How can landlords prepare their multifamily properties for Generation Z?
With all the buzz about Millennials, the real estate industry seems to have completely forgotten about Generation Z. Millennials may have failed to live up to the hype of bringing a massive wave of homeownership. Good for landlords, maybe not so good for that generation of renters in the long run. Meanwhile, Generation Z is already spreading their wings, are in the workforce, are in student housing and are looking for their own places to rent.
According to Forbes, Gen Z is even larger than Boomers or Millennials. Meaning landlords had better wake up to prepare for them as renters. It’s important to be able to appeal to them as a housing solution, connect and meet their needs. So, what does that look like?
Ride Sharing Please, But Don’t Kill the Parking Yet
Generation Z has grown up on Uber. Many have been taking Uber to school and their friend’s houses for years. However, it is important to understand the difference between want and need. With Lyft and Uber going public, you can expect them to become more expensive. At the same time cars and gas could be much less expensive soon. Many have used Uber as a necessity. They didn’t have driving licenses yet, or couldn’t afford their own car insurance. If you ask what they would like, many might choose the most obscenely fast and most gas-guzzling fast options on the market. So, while you might be able to reduce parking spaces to make room for more apartment units, erasing them altogether may be a little premature.
Social Media Moments
Generation Z lives and dies by social media. You are not going to find them on Facebook. Few may be on LinkedIn though they will demand great backdrops for Instagram and Snapchat.
Tech, Tech, Tech
Don’t expect them to use email or answer the phone much. Most communications will be by text message or social media, or app. Again, while technology-rich environments are what this generation lives on, it’s also important to remember how fast tech is changing and evolving. It may not be wise to stretch to get all of the latest tech features today, and then have no budget to upgrade when everything changes in two weeks from now. You also don’t want to alienate seniors and Generation X members in your communities. Unless you are only doing student housing, there is more stability in a good generational mix. Integrate whenever the opportunity comes up, but expect to keep upgrading as you go too.
Do keep in mind that this may be one of the most entrepreneurial generations. They are going to work from home or a community office, they’ll want flex leases, and don’t be surprised if they want to pay in Bitcoin.
Although many developers are going all out to try and impress with big spending on amenities, the number one need of these new renters is going to be affordability. They are just starting out. They have little to no savings, are just starting to earn and learn to manage money. They have a lot of likes, but they need an affordable place to live. That may even often mean roommates. It’s important apartment building operators are prepared to process their applications and help them while keeping rents within reason. That may be hard to do if you spend too much on over the top renovations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Zahller is the President of Park Capital Properties and resides in Asheville, NC. As a Multifamily Real Estate Investor and Syndicator, he founded Park Capital Properties in 2016 after 14 years involvement in real estate investment. He works with accredited investors and professionals who are interested in real estate investment, diversification, and financial freedom.
Bill has been flying since high school. His father was a Naval Aviator and Captain for TWA. Bill has been flying professionally for over 25 years, 23 of those at his current company. He has accumulated over 12,000 hours and 7 Jet type ratings. He has also held Instructor, IOE Instructor and NRFO pilot positions with a large fractional flight company. He is currently flying the Global 6000 in a long range mission capacity. This keeps it interesting – one week its Beijing or Sydney; the next Rio or Rome.
Bill is also the founder of the Asheville Multifamily Investor Club. Visit www.ParkCapitalProperties.com for more information.