The tenant populations have been younger for years. This makes sense given that many young Millennials and Gen Z are renting for the flexibility it allows them to save on their first home purchase. However, the fastest growing tenant demographics are surprising: Baby boomers and smart home equipment can attract this latest batch of tenants.
As the housing market nears the peak set just before the Great Recession, baby boomers are cashing in and selling their homes.
And instead of buying new ones with those profits, many choose to rent – either to wait for a bloated market or to enjoy the flexibility and amenities that they might not be able to afford if they wanted to buy. directly at current prices.
Accommodation sought by the aging population
Many of the amenities baby boomers want the most are built around the concept of “aging in place,” which involves modifying a home to allow older occupants to comfortably inhabit it for as long as possible.
With nursing homes and professional care facilities well outside the price range of most baby boomers, a comfortable rental is often the best and most affordable option.
Aging-in-place modifications, according to AssistedLiving.org, include wide doors suitable for wheelchairs, ramps instead of stairs at entry and exit points, details such as bars and safety strips to avoid falls in showers and tubs, and floor modifications to prevent travel and slipping. Unfortunately, all of these changes can be costly to make to a home, leading many Baby Boomers to seek them out in a rental.
Leverage smart technology – equipment can attract
Another set of features is almost sure to gain popularity among Boomer renters, and you might not think about it when considering accessibility or aging in place.
It’s common to think of digital natives (Gen Z in particular) as the biggest consumers of smart home technology. Yet the small benefits of smart home devices can turn into even bigger selling points for aging populations.
Smart home devices can offer as much comfort, convenience and security for older occupants as for younger ones, if not more.
In particular, smart home technology can provide these three benefits to aging residents and those who care for them:
Many older people are more than capable of living on their own, but a simple fall or accident can be life threatening when no one is there to help. Cameras in common areas (like a living room) help caregivers and loved ones check in and make sure older people are up and moving. In addition, there are many options that allow two-way communication if a resident does not pick up a phone or respond to messages.
These devices could very well save a life in an emergency, and they are even more important for residents with dementia and prone to straying from the safety and comfort of their homes. Monitored life safety services, such as smoke and carbon dioxide alarms and security systems, also add an extra layer of protection for older residents.
Many seniors have a fixed income, so saving money on utilities means a lot. According to data from the US Energy Information Administration, US households spent an average of $ 115.49 per month on energy in 2019. Heating and air conditioning account for almost half of that expenditure, which is why smart thermostats represent a good investment.
These energy efficient devices can reduce a home’s heating bill by up to 12% and its cooling costs by up to 15%. Plus, many smart devices these days adapt to a resident’s schedule over time and adjust temperature settings while the home is vacant. This means that the savings happen automatically without affecting anyone’s comfort level.
Saving money is great, but convenience is perhaps even more important for older residents who are not as mobile as they used to be. “Street-to-sofa” technology such as keyless entry can allow Baby Boomers to let deliveries or guests in without having to walk to the front door. Likewise, voice assistants allow them to adjust the thermostat, turn on the television, and play their favorite music without having to get up.
Additionally, wearable devices bring the convenience of voice assistants to residents’ wrists and help monitor important vital signs such as blood, oxygen, and pulse. These technologies may not sound groundbreaking, but they can have a big impact on an older person’s quality of life when used together.
Easy Essentials Baby Boomers Demand
Knowing that baby boomers care about the security, savings, and convenience of smart home technology, homeowners need to take specific steps to attract this growing tenant population. Baby boomers want easy devices they don’t have to worry about – and neither can you. Baby boomers want set and go technology and you can provide it.
The devices provide the basic smart home technology that the owner must install before a resident moves in. In addition, they provide a basic set of in-place aging services and allow residents to enhance their experience with additional devices such as cameras, wearable devices, and voice assistants.
Include these “in-demand amenities” in your suite of smart home amenities to attract your own baby boomers – and older millennials who demand these extras as well.
· Thermostats: Save money, keep residents comfortable, and stay ahead of maintenance needs to avoid higher costs.
· Leak sensors: Watch for common leak areas such as toilets and dishwashers to avoid major damage or mold growth that can threaten health.
· Water flow valves: Make sure low pressure leaks don’t go unnoticed, result in exorbitant water bills, and cause displacement of residents.
· Touch screen control: Provides reliable connectivity via cellular, enhances control with an easy-to-use touchscreen, and enables optional services such as monitored person safety.
· Keyless access from the sidewalk to the sofa: Allows residents to easily grant access to service providers and guests, and a full access history provides transparency and security.
A basic investment in smart home technology can be a smart strategy for property managers to attract as many potential tenants as possible.
Pick a smart real estate platform that has the products and service providers you need to make a unit fit and appeal to all kinds of different residents.
As the number of baby boomer renters increases, smart technology choices can mean the difference between a well-occupied property and a frustrating vacation for homeowners.
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