With our aging population, the demand for rental houses for seniors is growing and property management companies are taking notice. Statistics on seniors from the Census Bureau indicate that Americans aged 65 years and above will grow from 40 million to over 88.5 million in the next four decades. The majority of seniors prefer independent living to assisted living or a care facility which will mean an explosion in senior demand for rental properties in upcoming years.
According to a Harvard University report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies, American housing trends are shaping up to resemble those of Europe where more and more people are opting to rent rather than buy homes. The report also indicates that one effect of this trend is an increase in senior citizen’s opting to rent as the average population age goes up.
How property management companies can maximize returns with senior renters
As the demand for senior housing grows, it is important for property management companies to be strategic in order to make the most of the growing demand. This can be done in the following ways:
Emphasizing the green factor
Seniors care about environmental conservation, preserving their health and keeping utility costs low. For these reasons, property management companies should advertise green building rental properties or properties with green features to seniors. For example, use of solar energy rather than electricity and use of recycled water should be emphasized.
Provide extra services
As people age, many have health needs that require rehabilitation. It is an attractive feature for seniors to have health services available to them in the form of temporary rehabilitation when needed. The units with these extra services can be in one section or the units can be mixed with standard units. Healthcare specialists project a demand for temporary rehabilitation as penalties for hospitals that readmit patients for similar or related conditions are assessed by the Affordable Care Act.
While they appreciate independent living, many seniors struggle with loneliness. Property management companies should encourage seniors to rent in communities with a nice mix of families, singles and seniors to help them feel part of a community. Units should be walking distance to social activities in community facilities such as churches, community centers, shops, gyms, restaurants and other social amenities.
Letting seniors stay on
Seniors tend to be long-term renters. Property management companies will attract more seniors if they offer a long-term lease and provide features that help seniors retain their independence through Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) in independent units. Builders should consider larger bathrooms with wall-mounted supports, wide doors that wheelchairs can easily get through and in-walls buzzers or alarms to call for help. Smart houses with automated functions can also be great for seniors.
Offering practical and unique services
It would be a mistake to assume that seniors should or like to spend their time sitting around. It is healthy and enjoyable for them to participate in mentally and physically stimulating activities. Property management companies can attract seniors with recreation rooms, in-house gyms and swimming pools and by forming partnerships with a nearby gym or yoga center. An indoor/outdoor communal lounge area would also be a plus.
There is no doubt that senior living units are in demand and that the demand will keep growing. Property managers should be aware of the trend and what they can do to attract seniors to their units in the years to come.
Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996. Contact us today to see how we can help you find a rental property for your family or manage your rental properties.