Millennials, having faced a multitude of financial obstacles throughout their young lives, are finally entering the housing market. In fact, millennials now make up 43% of home buyers--the most of any generation--an increase from 37% last year.
This is undoubtedly great news for younger adults who have been saddled with large amounts of student debt and rising rents, and even greater news for communities and neighborhoods that had yet to rebound fully from the last housing crisis.
But as demographics in these communities shift, where should HOA leaders focus their attention?
A Millennial Homeowner’s Core Values
Despite what trendy TV shows will tell you, most millennials are not looking for cute condos in major cities, and they value the same benefits of single-family living as most other generations. In fact, the largest share of home buyers last year bought homes in small towns and suburban areas.
When you consider this a driving factor behind most home purchases made by adults aged between the ages of 25 and 36, it seems like HOAs could potentially have a decent chance of aligning themselves with this demographic, if done strategically.
Most millennials are still hampered by the aforementioned debt that prevents them from jumping into homeownership sooner, meaning that lots of millennial buyers are looking for alternative options to costly HOA or condo fees in order to save money on their monthly mortgage payments.
When it comes to selling anything to millennials, including membership to a community or neighborhood association; you have to prove your value if you want to win them over.
How to Bring Them To Your HOA
So, what will it take for millennial homebuyers to join your association? These are the three most important factors to consider when trying to get young homeowners to attend and participate in your HOA events.
The more you can add convenience to your members’ lives, the more likely you are to get full participation in important HOA meetings or neighborhood events.
If possible, try to limit your in-person meetings or events to once a quarter, and use electronic methods of communication like email, group chats, phone, or video conferencing to share updates with members in between meetings.
Additionally, running your HOA elections online allows your members to free up time to learn more about upcoming elections while helping ensure your association meets quorum and stays within your election bylaws.
If you need to consider more reasons to allow online voting in your homeowner association, check out this post about the value of online versus paper ballots.
If you want to increase your membership with millennials, you have to show them that you can actually get things accomplished.
Examine your recent election outcomes and overall HOA progress year over year to see what areas had the most success and use this in your promotion materials.
For example, if more than 60% of your members turned out and overwhelmingly voted to add a community pool, you can use this advantage when encouraging new members to get involved or voice a specific concern.
Also, figure out how to make a genuine impact in the lives of your HOA members in order to offset the costs of their membership.
For example, some residential HOAs sponsor a community clubhouse, pool, or gym for members to have private access to in lieu of a costly gym or country club expense. Other HOAs offer to pay for things like private trash and snow removal, sidewalk maintenance, or even lawn services!
Regardless of how you chose to communicate with your members, millennial homeowners want to know that their money is going where it should be.
With the breadth of HOA horror stories online, many millennials have developed a sense of caution about dealing with HOAs that either fail to fulfill promises, over enforce bylaws without nuance or context, or collapse altogether, leaving behind shuttered golf courses and abandoned clubhouses.
Make sure that your HOA isn’t a bad experience for a new homeowner by leading with due diligence and communicating major changes or updates with your members immediately.
Consider Moving Online
Needless to say, winning over Millennial HOA members won’t be an overnight task, but it’s not an impossible option either.
If you are looking to transition some of your HOA responsibilities online, such as quarterly elections, board nominations or votes to amend community bylaws, feel free to reach out to eBallot to learn more about our 100% encrypted, easy to use web and mobile voting solutions.
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