Article from Multifamily Executive. Posted August 29, 2017. By Brian Croce
It’s no surprise that price and location are the two biggest factors for most renters in determining their next place to live, but in the first National Renters Index survey by Detroit-based property management company Village Green, respondents also indicated they want to live in a community that feels like a true home.
According to the report, which surveyed 1,000 renters nationwide (not Village Green–specific), the features renters seek most in a community are a “homey” look and feel (62%), that it “fits my lifestyle” (60%), the ability to issue a maintenance request online (52%), and high-end property amenities (52%), such as upgraded kitchens and bathrooms and hardwood floors.
The homey look and feel of the community was the top response for millennials (62%), Gen Xers (66%), and baby boomers (61%).
“The feedback from this National Renters Index serves as a call to us all that we need to be listening to our current and prospective renters about the amenities and experiences [they’re seeking] from their next rental experience,” said Diane Batayeh, CEO of Village Green, which operates in more than 30 U.S. cities, in a statement. “To maximize resident satisfaction, we need to ensure that renters [believe they’re] getting a special experience and living in an environment filled with sought-after amenities and the feel of home.”
When asked if they’d be willing to pay more if a community had smart-home technologies, 43% of millennials, 32% of Gen Xers, and 18% of boomers were interested.
And nearly 50% of millennials were willing to pay for high-end amenities, whereas only 28% of baby boomers were.
The index also asked where renters are looking for referrals and reviews as part of their search for their next home. Notably, 45% of renters said using third-party rental websites was important for their search, while 40% mentioned online review sites as key resources and influencers for their housing hunt. While reflecting on those figures, Village Green pointed to the increasing importance of effective social media strategies, both proactive and reactive.
Nearly 70% of renters research communities online at some point during the search process, according to the index. While the majority of searches are done prior to their visit to the communities, nearly 20% of renters conduct research when they are in the communities. Predictably, renting websites are the most common source where renters find information (65%), closely followed by community websites (60%).
When it comes to the reasons renters feel dissatisfied with their current communities, 50% cited undesirable neighbors, followed by rent (39%), and community environment (38%).
ABOUT THE INDEX
The first Village Green National Renters Index was conducted online, surveying 1,000 respondents in seven markets across the country (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Philadelphia). The survey was performed using SurveyMonkey and Research Now polls in February and March 2017. In order to qualify for the survey, participants were required to be active renters in a residential property.
Generational demographics were adopted from the Pew Research Center, which identifies the millennial generation as people born between 1981 and 1997. Generation X refers to people born between 1965 and 1980, and the baby boomer generation includes people born between 1946 and 1964.