Over the last decade, the demand for rental properties has been on the rise. The Great Recession of 2008 had a lot to do with that — people are afraid to spend money. They lost homes and jobs that year, or they watched their parents and grandparents lose homes and employment, and they don’t want to go through it again.
And now, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has added to those fears. People are cautious about spending money and making long-term financial commitments. Instead of buying homes, they’re renting them, no matter their age, economic status, or the type of job they have. Ask any expert, and they’ll tell you that COVID-19 had a significant impact on how renters will interact with the market in 2021 and maybe even beyond. Take a look at some of the changes you’ll likely see as a property manager.
College Students Will Need More Off-Campus Housing
Two of the most significant changes, almost every family in the country experienced this year were working and attending school from home. This was especially true for college students who had to leave their dorms and campuses and return home to live with their parents or look for off-campus housing.
As the 2020-2021 school year ramps up, many colleges and universities remain closed or limited. If they are opening up, they’re offering students a choice between learning online or coming to campus. And if they see a resurgence in COVID-19 numbers, they’re likely to shut down again. Some students may just feel safer staying in off-campus apartments rather than a dorm room.
For this reason, property managers, especially those with multifamily housing options near college campuses, may want to consider catering to students and their parents. That means offering flexible options that don’t require students and parents to make a year-long commitment. You may even consider college packages that include a nine-month lease, or even month-by-month leasing, and other options, like furnished apartments or furniture rental.
Gen Z Prefers Renting to Buying Right Now
But property managers shouldn’t just cater to college students. Those who have graduated and started their careers prefer renting to buying right now too. These are the young adults who saw what the 2008 recession did to their parents and grandparents, and they’re fearful of it happening to them, especially after going through the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of buying a home, they’re focusing on paying down student loans and saving up for a rainy day. They don’t like the idea of being tied down to one location anyway. And the world is making that easier for them. Jobs are more globalized now, and more people are working from home full- or part-time rather than going into the office from nine to five each day.
Co-Living in Big Cities
Let’s face it: It’s not cheap to rent an apartment or condo in a major US city. As rental prices have risen over the last few years, so has the trend of co-living. Generally, young professionals seek roommates to share their shared spaces and bills with, so that they have more cash on hand. But in a world with everyone practicing social distancing and valuing their personal freedom, how do you continue this practice?
Many renters will give up their roommates and their big-city apartments for a cheaper place in the suburbs, especially now that they may be working from home and don’t have to be in the office each day. As a matter of fact, suburban rentals are seeing high levels of growth right now.
But not everyone is working from home or ready to leave the conveniences of city life behind. These are the people who will need to find new ways to share space with their roommates. For example, if two or three roommates are now working from home, they’ll need to find a way to share the office space or convert another part of the house into a home office. Offering properties that allow for multiple roommates to co-exist while still enjoying their own privacy is a must. Show condos with furnished offices that can accommodate two or three people or apartments where the living room has become more of a multifunctional space.
One of the biggest things property managers can do to attract new renters in 2021 is to show how flexible they can be. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Even when people do feel more comfortable returning to their everyday lives, they’re likely to be hesitant to make permanent decisions about the future. They may have lost their jobs or investments, even if it was just temporary, and they’re afraid it will happen again. They don’t want to be tied to a lease. They don’t want to be connected to burdensome belongings. They’re just looking for a comfortable space to live and make plans for the future while navigating how the economy and the public health situation will affect that.
First, offer short-term rentals. This is an excellent option for those who are traveling for or those who work from home and just want a change of scenery. Second, make those short-term rentals even more appealing by furnishing them with rented furniture. When you rent furniture from CORT, you can pick out as much or as little as you need in any style you want. We deliver the items to your property, and you pay for them for as long as you need them. Once you’re finished, we’ll pick them up. This not only provides your renters with the flexibility they crave right now, but it also saves you time and money.
More Virtual Options
Finally, 2021 is going to be the year of virtual everything. From taking classes to doing your grocery shopping, everything is finding a way to go online if we do experience another pandemic. This should include almost everything you do as a property manager. Allow potential renters to take part in virtual tours, walk-throughs, and open houses. Allow them to fill out applications online. Now is the time for advanced technology, from virtual meeting apps to property management software to drones to help collect property footage. Get creative, and find ways to make your potential new residents feel like they’re right there on the property when they visit your website.
Don’t wait until 2021 to make changes. Start now by catering to the needs of your renters with furnished apartments and condos. You can find everything you need by visiting CORT Furniture Rental. Have your furniture and accessories delivered ASAP and improve your bottom line.