Pick up a paper or watch the news, and the narrative is very much in "Millennials are forced to rent" camp. But dig a little deeper, and it becomes clear that many choose to rent, as it fits their lifestyle.
Surveys have found that as much as 80% of renters have no desire to trade their rental home for an owned one. And it's not solely related to affordability either. Generation Rent mostly enjoys a lifestyle that fits in with the flexibility of renting.
Renting as a choice means more expectation too. That includes elements like high-quality homes, flexibility and pet-friendly property – and that's just scratching the surface. So, what do Millennials really think about renting?
Millennials think renting should be convenient
We live in an age where we can order a taxi, have food delivered to our door and control our entire finances in just a few clicks. Renting should be no different, whether it's renting a property for the first time or experiencing an in-life tenancy.
Convenience is key, with flexible search filters when looking for a home, using esign for contracts, easy document storing or reporting maintenance issues via an app or portal all an expectation. Renters want to simplify the tasks associated with renting and experience a process that flows effortlessly.
And renting should be digital-led
Many of those processes involved with renting can be digitised to provide a smarter way to rent a home. Millennials are tech-savvy, which means they expect initiatives led by technology. They believe that searching for a new home should be achievable without leaving their current place of residence.
Millennials have come to expect features like video walkthroughs, which allow them to view a property without physically attending. Communicating with a letting agent should also be effortless, and they want to have the option of securing a home instantly. Renters also expect agents to be up to date on the latest tech trends.
It should also be flexible
Renters are staying in rental properties for longer, even laying down roots. They create an environment for themselves that truly feels like home. Flexibility is a significant contributor to longer tenancies, with renters preferring the choice of staying somewhere for the long term, rather than it being forced on them.
Twenty-nine percent of renters desire tenancies that last for three years or longer, but they also want options. Which is why monthly and 12-month contracts also have their place in the rental ecosystem. Flexible options create happier renters, which, in turn, leads to longer tenancies.
Millennials think renting is a lifestyle
Renting is a lifestyle, and renters desire a holistic living experience. It's so much more than simply getting the keys to your first home, with community playing a fundamental role in the expectations of modern-day living.
From high-end apartments to renter-designed homes and on-site social spaces like lounges, gyms, cinema rooms and dining areas, there is a growing desire for premium living that encompasses the entire experience.
A rental property should be their home
Most importantly, renters expect properties to be their home – not merely somewhere to live. That means having the freedom to decorate a property to fit their tastes (within reason) and being able to furnish it, so it's moulded into their style.
Pets are also often part of the home, and so renters need options that allow them to move into somewhere with their little furry friends. Renters believe that finding a place for them and their pets shouldn't be a chore or require them to spend more securing a property that welcomes their pet.
2020 renting for Millennials
Millennials have normalised the process of renting, whether it's music, films, vehicles or homes. They think favourably of renting and have high expectations when it comes to homes. From searching for a property to in-life tenancy, they anticipate a fluid experience that enhances every aspect of living in a home.
As a letting agent, you need to be ready to respond to Millennials' thoughts in regards to renting. That includes being tech-savvy, listing homes that fit their lifestyle and working with landlords who offer flexibility. Doing so will mean that you're the agent Millennials associate themselves with.
The Millennial renter needs a Millennial-minded letting agent.