With approximately 75.4 million baby boomers entering retirement over the next ten years, tapping into this market is crucial for multifamily housing. As the demographic moves into a post-career lifestyle and embraces newly emptied nests, many are opting to sell up and move into the rental market.
According to Rolf Pendall, director of the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, the shift of baby boomers turning to renting is a trend that’s not likely going away. In fact, a study from the Urban Institute found a reduction in the share of 55 to 64-year-olds owning homes since 1990. Older renters are likely seeing the benefit of pulling retirement money out of their larger homes and enjoying the ease, amenities and lessened repair responsibilities of retirement life.
However, marketing to the baby boomer generation is very different from the strategy you may be using to target millennials or Generation X. While the older generation may not embrace tech quite to the same level as their younger counterparts, they are getting savvier. At the same time, what may be considered “old-fashioned” touches are also appreciated by this demographic.
Four marketing suggestions
- The personal touch goes a long way
While your community may have a great Facebook page and convenient online rent payment portals, taking the time to connect with baby boomer renters on a personal level can give your apartment community a winning edge. Offer payment alternatives, such as a check drop-off, and send hand-written follow-up cards after site visits. Also, be prepared to put the time in to engage these prospective renters in conversations on their site visits.
- Don’t be afraid of the traditional
Forget trendy text-speak or acronyms here – this generation prefers plain English, and reading is something that retired baby boomers tend to enjoy. Think takeaway items: brochures, handouts or boomer-focused FAQs. Providing local and community information that appeals to an older renter can also go a long way. For example, offer a handout that includes details on local doctor and hospital options, nearby parks, social group gatherings, grocery stores and restaurants. Such a list can demonstrate the appeal of your community to a recent retiree with extra time on their hands.
- Highlight what makes renting great
Don’t forget, many of these older renters are probably making the switch from homeownership to renting. Highlighting community elements such as a great pool, an on-site, well-equipped gym, and speedy response time to service requests can help to ease them into the idea of becoming renters. Is your apartment community in a highly desirable location? Point out the cost comparison of renting versus a purchase or the cost of housing upkeep on a yearly basis.
- Be prepared for visitors
Baby boomers are likely to want to have regular visits from both kids and grandkids, and showing off what you can offer for their visitors is a great way to pull in these retired renters. Amenities like a rentable clubhouse for large Thanksgiving dinners, playgrounds and extra parking are highly desirable for this demographic. Make sure they know that they’ll still be able to enjoy all the holidays without feeling cramped.
Want more tips on marketing to prospective renters? Check out our resources page for free, downloadable eBooks and guides.