First off, on behalf of myself and the other 100 million or so individuals in this country that fall into the category “Millennials,” I’d like to say you are welcome to every individual that is involved in the multifamily industry.  It is in large part thanks to us “Echo Boomers,” “Generation Next” members, or whatever other catchy slogan tag you’d like to attach, that the apartment industry has taken off, seeing lower vacancy rates than have been seen in years.

My generation is absolutely pro-rent, because after all, we were old enough to appreciate the housing crash and are pretty much content on forking out rent each month on an apartment.  With this point in mind, by not being weighed down with a mortgage payment, my generation is able to stay mobile for job seeking opportunities and at least try to save money, which is a necessity, because we are one of the most affected generations by the recession.  Now, just because my generation is actively looking for an apartment, it does not mean that we are just going to go out and decide to lease the first apartment that we see.  We are a different kind of consumer and us Generation Y renters are a unique bunch that have very specific things that we are looking for in an apartment itself, as well as in the community.

As opposed to just giving you a collaborative itemized list of what a Millennial renter is looking for in an apartment, I figured I would provide a little different perspective on the matter.  It just so happens that I will be in the market for a new apartment home this upcoming January and I am going to provide a few specifics of what I am looking for, because after all, my name is Justin Coleman and I am a Generation Y renter.

Square Footage.  I am not necessarily concerned with the exact square footage of an apartment.  I learned my lesson whenever I downsized from a 1,200 square foot apartment to a 600 square foot apartment that more size is neither necessarily better, nor is it even necessary since, like a large majority of individuals in my generation, I am not married and I do live by myself.  I just need enough space to comfortably contain all of my belongings and furniture, but at the same time, I don’t want to have to be side-stepping furniture in my living room, or having to stand on my bed in order to be able to open the drawers in my dresser.

Price.  This is a big one in my search.  I know the price range that I can financially afford and I also know the price range that I personally want to afford, so ideally, I want to find an apartment somewhere in the middle, but preferably more towards the personal side.  I don’t want to necessarily have to alter my lifestyle due to my apartment being so outrageously costly, so I am not trying to live above my means.  On the other hand I can justify paying a little bit more in rent if the community’s location can offer me the ability to save some money in other areas of my lifestyle, which I will discuss shortly.

Connectivity.  Connectivity in this particular context refers to technologically connected.  More specifically this is going to refer to both Internet accessibility and most importantly, cell phone signal strength.  In regards to the cell phone signal, I have never had an apartment with a land line, nor do I really have any intentions of changing this trend anytime in the future.  Therefore, it is pertinent that I have an apartment that has a strong cell phone signal to ensure I have no problems with service.  This is why any leasing agent that takes me on a tour of an apartment will see me with my cell phone out the whole time making sure I have signal all throughout the community.  When it comes to Internet accessibility, ideally, I just want to make sure the community is in a location where there are multiple Internet company options to avoid any sort of monopoly Internet company treatment I have seen at some communities I have been to in the past.  Also, if the community can have open access free Wifi in as many common areas as possible, this would be a huge plus.

Location.  Location is without a doubt the most important factor for me in my apartment search.  With living in a major metro area like Atlanta, which my generation is predominantly migrating towards areas like these, the location of where you live dictates your entire lifestyle and also determines additional expenses that may be factored into the living standard.  I am looking for a few specific things when it comes to the ideal location of my next apartment:  close proximity to at least one of the major interstates; walkability with shops, restaurants, public transportation, etc. nearby; most importantly, somewhere in the middle area of town where my office is located and where the airport is, since most of my driving consists of traveling to these two places.  Ultimately, I want to wastine as little time as possible on commuting, albeit to work, the grocery store, airport, friends houses, etc.  This is where I can justify spending a few more dollars on my rent if where I am considering living saves me time and money on transportation throughout the city.

These are just the four main things that I am looking for as I begin my apartment search, but every person will have their additional preferences as they go from community to community.  Obviously if you are a community owner, or involved in upper tiered management, most of these items on my list cannot necessarily be controlled or altered to appeal to every Generation Y member.  After all, your property is going to be located where it’s located, the price can only be altered so much, the square footage of apartments are not able to be changed and oftentimes, there is not a whole lot of control over the Internet situation at a community.  Regardless, every community is going to potentially appeal to someone based upon their interests and lifestyle demands and needs, so you need to concentrate on the things that can be controlled, especially how the community is sold.  On the other hand if you are a developer, or builder, then I’d probably take these interests listed above that I am looking for into consideration, because even though the other 100 million or so Generation Y members may not be looking for the exact same things as me, I’d be willing to bet most of them have similar desires.