Apartment Living BlogFeatured › Renting to Gen Z: Guide for Apartment Managers

For the forward-thinking apartment manager, it’s time to start planning for the next wave of renters: Gen Z. Also known as Post-Millennials or the iGeneration, this generation was born after 1995, and they’re under age 22. To put it in perspective, this generation has never known a world without Google.


While they currently make up 25.9% of the U.S. population, Gen Z is expected to account for 33% of the U.S. population by 2020. That’s a large group of potential renters that will be flooding the market.


Knowing the demographics and preferences of Gen Z allows apartment managers to develop a marketing strategy that highlights the amenities and lifestyle Gen Z is seeking and engage with them on the appropriate channels.


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What Does Gen Z Want in an Apartment?

Gen Z wants community spaces. They’re naturally collaborative, and common areas in apartment buildings are of particular interest to this generation. These areas should be multi-purpose, allowing for creativity, conversation and communal cooking, as well as coffee shop style-lounging. Less of interest are the traditional pool and fitness facilities that have been prioritized by other generations.


For this high-tech generation, digital connectivity is also very important. High-speed Wi-Fi access is critical. And because Gen Z is digital native, they’ll expect tech integration into their apartments with smart home features like smart locks, smart appliances, and learning thermostats. Adding USB ports and charging stations to common areas makes these areas more useful and adds to their potential as collaboration spaces.


Gen Z is typically value conscious, and renters are looking for a good deal. They’re used to a culture of instant coupons and online flash sales, and they look to leverage their tech skills by finding ways to save money.


However, expect Gen Z to have an expanded worldview with priorities that extend beyond the basics and the bottom line. They’re looking for environmentally responsible buildings and amenities. And they’re more likely to rent from companies that demonstrate social responsibility.



How Can You Attract Gen Z to Your Apartment Community?

One of the most important aspects of attracting Gen Z renters is to keep it casual. Gen Z is not interested in corporate professionalism or cookie cutter responses to messages. Use friendly and informal language when communicating. To reach Gen Z, connect on personal social platforms like Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. And avoid picture-perfect apartment staging when advertising available listings on sites like ForRentUniversity, which provides off-campus housing for Gen Z students.


Remember that visual impact is everything, and be sure to use strong visuals like videos and photos. About 50% of Gen Z turn to YouTube to learn about new products, so be sure to maintain your social media accounts with valuable content and use video tours to highlight the community’s amenities and neighborhoods. If you don’t have video production skills, don’t worry. ForRent.com can help with apartment videos, 3D floor plans, aerial photos and more.


If you want to be sure that you’re connecting with the Gen Z audience, one way to do it is hiring a Gen Z employee. This employee can then actively participate in peer-level interactive social networking. Because 81% of Gen Z uses social media as a resource, it’s an effective communications strategy to meet people where they are.


With social media playing a major role in how potential renters research and communicate, it’s extremely important that you actively manage your reputation. Gen Z trusts the advice of friends or strangers more than authority figures, so a bad review online can cause significant damage to your bottom line. In fact, ForRent.com’s 2017 Apartment Searching in the Digital Age survey of 18-24 year old renters found that a community’s ratings and reviews were a top priority in deciding on an apartment, second only to apartment cost. Be sure to regularly groom your online presence and ratings, and remember that managing online reputation and etiquette is not without rules. Learn today’s best practices with these top 10 reputation management tips for apartment professionals.


Working With Prospective Gen Z Residents

After successfully attracting Gen Z renters, the next step is to show your property, sign the lease and have a successful rental relationship.


Start by catering to their interests when giving apartment tours. For example, 82% of Gen Z lives with someone else, so prepare to cater to roommates. It’s also a generation of foodies, so when showing the apartment, highlight nearby food hotspots.


Communication style is important for Gen Z. Whether it’s during the application process or after they’ve signed a lease, Gen Z expects quick responses and real-time engagement. While it can seem challenging to keep up with these fast-paced messages, apartment managers can leverage tools to streamline communications, such as ForRent.com’s Community Messenger texting platform. From sharing marketing materials and floor plans with prospective renters to texting announcements to your community about events or maintenance alerts, the platform can help you keep your communications organized and flowing at the speed that Gen Z expects.


And for working with the tech-savvy Gen Z, don’t forget to implement a digital document process. Having a platform that’s mobile-friendly where leases and documents can be signed will become the standard of what Gen Z expects from an apartment rental.


Explore ForRent.com’s marketing solutions designed to drive leads, build your brand and retain residents by visiting https://www.forrent.com/solutions/.



Wendy Froehlich


Wendy Froehlich, VP of Marketing, joined ForRent.com in 2006 and is responsible for overseeing national marketing initiatives including events, sales materials and promotions, advertising, and other digital marketing efforts. Prior to joining ForRent, Wendy worked for PolyVision Corporation – a division of Steelcase, Coca-Cola Fountain and many years in account services for HCD Advertising in Atlanta, GA and Virginia Beach, VA.

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