If you want to attract families to your rental properties, you’re in luck: You likely won’t have to drastically change what you’re already doing. Simply modify your “talking points”; distribute rental vacancy postings in a few new places; and make sure that your rental is, in fact, ready for a family.
Here’s what you need to know to attract families to your rental properties:
Attract Families to Your Rental Properties: Tip #1
Families need to have the ability to run out in the middle of the night for medicine or first thing in the morning for milk. If your property can offer them that accessibility, make sure they know it.
One of the best ways to show this is to include the Walk Score of your property. This statistic, provided by WalkScore.com, tells people exactly how accessible your property is to retail stores, restaurants, and other popular destinations. You can also get a commute score from this site, which will be valuable information for working families. (In addition, providing these numbers shows that you’re considerate of families’ needs, which makes a great impression.)
Pro tip: If your Walk Score is below 70, don’t promote it in your listings, according to 12 Ways to Use Data to Sell Your House Faster. Author Alexa Collins says, “Buyers who really care about Walk Score are people who want a place with a lot of resources nearby, so if you have a score under 70 don’t add it to your listing but anything over 71 is advertising gold.”
Attract Families to Your Rental Properties: Tip #2
Talk About Safety
Few people care more about community safety than parents. If you want to attract families to your rental properties, you need to show them that it’s a safe place to raise their children. Luckily, there are a number of ways to quantify this information for your rental:
- Crime rates: Find information about your neighborhood at Neighborhood Scout. If it’s positive, divulge annual averages regarding break-ins and other common safety concerns.
- Security systems: If applicable, explain what’s installed and how it boosts the rental’s safety. In addition, if your building has a doorman or security personnel, be sure to highlight that.
- Distance from police station: Only include this if it’s relatively close.
- Community watch information: If you have a neighborhood watch, or are listed and active on Nextdoor.com, be sure potential renters know that.
- Kid-safe areas: If there’s a pool or a questionably safe backyard, update locks and fencing to ease parents’ concerns.
Attract Families to Your Rental Properties: Tip #3
Highlight Cost of Food
The cost of food is a significant factor for all renters, especially parents, who want to provide for their children without spending an arm and a leg. To determine the general cost of food in your community, consider these two questions:
- Which grocery stores are within walking or driving distance? If you have a variety of stores in your area–traditional supermarkets as well as more niche stores like Whole Foods–be sure to highlight that.
- How many small, affordable eateries are nearby? (Think sandwich shops, cafes, and take-out restaurants.) Having a variety of inexpensive, fast, and family-friendly options close by is a big plus.
Attract Families to Your Rental Properties: Tip #4
Determine & Feature Cost of Living
If your community has been recognized on any cost of living lists (such as Money Crasher’s 10 Most Affordable U.S. Cities to Live In), be sure to highlight that in any social posts or on listing sites. Being recognized by a reputable source gives your property an automatic seal of approval.
You can also help potential renters determine how a move could change their cost of living by sharing CNN’s Cost of Living Calculator. After entering the ZIP codes of their current neighborhood as well as yours, potential renters will see the percentage increase or decrease in grocery, housing, utilities, and more. (Obviously, this isn’t a great thing to promote if you live in a pricey neighborhood, since people looking to move to an affluent area are likely willing to trade location for affordability… but may not want to know just how much of a trade-off they’re making!)
Attract Families to Your Rental Properties: Tip #5
Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space
Families need a space to grow in; and for parents to stay in your unit in the long term, they’ll want a yard that their kids can play in for years to come. As such, it’s an important space to focus on if you’re thinking about updating your property to attract more families. Add the following upgrades to your to-do list:
- A fence, if you don’t have one already.
- A swing set that won’t rust or break. Finished wood swing sets are classic and can be added onto over the years.
- Convert extra garage space into storage for outdoor toys. Include a space for bikes and perhaps cubbies for wet or muddy clothing so kids don’t track their mess into the house.
Lastly, don’t forget that if you want to attract families to your rental properties, you’ll need to do more than make the right upgrades and post the right information. Reach parents by posting fliers at community centers, libraries, and schools, and give past tenants the opportunity to make a little money by referring families to you.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a professional freelancer and consultant. She’s worked with a variety of real estate clients, and has been featured on Forbes and Market Watch. She’s also an author for Inman, House Hunt Network, Homes.com and more. Follow her on Twitter at @Jlsander07 or connect with her on LinkedIn.