What Renters Want with Jessica Fiur: 5 Secrets to Appeal to Boomers Who Are Looking to Downsize

Baby Boomers are a huge part of the rental market right now. What are you doing to attract them?

By Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor

jfiur thumbnailMove over, Millennials. You may have cornered the market on Instagram filters and man buns and crippling student debt, but the multifamily industry isn’t all yours. In fact, many Baby Boomers are downsizing from houses to apartments. There are many reasons for this—maybe they want to be in an urban environment, close to restaurants and entertainment. Or maybe they want to move closer to their grown up kids or grandchildren. Or maybe they just don’t want to shovel their driveway or fix their toilet anymore. Whatever the reason, you certainly don’t want to miss out on this important demographic during leasing season.

So what should you highlight at your apartment community to appeal to Boomers who are looking to become renters? Here are some ideas.

Storage Space. You acquire a lot of stuff living in a house. And it’s hard to get rid of stuff. (It’s why I won’t let my mom throw out my old Beanie Baby collection. But, in fairness, that’s my nest egg.) So, while people do want to downsize, that doesn’t mean they want to get rid of everything—their lives—when they move into an apartment. Do your units have a ton of closet space? Show that off. Even better if there is additional storage space in the basement or somewhere else that can be locked for security for renters to either use for free or pay an additional fee. Hey, that rhymes! Anyway, knowing they can hold on to some of their cherished mementos will definitely appeal to renters.

Car_park_sensorParking. When you live in a house, you usually have a car. And just because you’ll be living in an apartment doesn’t mean you’ll want to get rid of Old Betsy. But no one wants to deal with street parking. If your community offers a covered lot or if each unit comes with an assigned space, that will easy a lot of potential residents’ minds. Also make note of any guest parking options offered, so they know that friends and family can easily visit.

Good location. It’s the first three rules of real estate, after all. (The fourth is something about about Fight Club, but I forget what.) For market-rate and luxury communities, residents, no matter what their age, want to be part of the action. Talk about nearby restaurants, shopping, cultural centers, etc. And highlight if the community is accessible by public transportation in case the residents did get rid of Old Betsy.

Wi-Fi. I don’t need to tell you that it’s not just Millennials who use Wi-Fi nowadays. (I don’t need to, but I will. Actually, I just did. You’re welcome.) This is an important feature for everyone. You know, so the baby boomers can video chat with their grand kids, like in this commercial.commercial

But, also, you know, for checking email, doing work, online shopping… But yeah, definitely for the grand kids.

Maintenance/amenities/social activities. One of the best parts of apartment living, especially after living in a house, is that someone else can change that fire alarm battery that’s been beeping for hours. Other big draws are the amenities—gyms, package management systems, etc. And community events provide a great way for people to stay social, which might appeal to your baby boomer prospects.

What other apartment aspects might attract Baby Boomer renters? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Post your comments on Facebook or send a tweet to @MHNOnline.