Changing Millennial Mindsets with Tech

Changing Millennial Mindsets with Tech


One developer is cashing in on the current co-living trend and changing how Millennials think about high-volume buildings.

Common, a Brooklyn, N.Y. start-up, supplies the furniture, luxury tech amenities and even roommates in an attempt to lure Millennials to settle into a new home. The company was born out of the need for flexible, shared housing and finding the right roommates, something high-volume developers worry about due to the fear of losing tenants.

Founder and CEO, Brad Hargreaves started Common by addressing co-living needs. “We not only do roommate matching based on characteristics, we also provide a set of shared supplies and services.”

Enticing Millennials with Affordable Tech Amenities

The view outside of Common's Crown Heights Building.
The view outside of Common’s Crown Heights Building.

The goal is to entice Millennials to stay in a new space by eliminating some upfront costs. For example, this unique developer updated a 1931 Crown Heights Townhouse into a modern smart home, complete with efficient lighting and rent-as-you-go flexibility in a bid to turn renters into permanent clients.

“There are people moving here permanently that still want a community aspect. I think that community aspect is appealing to a lot of people,” says Hargreaves. Every piece of tech in this high-volume project was chosen based on convenience and possible styles that may attract Millennials.

The retro-looking lightbulbs that hang over the kitchen counters may appear antique but are actually powered by efficient LEDs. Doors are opened by Apple iPhones or Watches, and even the Casper mattresses filter out air to lower temperature.  

Common chose Smarthings for the building’s automation platform, Nest for the controllable temperature and Assa Abloy provided the smart locks for each unit.

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Using Tech to Sell Tech

Ease-of-use is one of the central themes of Common’s new high-volume initiative. Everything is completed online, from the first rental agreement to the monthly payments. No realtor is needed, which was an intentional decision by Common.

 “The rental process has been stuck in the 1950s,” says Hargreaves. “By moving everything online we are able to innovate and control the entire experience.”

Hargreaves also says that by moving the rental process online, the company has been able to implement strict requirements such as background checks on each tenant. This is something he says is not widely done by high-volume builders, and is another way Common stands out to security-centric clients.

Since everything is completed online, Millennials are given flexibility over where and who they live with. Tenants can use Common’s app to move into other available apartments in the same building and eventually into any of Common’s apartments around the country.

In order to embrace the co-living element of the building, Common uses the Slack social media service as a social network for residents to help facilitate meetups and events, something that other developers can learn from. These small gestures can create a community feel and an easy way to foster long-lasting tenants.

Millennials’ Interest in Co-living Movement with Tech

Co-Living spaces like this are utilized in the high-volume complex.
Co-Living spaces like this are utilized in the high-volume complex.

Common surveyed prospective clients to see which areas of tech would gain the broadest appeal. The responses showed that fast internet was a much higher priority than cable television.

Based on the responses, the developer placed a higher focus on Wi-Fi and streaming services instead of traditional cable TVs.

This was another intentional decision by the developer to appeal to more Millennials.

“I think people are buying into the entire user experience instead of just focusing on one aspect of the building,” says Hargreaves.

Understanding client expectations in high-volume buildings may seem difficult but the results can be significant. Especially when marketing to Millennials.

RELATED: Renters Clamor for Smart Home Tech in Smaller Spaces

This Crown Heights Townhouse is only the first of many planned high-volume residences from Common. The developer looks to expand their presence in New York as well as into Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to Common, it has received more than 300 applications for the building’s first 20 spots, indicating that this key age group is eager to live in these tech-filled apartments.

About The Author

Michael Black is a staff writer and content coordinator at TecHome Builder. He has a particular interest in new solar developments and smart energy systems and is always looking for the next smart home trend to cover. As the youngest member of the TecHome team, Michael brings a passion that keeps the team energized. He also is instrumental in leading our social media efforts.

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