How to rent to young professionals

by CRE02 Jul 2015
Young professionals have a reputation for being clean, quiet and employed. They pay rent on time and are non-hazardous to rental units. There will be exceptions to every rule, but most of the time these tenants will make life a lot easier on you as a landlord.

When considering what features to highlight for young professionals, keep it simple. Focus on the space, the commute and the neighbourhood.

The space

Millennials and young professionals like a place they can be proud of and enjoy showing off – think social media and selfies. This doesn’t mean it has to be extravagant, but it should be a space where they feel comfortable and are proud to show off to family, friends and dates.

1. Open concept. The size of the space is surprisingly subjective. Smaller spaces are not the end of the world. However, a dark or closed-off space is definitely a problem. If the space is dark or broken-up, a new paint job with light and neutral colours will make the space feel much bigger and brighter.

2. Outdoor space. Examples of outdoor social spaces include backyards or a balcony. These will act as extensions of the unit and will make the rental appear larger in size with greater appeal.

3. On-site laundry (preferably “free”). No one wants to go off-site for laundry and looking for change every laundry day can be a hassle. If you have laundry services available and it’s free to use, this will go a long way to attracting more tenants.

The commute

Access is king. It is no secret that young professionals like to live close to their workplaces. Therefore, access to public transportation or arterial roads for an easy commute is very important.

Be specific about the location. If tenants are serious about your unit, they are going to do a quick directions search on Google to estimate the path and commute time. This will have a large impact on their decision.

The neighbourhood

Social venues and places to hang out are important to young professionals. They have some extra income and want to spend it. Walk-friendly areas, grocery stores, bars and restaurants are all important.

In your ads, add a link to the walkscore page associated with your address. This will instantly give tenants a detailed list of what’s within walking distance, including: groceries, restaurants, bars and stores.

Include better photos in your post

It’s amazing how many apartment ads online still don’t include photos. This, of course, is a great way to significantly reduce the number of potential applicants.

Take photos during the day when there is natural light available and make sure the unit is clean and tidy. Don’t bother with “virtual tours” since they are essentially just slow slideshows. Think of this as online shopping for apartments. If Amazon doesn’t do it, you shouldn’t do it either.

Scrolling through photos is second nature. Don’t worry about being studio quality, but aim to highlight the key features of the rental unit and showcase the layout. Just one picture of an empty bedroom isn’t enough.

A few really good images highlighting the space is very appealing. Keep in mind that photos of kitchens and bathrooms are key to attracting tenant interest.

A few miscellaneous tips

The Internet isn’t just an amenity for young professionals, it’s a utility. It’s part of many products and services that are used everyday and it will be given a high level of importance.

Many young professionals like to cook and enjoy spending time in the kitchen. If you can highlight why the kitchen is great than don’t hold back.

Create a cool place to store bikes or hobby gear. If you have the room, add some wall mounts inside the front door for easy storage.
Michael Rix is a co-founder of TurnKii, a Toronto-based company providing an all-in-one tool and service to support everyday landlords/real estate investors.

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