Not every rental property is prepared for families with children. Whether the quarters are a bit too close, there are no schools nearby, or you have a “no pets” policy, families may be passing on your property. If you want to open your doors to renters with children, you may need to make a few changes, but at the end of the day those changes will be profitable ones. Here are four things you can do to make your property family ready.
Know Your Neighborhood
You probably already know what the nearby grocery and retail options are so that you can tell renters about them, but if you want to welcome families to your property, you may need to research a few more neighborhood highlights. First, look into what the public and private school options in the area are. You don’t need to know everything about these schools, but it helps if you can tell parents what schools are accessible from preschool to high school.
Don’t stop with schools, either. Are there playgrounds or libraries nearby? These extras can be a selling point for families looking to move to the area. Once you know what’s in the neighborhood, compile a short list of what’s in the neighborhood so that you’re prepared for any questions. If you’re able to easily report on these resources, parents are more likely to see your property as a viable location.
Depending on your rental screening practices, knowing your neighborhood may also extend to checking things like the sex offender registries. Also check what your legal responsibilities are when it comes to notifying families with children about whether there are any registered sex offenders on your property. If you weren’t prioritizing families in the past, it may be time to adjust your policies about renting to such individuals.
Think Safety First
Any parent’s first concern when it comes to where they live is safety. Does the neighborhood have a high crime rate? Is your property on a busy road? Is the balcony safe and are there appropriate fire escape routes? Parents will ask all of these questions and more about your property, and you should be prepared to materially back up any claims that you make.
There are a few simple steps you can take to enhance the safety features of your property. First, make sure you have installed adequate lighting in parking areas. This is especially important near parking exits, entrances, and turns where cars may be moving more quickly. Additionally, make sure that you have installed fire and carbon monoxide detectors in all housing units and that all apartments have alternate evacuation roots.
Don’t overlook your pool in these safety updates. Make sure any pool is properly secured, as drowning is one of the leading causes of death among young children. Your gate should lock properly and should not be left open during the day. Small lapses in pool security can make for big safety hazards.
Check Your Pet Policy
One of the leading reasons families don’t choose a rental property is because the property doesn’t allow for pets. Whether they have one (or more) already, or just want to keep the option open, pet policies matter to families.
There are good reasons to keep a no pet policy – pets are responsible for many kinds of property damage, noise, and sometimes even renter safety issues. On the other hand, allowing for pets can be an excellent source of income. You can charge a pet deposit to provide security if damage is done and you may even be able to raise the rent price by a small amount if you allow for pets.
And of course, you gain the potential rental income from families if you welcome pets. Pets come as part of the family package, plus parents sometimes can’t predict when the class hamster will turn into a weekend visitor or a carnival goldfish into an entire aquarium. If you’re not ready to completely open your doors to pets, consider adjusting your policy to allow for small animals like hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, hermit crabs, and other creatures confined to an aquarium or cage.
Make Families A Priority
If you already have the basics covered and families still aren’t coming your way, it may be time to shift from kid-safe or kid-friendly to family-centered in your rental mission. If your property currently lacks a playground and there isn’t one immediately nearby (or even if there is one), try installing a modest play structure. Lay some mulch or a soft surface and add some swings and slides. Parents will appreciate having an area where their children can safely run around and play without having to dodge cars in the parking lot.
Another way to appeal to families as a landlord is to emphasize community. Families don’t want to be the only household with children in the complex; in fact, part of how they assess whether a place will welcome them is based on the presence and happiness of families already living in a complex.
To emphasize this family-centered community, try holding some public events. Some ideas include a drive-in movie or other movie under the stars event. You can project a family-friendly movie onto the side of a building and invite everyone to enjoy it. Or start summer with an ice cream social. Everyone loves ice cream and this kind of event can also help smooth relations between neighbors with and without children.
If you have a significant number of free rental spaces, consider holding a fall family carnival or similar daytime event. Pair this with an open house and you have an ideal set-up for welcoming families while still advertising your property.
Green Residential Knows Families
Contact us today about your rental property management needs and join the Green Residential family. We specialize in every part of the process, from tenant screening to leasing and maintenance. Our team understands the challenges of being a Houston-area landlord, and we aim to make the job as stress-free as possible.
At Green Residential, we believe families are important and our team can help you make your property a family friendly environment. Together we can develop family friendly property management solutions that will welcome renters of all stripes.