Although you might assume that the millennial generation represents your ideal audience as a landlord, the reality is that there’s another demographic that has become immensely important to property owners: Baby Boomers.
Despite the fact that many people in their 50s and 60s might own property, the pressure to downsize is palpable. In fact, older people are starting to dominate the rental market, particularly in large cities. For many, it can be a more affordable way to live that relieves them of unwanted responsibilities. And while they may pay 2% of their home’s selling price in closing costs and other commission fees, renting as a senior may offer more benefits than drawbacks.
With that in mind, it makes a lot of sense to market your available rental properties to older renters. Although you can’t engage in any discriminatory practices based on age when choosing a tenant, there are some ways you can make your units more appealing to empty nesters. Here are a few tips to consider.
Add a Bedroom (Or Two)
Regardless of whether your prospective tenant is married or single (and it could be a toss-up, since there’s a divorce that occurs every 36 seconds), it’s likely that an older renter will be looking for a more spacious unit. While someone in their early 20s may be fine with a one-bedroom or studio apartment, empty nesters probably won’t want to downsize quite that much. If space permits, it may pay off to add a second (or third) bedroom to your available units. Since older renters may have more to spend each month on their rent payments, they’ll probably be willing to pay a higher price for a unit that can accommodate overnight guests or offer a home office. And if you have available units that already have multiple bedrooms, you’ll definitely want to highlight those listings in traditional print ads.
Include Maintenance and Amenities
Generally speaking, older renters can afford to be a bit pickier about where they choose to live. Although it can take anywhere from six to 12 months for a property to sell, they might not be in a hurry to rent the first unit they see — especially if it doesn’t offer the perks they’re looking for. In many cases, older tenants will pick a rental property that is centrally located and that offers at least some help with maintenance. Since many seniors want to avoid performing upkeep themselves, you might consider offering landscaping services or opting for a design that doesn’t require any real maintenance. Perks like smart thermostats, accessible design, and attractive kitchens and bathrooms will go a long way. And if the unit is located within a larger community, amenities like on-site laundry, exercise facilities, pools, dog parks, security, wireless internet, and more will help ensure that tenants feel like they’re getting a lot for their money.
Connect With Pertinent Organizations
If you want to appeal to empty nesters, you need to know how to connect with them. While millennials may look for apartment listings online, older renters may be more likely to look in newspapers, magazines, or even e-newsletters. In addition to spending your advertising budget in a way that makes sense, you should also think about teaming up with local organizations that are popular for people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. This might include community centers, religious organizations, golf and fitness clubs, or non-profits, among others. You could even sponsor an event or work out a mutually beneficial deal that will get your name out there to the right demographic. If you can be included in their newsletter or mentioned on their website, that can also go a long way in boosting your reputation among your target audience.
Harvard’s Joint Housing Center estimates that one out of three U.S. households will be headed by someone over the age of 65 by 2035 — and since older people are renting at a higher rate than ever, it makes sense that you’d want to appeal to this demographic. While it may take a bit of extra work on your part, that work can really pay off. Older tenants aren’t likely to move as frequently and will generally be more responsible than younger renters, meaning that you may not have as many issues that disrupt your daily responsibilities. With these tips in mind, you can more effectively market your properties and ensure they catch the interest of empty nesters.
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