Our property portfolios are no different to the management of any other business.  We need to insure that our balances actually balance, that our admin is in order, that the paperwork is legal and that our profit margins are higher than the equivalent stockmarket. A step into your financial insurance is to consider and research your potential target market.

To whom do you rent out your properties?

A large section of the rental market is that of the Millennials, those between 18-33.  These two generations, X & Y has taken a new approach to capitalism in the greater sense.  We can clearly see this in their eco-green lifestyle choices. Recycling is not enough for then, they now are one of the  first generations that are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly properties than those before them.

Strata research reported in 2013, 64% of young adults in the 18-33 age group said they were willing to pay higher rent rates to live in a green apartment community.

Let’s consider what Millennials want in their rental properties


1. Walkability

Walkability becomes very important for the millennial generation’s, it’s not just about the environment (saving fuel) but also the change in lifestyle walking forces.  This is an important key to understand as this explains the generations mindset.  This mindset could also think that a veg/communal garden may be a good idea.

Walkability involves proximity to shops, work, restaurants, parks and public transportation – any form of urbanism or social activity that does not require driving.


2.Recycling & Composting

Recycling is an easy and cheap green feature to add to any property business. Creating the recycle space/container will out way its cost and effort multiple times over. Recycling is also one of the easiest ways to feel that you are doing your part for the environment, give your tenants that opportunity too.

Why not also create a composting space if your property types allows for it.  Composting is a very cheap feature to add, and it will reduce your tenants refuge by more than half.

My household of 3 have reduced our refuses to 3 plastic bags/week. We use to have 3 black bags per week without the compost.


3.Insulating your property

It seems that South Africa builders has always been lacks on insulation, because the honest truth is that our insulation is atrocious.  Our warm summers and winters allow for this lack of craftsmanship.  With long hot summers and short-enough, warm-enough winters our building industry has decided we can freeze in winter, just add a blanket and you will be fine. This is not an acceptable answer in my mind, instead if your property is well insulated you will save on all kinds of cost.  

  • Your tenants will have far less dusting, yes a lot of dust flies through the little caps between your windows and doors.  This dust gathers all over your property, ensuring that you not only need to paint the walls, but also the dust ridden skirting and window frames.
  • Your tenants will have a smaller electrical bill, as heaters and air-con units will be used in the most efficient space.

Consider the small cost of weatherstripping your rental property, this will make all parties happier in the end.


4.Go Paperless

Are you a paperless landlord, or not yet?

This seems obvious, but taking a paperless approach will ensure that everything is on the cloud.  This is better and safer for you anyway.  Make sure that you accepts online application forms, contacts, checklist and that you accept digital forms of payment.


5.Pay for the LED lights

Consider including the light bulbs as part of your landlord service.  This would not only make you a way nicer landlord than any other, but you will also be able to control the type of lighting, thus your environmental lighting choice.  

We are fortunate that the eco-lighting industry has made great strides in development with LED lights.  The LED lights range has a wide variety of Watts (strength of the illumination) but for residential properties nothing more than a 2 – 9 Watt will be needed.

We are currently enjoying a 6 Watt filament LED in 25m² room.  Bring your cost down from a standard 40 Watt bulb to a stylistic warm filament LED.

As with all new technology they have to go through their growing pains. Meaning that some brands are better than others.  Ensure you keep the receipt as some may blow and refunds can be ensured.  Most of these LED comes with a 5-7 year guarantee, ensure you keep the receipt for this long in a safe dark space – Ink fading on the receipt slip due to light exposure.

As with any business your property management approach will have to adapt to your target market.  Millennials are but the first set of generation to come with this new environmentally conscious mindset.  We as business people should and have to adapt to meet our target markets’ desires.

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Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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