Landlording & Rental Properties

4 Tips For Making Your Rental Property Family Friendly

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Finance, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Marketing, Mortgages & Creative Financing
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Renting is on the rise for both Millennials and families. Furthermore, research shows that home ownership for families is actually decreasing. According to The Guardian, between 2006 and 2016, 912,000 more households with children have started renting privately

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There are many factors at play here, but one is a lack of family-friendly amenities in homes. Parents can often find everything they want for their children in a rental community, including nice neighbors, playground equipment, pet-friendly apartments, and necessary safety features.

Renting a single family home to a family with children is easier than renting it to a single individual or a couple without kids, but you’ll still want to highlight all the right features to persuade the family they’re making the right choice. Families like square footage, extra bathrooms and bedrooms, and a child-friendly design on both the inside and outside.

One of the primary pulls for families with home ownership is the idea of a private yard that’s landscaped for play and family time. There are several updates you can make to your yard to attract family-friendly renters and simultaneously raise your property’s value.

10 Landscaping Tips for a Family-Friendly Rental

1. Add a backyard play set.

People love that rental communities often have play sets on the premises. Kids need a place to run around outside rather than being glued to their electronics. As the Backyard Guys share, “Things like sandboxes, clubhouse spaces, steering wheels, and telescopes all provide great avenues for kids to let their imaginations take charge, while features like rock walls, rope ladders, monkey bars, and climbing ramps provide a challenge for kids to overcome, keeping them engaged as they play.”

2. Create a parent seating area.

With kids enjoying the play set, parents need some form of comfortable seating where they can watch. If you don’t have a patio, add a comfortable bench positioned near the play set for parental comfort.

3. Fence in the yard.

Security and privacy are of the utmost importance for parents, particularly when their children are young. A fence in the front yard isn’t usually important to homeowners, but they will want something enclosed and secure in the backyard where their children will play. It provides both intrinsic and monetary value to a property, as it can raise values by about $2,500.

Related: Landscaping: 4 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Yard’s Curb Appeal

4. Offer toy storage areas.

Bicycles, beach balls, sandbox shovels, and sporting equipment are hazardous and unsightly when strewn across the yard. A storage shed provides a tidy space for them to rest when not in use. Storage is always a huge factor for home buyers, whether it’s meant for toys or garden tools, and you can raise buyer interest significantly with this tasteful addition.

5. Grow healthy grass for play.

Kids need plenty of grass to play on, and the healthier and greener the grass is, the better. Carefully trim your lawn before any showings, and fertilize your grass seasonally to keep it strong and healthy. When the grass is strong and well-maintained, kids can play without damaging it.

6. Cut down on hardscaping.

Many backyards have concrete and pavers, but that’s not very attractive to buyers with kids. Hardscaping means more opportunities for children to fall and hurt themselves. If you’re targeting family homeowners, replace some of the hard surfaces with soft sod.

7. Plant climbing trees.

These can be a conservative, eco-friendly addition to your play set. Climbing trees not only provide another place for children to play, but they also offer cleaner air and more shade to your property. You can cut down on utility bills and increase privacy, both of which benefit residents significantly.

Related: 3 Curb Appeal Tips To Attract More Buyers to Your Flips

8. Hang a tire swing.

After your climbing tree has grown to full height, hang a tire swing. It not only makes the home feel more cozy and quaint, but it also offers entertainment for families.

9. Install pool-safe features.

A pool or hot tub is a welcome addition in any backyard, but it brings some safety concerns for families with small children. You can increase the safety of your pool and the goodwill of the home buyers with a fence and a pool cover.

10. Put in a fire pit.

What family doesn’t want a lovely night in the backyard around an open fire, telling stories and roasting marshmallows? This is one feature that will create family memories and entice buyers.

Any tips you’d add to this list?

Leave your comments below!

