How to appeal to the solo renter
The solo renter category recently took the lead as the fastest-growing segment of renters nationwide. Property managers can meet the needs of this multifamily resident group in a number of ways.
Understanding who lives alone
According to the data, 5.3 million baby boomers, 4.8 million millennials and 3.5 million gen X fall into the solo renter camp. The silent generation and gen Z each represent fewer than one million solo renters.
Some locations have seen recent surges in renters living alone, including Salt Lake City, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Philadelphia and Indianapolis.
Census data shows that solo renters are part of a larger, decades-long trend of American adults living alone:
“The U.S. Census shows that ‘solitaries’ made up 8 percent of all households in 1940. The share of solo households doubled to 18 percent in 1970 and more than tripled, to an estimated 29 percent, by 2022.”
Historians and social scientists point to a number of factors that have contributed to this trend, including adults marrying later, longer lifespans (and outliving one’s spouse) and a rise in economically independent women.
How property managers can attract solo renters
While multifamily property managers don’t need to understand the societal implications of the solo-living trend, they can benefit by catering to this large renter group.
Keep in mind that some solo renters live alone by choice while others have lost someone to death or divorce. In the latter group, loneliness and isolation can become a bigger factor. For both groups, creating a sense of community and belonging can go a long way toward attracting and retaining solo renters.
To attract solo renters:
- Offer smaller units balanced with attractive on-site amenities like coworking space and group fitness classes.
- Make security and safety top priority.
- Provide in-unit laundry and smart technology that makes life simpler.
- Create welcoming spaces for pets (yes, they really are like family).
- Curate community spaces that encourage solos to linger and to meet, if they want. Think libraries, gardens, movie rooms, coffee lounges and more.
- Make life easier with ride-share connections, bike parking, secure package delivery and more.
- Focus on a strong social media presence and a solo-friendly multifamily brand story.
- Ask for positive reviews from current residents, especially solo renters who have created strong friendships with their neighbors.
How to retain solo renters
Resident retention saves property managers time and effort in attracting new prospects, so it pays to consider what will help create a sense of comfort and loyalty among existing residents.
To retain solo renters, consider offering:
- Monthly social events that cater to a variety of interests. Think cooking, book clubs, neighborhood walking/bike tours, wine tasting, music/art events and more.
- An online community hub where neighbors can connect and meet.
- Concierge services that help solo renters find the services they need and entertainment they want.
- Ask for feedback. Get to know your solo renters’ wants and needs by surveying them periodically and asking for community-building ideas.
- Consider their budget. Stats show that solo renters need a higher income to afford an apartment on their own, so offer retention or referral perks, if possible.
Solo renters want to feel safe and welcome and they want to feel like they belong in your community. Remember that your solo renters will represent different generations, so think as carefully about your senior renters’ needs as the needs of young professionals.
Friendships result in greater retention
While the solo renter category continues to grow, those single renters are still social creatures. In fact, research shows that renters with friends on-site will renew leases far more often than those without neighbor friends:
“Research shows that 29% of renters who don’t know anyone in their community are likely to sign up for another year. But renters who know seven or more people in their community are 47% more likely to renew their leases.”
So, my dear property manager, your job extends well beyond maintaining apartment units and grounds. It’s just as important for you to encourage social interaction and a strong sense of community among residents.
Creating opportunities to connect
People want and need friends, and what better way for solos to meet fellow solo-living neighbors than a rousing game of table tennis or at a Friendsgiving celebration in the lounge?
Start with some multifamily holiday event ideas and build from there:
- Holiday photo shoot with pets. Provide the backdrop, props and maybe even the photographer.
- Cookie decorating party. Creating together brings people together.
- Rooftop cocktail hour by the fire pit. Create a warm, welcoming spot to gather on a random Tuesday.
- Hot chocolate bar in the lobby. Get people talking over marshmallows and candy canes.
- Volunteer events. Volunteering can reduce individuals’ sense of loneliness. These events can bring together residents and help them feel a sense of shared purpose.
- New year guided yoga or meditation event. Your quieter, more introspective residents want to meet people, too – trust us.
- Super Bowl gathering. Food and football is a no-brainer for properties in many sports cities.
Solo renters might live alone, but many of them want to be part of something bigger. You have the opportunity to bring people together and help create a stronger sense of connection for solo renters and everyone living (and working) in your multifamily community.
Get creative with how you bring people together – and let your team join in the fun. Remember that you and your team are part of the community. Might as well have a little fun and maybe connect with some new friends while you are at work, too.
Reach out to us to learn more about our full suite of multifamily branding, marketing and design services. We love working with community-oriented multifamily companies to elevate their brands.