Straight out of college and with a few more months under my lease, I was excited to go out into the world and find my own place. After talking two of my college girlfriends into renting a place together, my new roommates and I sought out what every graduate wants, freedom; the freedom to watch Netflix all night without my parents cutting off the WiFi, the freedom to make healthier lunch choices than top ramen, and the freedom to put on my business attire, get a job, and tell myself that I was officially an adult. Admittedly, I was a little ahead of myself. Renting a home with my roommates would be a lot more challenging than I expected.
The internet offered us pages of potential rental listings, but once we narrowed it down to what we all wanted the information listed was vague, had no pictures of the property, and offered no contact information. A lot of the times we’d have to google the property address or contact name just to see if the property’s utilities or appliances were listed elsewhere. After getting our emails ignored and told that they “only rent to families”, we were able to book a few viewings and leave with applications.
Throughout the process of searching for a rental, it became obvious that each one of my roommates wanted one thing over another. As roommates, we had to compromise based on how much one person could afford or another person’s comfort zone. While the rental criteria of a millennial applicant might fluctuate, one thing does not. By making the process easier, applicants my age would apply.
- Millennials Live in the Digital Space
Oftentimes there are multiple roommates applying for one unit who, especially amongst college students, do not live in the same area. Cutting out the process of scanning and emailing paper applications, as well as the orchestration of a collective application fee check, motivates millennials to apply. Online rental applications are not only easier, ecofriendly, and cost efficient, but they have proven to elicit a faster response time among millennials.
- Treat Your Sites as Complete Sales Tools
Checking your heavily frequented rental sites to make sure your listing information is correct and updated makes a big difference to applicants who only search online. When roommates band together each applicant will often have different financial situations and property needs. One applicant might need a low rent, while the other might want their future home within a certain proximity from work or school. Making information like the rent, deposit, location, utilities and appliances included (as well as pictures and contact information) accessible on your sites is more likely to improve the amount of quality leads you receive.
- Quick Responses Keep Applicants Interested
This might seem like a basic practice, but it’s surprisingly one of the biggest issues my roommates and I had when it came to applying for properties. Regardless of whether you prefer emails or calls, if you want potential renters to apply then you have to make your contact information easily accessible and be responsive to inquiries. There’s nothing more deterring to a potential renter than unanswered emails and ignored voicemails over a property that excites them.
As a lot of millennials are applying for the first time, it’s important to try to keep the applicant’s excitement by not only giving them the information they need to make a decision, but by making the entire process simple and easy. Regardless of whether or not the applicant gets approved, a polite and timely response is better than no response and can impact your reputation depending on their experience. While the allure of parental freedom will continue to attract millennials to rent, it’s up to you to engage with this new generation of applicants.