What Do Students Really Want in an Apartment?

College students are a big market in the apartment industry. Understanding the student market is tough because the entire generation of students cycles every 4-6 years. So, we set out to get a little information on what makes them tick. Well, at least in the world of housing and apartments. Below is an infographic representing a snapshot of some of our findings.

Infographic showing the results of a college student survey on apartment options

"Wow, that's great! I want more information! Do you have it?"

We love your enthusiasm for research and are so glad you asked. Here are more details on our survey and the results.

We asked students at a local housing fair to answer several questions. Do you know how challenging it is to get students to fill out a BRIEF survey? Tough. Know how challenging it is when you offer the chance to win a gift card. Way easier! Here are the questions and their corresponding answers.

Do you prefer apartments or houses?

A whopping 77% of students surveyed said they prefer an apartment to a house. That's great news for all you student communities out there. May the odds be ever in your favor!

How do you typically begin your apartment search?

This was an open-ended question so people could respond with one or more answers. The top answer was an overwhelming 77% that said they started their search online. Great news for all of our iLS network clients. A distant second way to search was asking their friends, while driving and looking around came in third.

What feature do you wish apartment finding websites (ILS's) would offer?

This answer of course has us excited. What areas can we improve in and where are we succeeding? What can we tell our clients that students are looking?

There was a clear winner in this category as well. Clear price points was given as the #1 answer. Students want to be able to go online and easily see how much specific floorplans are going to cost them. Be upfront and honest about your pricing. If your rates are a bit higher than your competitors, build value! What is included? Is your gym so amazing that they can cancel their current membership? Also, make sure you audit the pricing you have listed on your ILS's. When a renter calls and the price you quote matches your online listings you've already made a first step in building rapport and trust.

Neck-and-neck for second place were showing the location in relation to campus and 3D (or virtual) tours. Location to campus seems pretty obvious but one thing that we also noticed from responses was that relation to bus routes was also a factor here and they wanted that information too. Be sure to highlight this if your property shines in this area.  As for 3D and virtual tours, it makes sense that as technology advances, these students want to be able to see and do more online. Some students also noted that they wanted to see what the apartment actually looked like versus staged photos only.

What things are most important to you in an apartment?

As you can imagine, there were numerous answers here based on individual preferences. This was also an open-ended question and many students listed two to three answers. Here are the top responses in order starting with the highest:

    • Price/Affordability
      No surprise here. Students are highly motivated by the price of the apartment.

    • Location
      Similar to the above question, location is extremely important when choosing an apartment.

    • Size/Space
      Many students responded that the size of bedrooms, common areas and bathrooms were important to them. If you've got space, make sure to show it off.

    • Clean & Comfortable
      Okay we combined these here because it just makes sense. Not only do they want to see clean & comfortable in photos and in the models, they want to see it when they move in. Be sure to meet this expectation.

    • Luxury/Quality
      Of course! Students want luxury living (without the price tag as noted above). And while they may have to compromise on budget for luxury, or vice versa, it's still important to them. Many of these students are still used to living at mom and dads. If you can show that moving into your community doesn't mean sacrificing amenities, you can win bonus points here.

There were a few others that deserve honorable mentions:

  • Furnished apartments
  • Washer and Dryers
  • Private bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Safe apartments
  • On-site maintenance

How much do YOU budget for rent each month?

We know they want affordable and we know they want luxury, but how much are they really willing to pay each month? We gave them four price ranges to chose from. Here are the results:

$200 - $400: 29%

$401 - $600: 58%

$601 - $800: 12%

$800+: 1%

And there you have it. A small insight into what college students are looking for in an apartment according to our survey conducted  in November 2015. Questions? Email us at team@ilsnetwork.com.

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