Remember when the only conversation concerning Millennials had to do with how much they loved avocado toast and hated real-world responsibilities? Well, now they serve as the fastest growing segment of homeowners – and they come with a new set of expectations.
Millennials are currently the largest share of home buyers at 38%, and with the oldest Gen Z-er turning 24 this year, both generations will soon encompass the majority of the homeowner market. To stay competitive within the community association management space, it’s important to understand these two generations – who they are, how they wish to communicate, and what they expect from their digital experiences. This in turn will help you determine which features in homeowner engagement and property management are essential to your business.
Millennials: Broke, Burned Out, and Desperate for Connection
While Millennials are more educated than past generations, the paycheck hasn’t caught up with the diploma. Millennials on average earn 20% less than baby boomers did at the same stage in life, and with the current state of the economy, that gap is only expected to widen. The average millennial meagerly entered the workforce during the Great Recession, is still scrambling to pay off student loans, and is burning out fast from long work-from-home hours. It’s no wonder that this generation is facing a surge in depression and other mental health issues. Do you feel bad about all the avocado toast jokes yet?
Building community through technology is a powerful way to keep Millennials connected and engaged within an association, and this in turn will grow your company’s competitive edge. Ensuring that your HOAs are utilizing the events and reservations section of their websites while offering community-driven events are great ways to promote much-needed camaraderie.
As you acquire more Millennial homeowners, you will also find more Millennials joining your HOA boards. It’s important to consider what marketing messages drive Millennial audiences and how this comes into play for your acquisition strategy. Consider this, for instance: A whopping 97% on Millennials read online reviews before choosing to purchase a good or service. It’s imperative to respond to your own reviews on Google, whether they are good or bad, and to ask for a review when you receive positive feedback from an HOA board. Showcasing this authenticity and high level of service will go a long way in making a positive impression.
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Gen Z: The Digital Native is Here, No Cap
The first generation to grow up with the Internet is now old enough to order a drink, get a job, and own a house. And the digital native lifestyle of a Gen Z-er will certainly have an impact on the demands homeowners will have for your community association.
Similar to Millennials, Gen Z is also driven by community spirit and philanthropic events. Gen Z is also the most diverse generation in the United States to-date, and their yearning for diversity and inclusion inspires their Millennial counterparts. While Gen Z hasn’t faced the same setbacks as Millennials (they’re still young, after all), they have been witness to the economic impacts of the recession, student debt, and the global pandemic. This means that they yearn for the same community outreach as Millennials while also expecting a higher degree of flexibility in their everyday lives.
When it comes to technology, it should be no surprise that Gen Z is doing almost everything on their phone. Gen Z is far more likely to use their phone to perform everyday activities – such as shopping and watching television – than Millennials. This means that for any HOA in which they reside, they will expect that they’re able to perform everyday homeowner activities on their phone, whether they are making a payment or following up on a violation.
Preparing For Your Future Homeowners Today
While you don’t have to worry about learning a new TikTok dance to impress your future homeowners and HOA board members, there are some technological expectations that both Millennials and Gen Z-ers will have for their association.
For these generations, waiting around for the mail is a no-no. Broadcast email and texting capabilities, as well as individual messaging and email options, are necessary ways to work one-on-one with Millennial and Gen Z homeowners.
Millennials and Gen Z will expect that they are able to review ACC requests, record violations updates, and make payments from anywhere at any time. This means that a mobile-first approach to your homeowner and HOA board solution is a necessity. Mobile payment solutions should perform better or on par with a desktop experience.
Fragmented systems mean that it’s more likely homeowners will have to go from one site to another to make a payment, review a violation, and complete other tasks. For Millennials and Gen Z-ers, a seamless platform to complete everything in one place goes a long way in delivering quality service.
As discussed earlier, anything an association can do to embrace community and engagement will go a long way for both generations. Your web portals should highlight these programs through event calendars, online reservations, photo galleries, and broadcast message capabilities.
How CINC Helps You Stay On Track
An all-in-one SaaS-based solution like CINC Systems will help you stay ahead of the curve with tech-savvy homeowners. Here are a few key product features from CINC that create the seamless experience Gen Z’ers and Millennials know and love:
- Custom Homeowner App – Homeowners can manage everything on the go through a mobile application custom-branded to the association.
- Enhanced Homeowner Communications – Online homeowner portals, mass communication, and individual messaging make it easy to communicate with the right people whenever and wherever.
- Property Management Mobility – The CINC Manager app helps property and community managers complete all of their tasks right in their neighborhoods, from violations to ACC requests. Not only does this speed up communication for homeowners, but it allows more face-to-face time with your association, therefore improving customer satisfaction.
- Board Member Portal – Through CINC, board members have access to financials, communication tools, and budget information through their own custom-branded portal. This helps board members stay on track and up-to-date without having to constantly reach out to their community manager.
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Moving Into the Future
The expectations from our new and soon-to-be homeowners may feel overwhelming, but it’s quite simple – they need quick communication and seamless digital processes to feel satisfied with your services. If you’re interested in seeing how CINC’s digital experience can give you a competitive edge, check out our product tour and schedule time with us to see a custom demo.