Three generations of multi-family property residents. Baby boomers having coffee, millennials moving in, and a peace sign from generation Z

What’s the difference between a Baby Boomer and a Millennial? One of them never lets the grass grow under his feet, which explains why more than 58% of renters are Millennials.

No joke. Most Millennials rent, and coming up fast is Generation Z, the youngest and newest crop of renters.

That’s two generations of promising revenue for those who own or manage multi-family property. If that’s you, make these prospective young renters — or the ones you already have — feel welcomed. All it takes is knowing a little about what they care about and knowing the right ways to reach them.

Okay, before we dig into some details, it might be helpful to refresh your memory about the generation names and each time frame they were born in. Here’s a short list.

Generation Z – 1997 to 2012
Millennials – 1981 to 1996
Baby Boomers – 1946 to 1964

Do you know what each generation cares about?

Before we talk about the largest groups of renters, let’s glance at the iconic generation that was once the largest.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

As part of the TV generation, Baby Boomers watched hours of cartoons and sitcoms yet went on to be known as “workaholics.” When not working long hours, Boomers demonstrate independence, resourcefulness, confidence, and discipline. They adapt well, too. Remember, Baby Boomers shifted from typewriters to iPhones.

Traits of Baby Boomer:

  • Strong work ethic
  • Confident
  • Independent
  • Resourceful

Millennials (1981-1996)

Millennials believe in job hopping. They like the flexibility, unlike Baby Boomers who stayed on the same job until their hair turned gray. That’s one reason Millennials are more likely to rent and will keep doing so. They love options. They also love pets, so it’s no surprise Millennials are more likely to own a pet or want to have one soon. They can’t imagine a world without a pet or without technology or without trying to save the environment, which is their top concern, according to the Sustainability Management School.

Traits of Millennials:

  • Tech savvy
  • Environmentally aware
  • Pet lovers
  • Job hoppers

Generation Z (1997-2012)

Generation Z values money. Why? They saw their parents lose income from the market crash and the recession of 2008. Gen Zs never forgot it. How so? Most would choose a high-paying job before one they have a love for. That makes Baby Boomers clench their teeth. Anyway, that’s how Gen Zs are. They are also super tech-savvy, having grown up holding an electronic device, which could be why they shy from face-to-face contacts, preferring text messages or video chats. What they aren’t shy about is their support for animals. Hence, many Gen Zs are vegan. They love pets. In fact, 42% of pet owners are from Generation Z and Millennials, and 48% are likely to own a pet soon.

Traits of Generation Z:

  • Money wise
  • Super tech savvy
  • Video chat users
  • Animal lovers

That’s Millennials and Generation Z in a nutshell, yet there’s still one more thing you might be wondering about.

Millennial couple sitting between boxes in their new apartmentWhy do so many Millennials rent apartments?

High home prices! That’s one reason. Prices have gone through the roof in California, the third largest state in the U.S. In 2020, the median price of a home in the Golden State was $600,000, nearly 88% higher than the national median. Shocking, isn’t it? Millennials agree. They look like someone who’s seen a ghost when they look at the costs of owning a home, like the 20% down payment, maintenance, repairs, insurance, property taxes, home association fees. All that makes renting look like a great idea.

Besides the high price of a home, what’s another reason Millennials rent? The high cost of a college education. Many accrued debt by taking out loans, but they aren’t the only ones to do so. Approximately 44.7 million people in the U.S. with active student loans. How heavy is their load? Student loan borrowers graduate with an average $37,172 in student loan debt.

On a lighter note, Millennials are untamed and unwilling to be chained down to one thing or place. Most are like free spirits. They are mobile. A recent survey shows 73% of Millennials said they would move in the next 10 years.

Now you know something about the younger generations. Up next, let’s go over a few easy ways you can reach out to them, or make your young renters happier.

Young woman looking through pink donuts with party balloons in the backgroundHow to welcome Millennials and Generation Z

1. Use multiple digital channels

Offer live chat support. This features real-time customer service through chat. It can be done through your website or via mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and also CloudPano.

Like a race car driver expects a fast engine, younger generations expect live chat communication. It’s convenient. It’s easy. They prefer it for questions and answers. But, let’s not forget you, the multi-family property owner or manager. Live chat means less waiting compared to sending an email. It’s also easier than talking on the phone.

Offer virtual tours and views. What better way to engage young prospective renters than with 360 scenes? There are software platforms out there that let you do just that. Apps like CloudPano and Matterport offer 3-D views of your rental property, inside and out. Aside from 360 scenes, apps like Panoskin let you add still photography, videos and 3D floor plans.

Dive into social networks like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook. For musical fun, use Tik Tok. But a word of advice: Check the lyrics of any song you pick. With other digital channels, create stories that run 8 seconds or less. Okay, that’s easier said than done. Just keep in mind that Gen Zs have a short attention span.

2. Go Green.

The list of ways to go Green is super long, so we’ll give you just a few ideas. First, switch out the old-style flourescent light bulbs with Light Emitting Diode (LED). They’re free of hazardous solids, liquids and gasses. So, not only are LEDs safe for the environment, they’re easy on your budget, because they use less energy. You’ll save on electricity costs!

Use paints with zero VOCs, Volatile Organic Compounds, which can be toxic. Try zero VOC brands like Sherwin-Williams Harmony, Yolo Colorhouse or Behr. After you paint, post your Green achievement on your website. Nothing paints a prettier picture of an eco-friendly multi-family apartment.

Renovate with vinyl flooring made with only 100% virgin vinyl materials. That avoids harmful additives or chemicals in the flooring product. Pure vinyl also ensures the durability, stability and waterproof features of the flooring.

3. Inspire a sense of community.

You could motivate residents to stay longer with meetings, gatherings or social events. Topics could be something they care about, like eco-friendly renovations or a new pet-friendly policy, which brings us to our next tip.

4. Be pet friendly.

Show you care about pets because, doggone it, young generations care about pets. Residents with pets will notice you care and stay longer. They’ll stay up 46 months longer on average compared to only 18 months for residents without pets, according to Michelson Found Animals and HABRI. That equals more stable revenue for your property.

Offer pet amenities like pet washing stations. Supply mini waste bags for pets, or create a dog park. It could be a small grassy area with low fencing, but you’ll attract more residents, including younger ones.

Install vinyl flooring. Why? Many brands feature pet-friendly materials. For example, flooring by Urban Surfaces repels liquids. The planks won’t retain odors if pets have an “accident.” A tough surface layer protects against pet claws. By guarding against scratches, the floor’s beauty lasts for years, saving on replacements. Also take a look at our recent post on easy ways to turn your multi-family property into a pet-friendly haven.

A couple sitting together with their dog in their apartmentAre you ready to welcome younger generations?

You are! While Baby Boomers are sitting at home, Millennials and Generation Z keep moving and looking for a new and better place to live. Hurry! If you move fast, you can catch them, and make them feel right at home in your multi-family apartments!