It’s no wonder today’s college student renter expects their next off-campus apartment home to look like it was just featured on HGTV. Millennials are infatuated with decorating and creating a sense of space they can call their own, even if it is just a temporary home away from home. They browse countless Pinterest boards and spend time watching home improvement shows to find creativity and inspiration. Ultimately they crave to create functional, designer rooms. Much like their infatuation with technology, they are up to speed on all the latest trends in creative living spaces to enhance their quality of life.
As owners, developers and managers in student housing, we spend a great deal of time researching the latest trends for community improvements with features and amenities. While the overall community enhancements provides a “wow” factor for marketing collateral and improves the asset value, there are other areas of your community that should be taken into consideration for renovations and improvements. In fact, the greatest opportunity in attracting today’s student renter and retaining them through community enhancements lies where they actually live… in the apartment themselves!
You may be asking, what are some renovation ideas that will create value, retention and attraction to your off-campus community? Here are my top 4 recommendations for impactful interior enhancements to accommodate today’s student renter’s expectations.
When considering renewal or leasing incentives such as rent discounts, gift cards or other concessions, try customizing their space as part of the “leasing package." Allowing them to choose a few options to enhance and improve their living spaces will be much more memorable than a gift card or one time discount. This space is where they come home to each day. Make them feel it’s about them and the freedom to make this space their own!
If the word luxurious is currently used to describe your apartments to students, you may want to reconsider. Millennials speak another language; instead they use words like useful or functional to describe their space. Actually, functional is the new cool for millennials. They truly are searching for more customization in where they live rather than a “cookie-cutter” approach. It’s a desire and expectation for them to give their individual rooms a purpose with the ability to customize their style of living. Just as abundant closet space, private baths and large open spaces are popular, so are style of furniture, trendy accessories, technology and even design. What steps are you taking to move forward with the latest trends in renovations for the finicky, trend setting and creative generation?