Defining Generation Z

It’s still not easy to pinpoint the exact dividing line between Millennials and Generation Z (Gen Z). It usually takes a few years to gain true perspective on the characteristics that separate one generation from another. Many historians suggest that Gen Z began with babies born at some point in the 1990s. Most important, the definition of Gen Z includes children who were born in and grew up with the Digital Age.

The members of this younger generation are now starting to look for their own first apartments—consider some trends that property managers need to know if they hope to attract the youngest adult renters.

Gen Z Won’t Write Checks

To understand how Gen Z will prefer to do business, it’s helpful to refer to this 2014 infographic about Millennial renters. A couple years ago, almost a quarter of Millennials said that they had never written a check, so it’s fair to assume that this percentage will increase for Gen Z. Basic checking accounts rarely even come with checkbooks anymore; debit and credit cards are now the norm.

To attract young adults, property managers need to offer online payment systems. In addition, Gen Z members prefer to communicate with property management via emails or text messages. If they don’t write checks, it’s also likely that they don’t check the mailbox daily; however, they check their phones multiple times throughout the day.

Gen Z Researches Online

According the infographic mentioned earlier, 75 percent of Millennial renters checked online reviews when they were shopping for a new home to rent. It’s fair to assume that the next generation will be even more likely to base their housing choices upon information they can find online.

Members of Generation Z may search review sites, social networks, and forums before they ever pick up the phone or schedule a visit. This makes it critical for property owners to invest in online reputation management if they hope to attract these young renters. For example, it’s important to gather positive reviews and to learn how to handle negative comments.

Gen Z Demands Connectivity

Certainly, college students will require the internet for their homework. However, almost all young adults want to connect their computers and phones in order to use them for entertainment, shopping, and communication. This means that cable internet services might not be enough. Gen Z members will also expect wireless reception.

Real estate agents used to say the first things that prospects checked were the kitchen and bathroom. With Gen Z, the first thing they may check is the number of bars they see on their phone screen. When properties can advertise fast internet speeds and good wireless reception, they are likely to gain a competitive edge with young adults.

Gen Z Pays More for Smart Apartments

Wakefield Research helped conduct a study to uncover some surprising preferences that younger renters might have. According to this study, Gen Z won’t just want online access for their computers and phones; in addition, they will also prefer all sorts of smart, connected appliances and devices.

Some examples might include smart thermostats that can help keep apartments comfortable and save money on power bills. Younger renters also have security concerns, and they might prefer the safety and convenience of electronic security systems and keyless locks.

Why Property Managers Should Care About Gen Z

The oldest members of Generation Z are entering the market and starting to shop around for their first apartments. Of course, their tastes aren’t so different from younger Millennials; but property owners and managers can secure their future business by learning more about their preferences and trying to accommodate them.