Larry is an independent, full-time writer and consultant. His writing covers a broad range of topics including business, investment and technology. His contributions include Entrepreneur Media, TechCrunch, and When he is not writing, Larry assists both entrepreneurs and mid-market businesses in optimizing strategies for growth, cost cutting, and operational optimization. As an avid real estate investor, Larry cut his teeth in the early 2000s buying land and small single family properties. He has since acquired and flipped over 30 parcels and small homes across the United States. While Larry’s real estate investing experience is a side passion, he will affirm his experience and know-how in real estate investing is derived more from his failures than his successes.

    Robert Steele Investor from Lucas, Texas
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer but I will be anyway. 1. Add a backyard play set. I am worried about liability if some kid injures themselves on it. Either through defect, neglected maintenance, or just child stupidity. 5. Grow healthy grass for play. Unless you are paying for full lawn service and timed irrigation, my experience is that tenants cannot keep a healthy lawn to save their life. 7. Plant climbing trees. Another liability risk. 8. Hang a tire swing. Another liability risk.
    Linda Hastings Rental Property Investor from Stockdale, TX
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I have to admit that I’m a little confused by the article. The title implies the suggestions are meant for a rental property, but the text mentions several things like “homeownership”, “family friendly buyers”, “homebuyers”, etc. The suggestions all sound great if you are doing a flip or selling a home, but I’m with Robert Steele that things like a play set or tire swing in a rental seem to open you up to greater liability risks. I do agree that fencing the back yard and storage solutions can be great additions for family-friendly rentals.
    Krista Riggs Real Estate Investor from Orlando, Florida
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great points
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I agree with Robert. We have raised two kids and a backyard play set is extremely expensive and something they will only use for a few short years. Also a liability issue. They also get weathered and worn out looking pretty quickly. My two kids NEVER climbed a tree in their life. They loved the monkey bars at the neighborhood park. I strongly discourage my renters\’ kids from climbing my trees. That\’s how my trees get destroyed and people get hurt. I am ok with a nice yard. I make my renters cut their grass. They are simply not going to spend time and money fertilizing a yard they don\’t own. Not a big fan of installing fire pits. Pretty expensive. You can buy a fire pit at Home Depot or Costco for about $100. If my renters want a fire pit, they can go buy one. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, put a hot tub ( what is this, the 70s) or a pool in a rental home. Especially a pool. I have bought rentals with the tacky above ground pools and I pay somebody to tear it apart and chuck it in the dumpster. People around here (Chicago metro) will spend $ 25,000 to FILL IN an inground pool. That\’s how bad they are to maintain and insure. Never have a pool in a rental unless you are in Florida and I would not even do it there. I was hoping to see some solid ideas about how nice landscaping can improve the curb appeal and the backyard fun of a rental house. Sorry to dump all over you, but this is a really bad article. Tire swings, hot tubs, pools, fire pits are terrible ideas for a rental. I simply refuse to believe you have pools and hot tubs at your rentals out there in Des Moines, Iowa and you find that they are valuable. They are money sucking disasters. These are both liability and maintenance disasters. I am on the warpath about people posting really dumb articles on Bigger Pockets and leading investors astray.
    Herb mitchell
    Replied over 2 years ago
    You just mentioned 10 suggestions about rental properties. Several of those are great ways to get yourself sued. Falling off a swing set, tire swing breaking and hurting a kid etc. Bullet proof your rentals. IF they put up a swing set, let them do it. The first time a kid breaks the swing, guess who they call? The grassy area is nice looking until the weeds take over!! Reply Report comment
    Herb mitchell
    Replied over 2 years ago
    You just mentioned 10 suggestions about rental properties. Several of those are great ways to get yourself sued. Falling off a swing set, tire swing breaking and hurting a kid etc. Bullet proof your rentals. IF they put up a swing set, let them do it. The first time a kid breaks the swing, guess who they call? The grassy area is nice looking until the weeds take over!!
    Lucas Phelps from Salina, Kansas
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I have to agree with Herb, this article baffles me a bit. The thought of ever installing a tire swing or playground equipment at a rental property is just asking for a law suit. Why not install a pool while you’re at it? I used to install nice looking plants and flowers around rentals until I learned that tenants 90% of the time will not take care of them or even maintain them. I’ve learned that the best landscaping is the no to little landscaping. Eliminate work that you’ll have to do in the future.
