If there’s anything property managers are learning about the current market, it’s that everything is moving to digital. From resident portals to smart proptech amenities in the home, young renters want things to be fast, easy and mobile friendly. This matters most when marketing properties to young renters, who will make up the majority of all renters by 2030. All this is to say, if you want your business to thrive over the next decade and beyond, you’ll need to keep up with the times! (We all do.) And that means making leasing as easy as buying crypto.
Don’t worry, we’ll explain.
What is cryptocurrency?
For the uninitiated, cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual form of currency based on a decentralized network known as a blockchain. That’s about as deep into it as we’ll go. This form of currency isn’t regulated by banks or government, so its value is determined purely by consumer interest. It doesn’t have widespread use today, but some think it’s the currency of the future. Others are more skeptical, but we’re not here to engage in that debate!
Young people drive the trend
Over 31% of young adults aged 18 to 29 have bought cryptocurrency. It’s especially popular among men in that age group, of whom over 43% have purchased it. If you can make leasing as easy as buying crypto, you’ll be tapping into a process that clicks with millennial and Gen Z renters.
How’s that, exactly? Good question. To answer, we’ll look at how both crypto and the rental industry:
- Represent freedom for new renters
- Are driven by a sense of fairness
- Create positive online social experiences
Like crypto, renting represents (digital) freedom
When young people rent their first apartment, they’re often getting their first true taste of independence away from home. This is also part of why cryptocurrency is so popular: many young people see it as an important part of their independent future. And this future is digital.
Even if you don’t agree with them, it’s easy to see how they got there. Gen Z and millennials under 30 barely knew of a world without the internet. They spend a lot of time interacting virtually, and in the age of direct deposit and online banking, brick-and-mortar institutions aren’t as integral to their lives.
This applies to how they rent as well. Give them the opportunity to sign leases electronically, and you’ll be speaking their language. The 2022 NMHC Renter Preferences Survey Report shows that 80% of prospects search for properties online. That’s why you want to be ready with guided or virtual tours as well as online leasing.
Take Online maintenance requests
When we talk about digital freedom, we need to talk about maintenance. Without photo documentation and instant online uploads, it can be difficult to assess the severity of a maintenance issue. A tenant can always try to describe the problem over the phone. But still, that’s less efficient than a maintenance request tool that’s integrated into the tenant portal. Let tenants snap a photo and send the request online. This is already a key service at properties nationwide, and it’s guaranteed to appeal to a generation raised by online interaction.
Young people care about fairness in all things
Between the mortgage crisis, rising wage inequality and even the economic volatility brought on by COVID-19, the last decade-plus has sparked debate around perceived flaws and injustices in our financial system. This may be felt especially hard by young people, who have been raised in almost constant economic turmoil. On the other hand, crypto has the ability to sidestep some of these issues. Banks and government can’t determine its worth. The power is with the people, and crypto buyers often feel empowered by this.
Which brings us to fairness in leasing. Gen Z is the most diverse generation ever, and they’re more concerned with equality than any previous generation. That’s also why you should clarify your resident screening methods, and why you do them, as part of your property marketing strategy. To make leasing easy (as buying crypto), Yardi Breeze and Yardi Breeze Premier can seamlessly integrate screening as part of the application process. Everything is automated. All you need to do is review the report.
Renting & crypto are both social experiences
Don’t underestimate the value of community for young renters. Traditionally, where and how people spend their money has been more or less private. That’s changed a little. Payment services like Venmo are also being used to pay rent (in addition to online tenant portals). They offer a social component that lets friends and followers see what you’re doing with your money. You can even buy crypto through the Venmo app.
The “fun” aspect of these activities is known as gamification: turning something dry and procedural into a more engaging, interactive activity. Online communities are spearheaded by young people who see scrolling through their friends’ payment history as a form of entertainment. So, in the same place where someone is digitally dropping off their rent, they might also poke around the social feed, comment on their friends’ interactions and just kind of hang out.
Your business can make leasing as easy as buying crypto
Gen Z and millennials have grown up online, and the next generation of renters is going to demand the same ease of use, transparency and flexibility that they get from other activities they enjoy. We used crypto as an example of a popular online activity for young people, but the point we really want to drive home is that no one can just rest on their laurels. Technology is changing fast. It’s going to fall on property managers and owners to invest in proptech that satisfies renter expectations.
This is all to say that the multifamily industry has changed, and renters are demanding increased flexibility. Generally speaking, that means making most, if not all, rental services available online. To make it work, you’ll need the latest property management software, but you’ll also need to speak the next generation’s “language.”
Why not start by making leasing as easy as buying crypto?