Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why People Rent: Dispelling Some Common Misconceptions

If you rent, you do so because you can’t afford a home.  Or, you are just too young, and have no desire to own a home at this point in your life.  It is a misconception to think that these are the only – or even the most common – reasons for renting.

In a recent article picked up by the “Capital Business” section of The Washington Post, Tom Bozzuto, CEO of The Bozzuto Group, explains how the profile of today’s renter has changed along with the times.

“This is no longer the fifties,” Bozzuto says. “Many people rent in America as a matter of choice, not necessity. Many of these people love the flexibility renting provides. Many like that renting allows them to live in places where they couldn’t afford to buy.  These people, these renters, are contributing members of the community who hold full-time jobs, spend money, volunteer in their community and vote.”

Bozzuto also points out how the apartment dweller is marginalized in the political realm.  With the left focused only on subsidized housing and the right concentrating solely on the single-family home, little or no attention is given to the apartment renter.  This political mindset inevitably bleeds over into the private sector and affects the assumptions of the general public, as well.

While renters receive little attention from politicians, they are no small segment of the population.  Bozzuto estimates that between 30 and 40 percent of Americans rent.

For those in the industry of building, selling and managing apartments or multifamily housing developments, the “too young, too poor” assumption can be hugely detrimental to your marketing initiatives and can mislead your approach to interacting with potential and current clients.  Renters want to be treated with the same respect that potential homeowners receive.  And, what they really want is flexibility.

The need for flexibility of today’s renter tends to go beyond just their choice of housing.  It is a basic desire for choices, options and possibilities.  They want alternatives.  They have preferences. 

No doubt, this recent craving for choice has been largely fueled by the rapid advancements in personalized and mobile technology.  And, for developers of multifamily housing units, no area offers greater opportunities or greater challenges.

It is essential that your development is capable of accommodating the various technological preferences of your renters.  Can they choose their preferred service provider? Are your apartment amenities both Mac and PC compatible?

On the flip side, today’s technological capabilities provide an enormous range of ways to wow your potential clients.  Between jumbotrons in the pool area, state of the art entertainment rooms and hallways equipped with scent technology and mood lighting, there is no shortage of chances to impress your tenants.

The renters of today are smart.  And, they want to live in a Smart ApartmentTM.

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