Where multifamily rentals are concerned, it’s not all about Millennials and those who comprise Generation Z. Much of it is, to be sure, because of the financial clout of those age groups. There is, however, far more to it than that. There is also the matter of smaller (yet significant) niche groups, and how a landlord might appeal to them.
There are a ton of these groups. A post on Leadinglandlord.com listed no fewer than 30, in fact — everything from traveling healthcare professionals to foreign exchange students, from cancer patients to parolees, from fire/flood victims to those with an animal in tow. It’s an exhaustive list, to be sure. (A personal favorite: Cryptocurrency-backed short-term rentals.)
A post on Tenantscreeningblog.com boiled it down to these four groups:
- High-end tenants;
- Long-term clients.
That’s far more manageable, and sensible. And let us focus in particular on women, who according to the post tend to make housing decisions for a couple, something also mentioned in a Los Angeles Times story, all the way back in 2007. Richardson Peterson, a psychiatrist specializing in investment psychology, pointed out in the piece that women “access their emotional center” — i.e., they tap into how they feel about a purchase — while men do not. Peterson was also quoted as saying that women use a “holistic approach” to making such decisions, a point amplified by Andrea Learned, author of the book Don’t Think Pink:
“Picture men like stick-figure drawings: They prefer Excel spread sheets. Women resemble the Michelin Man: They store the same facts as men but add layers of questions and research on top as well. They like to be psyched before the purchase.”
In sum, then, the old expression often applied to husbands — “happy wife, happy life” — can be amended as it applies to real estate: “Happy wife, happy realtor.” Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but you get the idea: You must appeal to females. And not only because they usually make the decisions for a couple; also because there are more single women in the rental market than ever before.
So while it is easy for the aforementioned blog to say women want security and safe parking, spacious bedrooms, nice kitchens (complete with high-end appliances and spiffy counters), it is a bit of an oversimplification. The truth is, they want it all. They want a place that speaks to them, that is not only functional but touches them on a visceral level. That’s the challenge facing landlords: setting forth the total female-friendly package.
Looking at the (slightly) larger picture, there is some overlap in the wants and needs of the four groups listed. Like women, executives and professionals want top-notch security. The latter group also yearns for fitness centers, as is also the case with high-end tenants. In addition, it’s notable that long-term tenants seek a more forgiving policy about pets, as ownership of same has become all the rage.
But there is one group whose needs stand above all others. And that should always be kept in mind.