attract, and engage with this generation.

Myth 3: Millennial Renters Are All About the Selfie

People think that millennial renters are always engaged with a screen instead of the people around them. We have news for you: People have been avoiding human interaction long before iPhones, iPads, and SmartTVs. It just wasn’t as noticeable back then.

Consider Mom and Dad, each sitting at the breakfast table reading the newspaper rather than chatting with their child. Or, train passengers commuting to work, each with their head buried in their book or magazine, rather than hamming it up with their fellow passengers.

Millennial renters are a tech and social media savvy group that know how to make an impact on these platforms. To them, the Internet and social media are simply just another platform for news and communication (not so different from mediums like newspaper, television, etc.). Take the time to understand how they’re using these platforms and what motivates them to interact. You might be surprised.

Myth 4: Millennial Renters Have a Lack of Values

Apartment marketing professionals think millennial renters are fundamentally different from their parents. They’re really not. Like their parents, they value making a difference in the world, making a good living, and achieving professional success.

They’re more open-minded than generations before them, and they’re not afraid to advocate for what they believe. They’re holding businesses to certain standards — transparency, sustainability, community involvement — which they believe is a more responsible path to future growth and profitability.

Ultimately, there’s a new era of social responsibility, and those businesses that fail to recognize those values will fall by the wayside.

Myth 5: Millennial Renters Are Difficult to Market To

Google “marketing to millennials” and you’ll find countless articles, books, essays, even entire websites devoted to the subject. It’s like they’re some organism buried deep at the bottom of the Marianas Trench that is difficult to study, and no one really knows what they are or how to approach them. Contrarily, they’re very accessible and easy to engage.

Millennial renters require few things from the brands they will evangelize and promote:

  • Be real
  • Be transparent
  • Be a consumer advocate

They’ve already proven that these properties can be profitable. The relationship should be symbiotic. If you scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours. And they’ll probably post a selfie with your apartment community. Focus on cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship between property management and millennial renters. That starts with understanding what’s important to them. When you earn their trust, they can be fiercely loyal renters and your greatest brand advocates.

Just a little myth-busting for the apartment marketing world.

Resident Buyer Persona Worksheet 2