Millennials have been grabbing headlines for the last decade, but there's a new generation coming of age. Generation Z is also known as the iGeneration. They're the folks born with smartphones in their hands, the generation that can't remember a time before the internet was around. Born between the years of the mid-90s and 2010, this generation is graduating college and renting apartments for the first time. It's up to smart property managers to discover how best to market to such folks, Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management says.
Embrace Digital Natives
While millennials might be tech savvy, those in Generation Z are true digital natives. Property managers should keep this in mind when building their websites and marketing to the next generation of tenants. Generation Z has been multitasking their entire lives and aren't keen to wait around for paper copies of applications. Make it easy for them to apply for vacant units, re-sign their lease or pay their bill all from their smartphones.
Like youth of any generation, Generation Z kids are eager to keep up with changing trends. With that in mind, it pays to stay flexible, even as a landlord. Offer ways to solicit feedback from these tenants to keep them engaged in your community. You'll be surprised at the way their innovative ideas can revitalize your neighborhood.
Give Them Space
As with any other tenant, Generation Z folks like their privacy. They like their independence. They don't want their hands held. While it might be your instinct to coddle youngsters in their first rental, nobody appreciates being condescended to. Instead, treat your youngest tenants as you would any other, but be sure to exercise a bit more patience and understanding when they come to you with concerns or questions.
It's not just Generation Z tenants you should be considering when adjusting your business to meet their needs. Remember, too, that you'll likely have recent college graduates joining your management team. Keep in mind that these youngsters have early memories of the 2008 recession and likely have a lot of anxiety about job security. Thankfully, because the economy is fairly healthy now, layoffs aren't likely to be a problem for their generation.
No matter how you embrace Generation Z's coming of age, make sure you do so with a friendly smile and an open mind. Regardless of differences between the generations, treating tenants and employees with respect and kindness will always be on trend!
- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management
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