    Jerry W. Investor from Thermopolis, Wyoming
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I agree with Robert, in fact the insurance agent I use has sent me letters requiring me to remove a tree swing one of the renters had installed as it was too great of a liability, or I would have to buy a special rider for it. I have also uniformly had a horrible time with most renters keeping the lawn watered enough to keep it alive.
    John Daley Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, Missouri
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I am forced to conclude that the author here is not an actual landlord, or at least has not first hand landlord experience. Besides the liability issues, any ‘amenities’ you add to the property will not only require the up front expense to install, but only add to the ongoing expense to maintain and I don’t see them adding any real value when it comes to increasing the rental rates. I was hoping to get some ideas about how to make a rental property landscaping attractive yet durable for tenants (unfortunately most any kind of landscaping requires regular upkeep or else it simply turns into a mess and additional expense down the road to either remove or restore), but am sorely disappointed. Not only are there not any good practical tips, but the ideas stated here will most certainly be a detriment to the owner in one way or another down the road. I read tons of good articles here on BP, but I can’t imagine how this one got published and picked to be included in the newsletter.
    John Daley Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, Missouri
    Replied over 2 years ago
    After re-reading the article, I feel that it was originally intended to address SELLING a home to family oriented buyers, but the titles and headings and introductory paragraphs were edited and changed to address rentals. I may be wrong, but that’s my take on what happened here.
    Krista Riggs Real Estate Investor from Orlando, Florida
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Read this article for tips on my rentals but these are mostly liabilities or costly for a landlord with no added rental value…
    Julie O. Real Estate Investor from Westminster, Colorado
    Replied about 2 years ago
    The author bio-blurb at the bottom of the article clearly states that this guy is a “professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to online media outlets and news sources.” I really prefer the by landlords/for landlords format I’ve come to know and love from BiggerPockets. Are we buying content now? Shame if you are. Even your occasional reruns of older articles for new readers is far better than this sort of thing. The previous commenters are right, this is all terrible advice for rental properties, in my opinion. And yes, I’m really a landlord, I don’t just play one on tv. 🙂
    John Bierly Rental Property Investor from Bainbridge Island, WA
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Thank you for addressing something that has been annoying me for awhile. As you noted, there is a lot of quality content here by actual landlords, but it does seem like the percentage of Ben Leybovich click bait nonsense and articles like this are increasing. Time to clean up your editorial standards, BP. Is anyone listening out there from your staff?
    Deryk Harper Residential Real Estate Broker from Alpharetta, Georgia
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Chris Connor from Augusta, GA
    Replied about 2 years ago
    This should be removed
    Patrick Liska Investor from Verona, New Jersey
    Replied about 2 years ago
    As I was reading this I felt them same as all the other posters, all Liabilities and would not do any of them. Having a lawn is nice but I wouldn’t go crazy putting and maintaining one. The only thing I would do, instead of taking out a patio, is install one, if you do not have one, so the family has a place to sit. This article is all bad advice for landlords
    Deryk Harper Residential Real Estate Broker from Alpharetta, Georgia
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Great feedback on this story from BP community. Would have to agree with all about expense, liability and maintenance. Just don’t see the upside/ROI for an investment property. One of our owners just had to pay over $250 to have an old wooden playset dismantled and hauled off. Not worth it and just one more thing to keep track of. This is also the reason we do not invest in, or manage. properties with pools. Again too much risk/liability. This may be a copy/paste of a story that was meant for sales vs rentals. It reads that way in the beginning.
    Jeffrey Bower
    Replied 4 months ago
    I can see some merits from each tip, but I'm with others, I'm afraid of liabilities. The other thing is, family-friendly doesn't always denote a family with children. Many tenants are family-friendly because they are couples whose only "child" is a dog, for example. So installing a playground set or box of toys...I don't see any good returns from these.
    Arya Jackson from San Francisco, Bay Area
    Replied 4 months ago
    I love this! Definitely some good ideas I will take into account.