Millennials, now the largest living generation in the American workforce, are also the largest population of renters in the country, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. With nearly two thirds of the Millennial population choosing to rent, the demand for apartments is high. But so is competition.
Commercial property owners or managers who want to corner the Millennial market are wise to focus on technological amenities—especially those that deliver Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity. According to a recent survey by Schlage, 86 percent of Millennials are willing to pay up to 20 percent more for an apartment with smart technology.
If you’re buying a new property, look for one that has built-in smart technology. Otherwise, consider adding the following smart technology upgrades to your existing properties.
One of the most widely adopted smart home technologies, smart thermostats give renters access to their climate control from anywhere, at any time. These thermostats can be accessed and managed remotely, using Wi-Fi to connect to a user’s smartphone. Some even have the capability to sense when no one is home, and adjust the temperature accordingly to save energy.
Smart thermostats can save an average of 12 percent on electricity bills—a strong incentive for renters who are interested in saving money or the environment. If you provide utilities at no cost to the renter, then you’ll pocket the savings.
Smart Home Security System
For a generation accustomed to instant information, seeing is believing. When it comes to home security, they don’t want to wait for an alert—they want to check things out themselves. Smart home security systems offer a variety of remote capabilities, from remote access to camera views and controls, to video doorbells and activity notifications. And they’re much easier to use and manage than conventional home alarms—smart systems can be enabled or disabled from an app.
USB Plugs for Devices
Not all technology upgrades need to be big and expensive. USB ports built in to electrical sockets could be an exciting incentive for the 87 percent of Millennials who, according to Forbes, use multiple devices daily. That’s a lot of charging, and even more time spent searching for the right combination of charging cables and wall adapters!
USB outlets are relatively inexpensive and easy to change out yourself. For between about 15 and 25 dollars each, you can install these new outlets in common charging locations, such as the kitchen, living room and in bedrooms.
Sixty-one percent of respondents in the Schlage survey said they would likely choose an apartment because of smart locks, and 55 percent would pay more for an apartment with smart locks. Relatively easy to install, and moderately inexpensive (you can buy smart locks for around 200 dollars each), this is one smart technology that is sure to pay itself off.
Smart locks enable residents to come and go without a key, remotely lock and unlock their doors right from their smartphones, and receive notifications when people come and go. They will save you or your property manager so much time. No more 3:00 a.m. phone calls from residents who’ve locked themselves out!
Millennials are known to be early adopters of technology, but if their preferences are any indication of what’s to come in the broader consumer market, then it’s safe to assume that the Internet of Things will continue to grow. Given the growing trend of smart homes, these technologies will not only help you appeal to today’s millennial renters—they could improve the value of your property in the future.
Phil Karp is a 25-year real estate industry veteran and Senior Manager of Brokerage Services at Owners.com, a resource that simplifies the process of buying and selling a home. Phil is based in Atlanta and is passionate about finding tech upgrades that increase the value and enjoyment of a home for owners and renters alike.