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How to make your investment property family-friendly

Owning your own home has long been regarded as the great Australian dream.

However, buying a property is now considerably harder than it once was due to the changing market and housing affordability. As a result, some families may consider rental properties a more affordable option.

For investors looking for a property, it’s important to consider what tenant demographic you would like to attract and choose a home that is likely to suit them.

If the ‘families’ market is one that you’d like to appeal to, the following tips can help you to make it more family-friendly.

Location and type of property

The process of attracting families as suitable tenants begins before you’ve even purchased your rental property.

You need to consider a property that is likely to appeal to them.

A family will generally need a property that is close to good schools, child care, shops, health care, public transport and other amenities.

Careful consideration should be made to the surrounding environment.

For example, if the property is located on a major road or an industrial area, it is unlikely to appeal especially to a family.

However, a property located near a park or playground will generally hold greater attraction.

Size of property and backyard

Growing families need space to play and unwind.

A moderate sized lawn area in the backyard may provide a good area for children to play.

A larger backyard may be more suitable for a family than a sizeable front yard, as the backyard is more contained and safer to play in than a front yard where cars drive by.

While installing a swimming pool may appeal to some families, it can also create a major safety risk to children.

Depending on your State or Territory, pool safety regulations may require pools to be completely enclosed by fencing and have a self-closing gate.

Also consider the number of bedrooms a family requires when purchasing a rental property.

A family with two or three children may need three to four bedrooms and two living areas.

A house rather than a small unit may also have more appeal.

Hazards

Even if tenants don’t have children, consideration should still be given to making the property ‘child-safe’ to appeal to those who are intending to start a family.

Child-safe properties can contribute to creating a positive experience for tenants, particularly those who may consider starting a family in the future or have children visit or stay at the property during their tenancy.

It can also reduce the possibility of injuries taking place which could potentially result in a liability claim for the landlord.

Consider installing child-proof fittings or other family-friendly modifications to the property, such as a gate around the perimeter of the property, child safety locks to windows and doors that open onto balconies and re-positioning any low handles so young children are unable to reach them.

Pets

Children love having pets. For many animal-lovers, having a pet is an extension of their family.

Making your property pet-friendly can have many benefits and actually improve profitably on your investment.

A well-managed pet-friendly rental property may help to broaden your pool of prospective tenants, and by attracting more tenants, this may reduce time and money spent on advertising and decrease the number of days your property remains unoccupied in between tenancies.

Specialised landlord insurance

Every landlord should have a tailored landlord insurance policy that covers them for both malicious and accidental damage, their legal liability and loss of rental income.

A standard building and contents insurance policy generally won’t cover landlords for these risks.

– Carolyn Parrella, Executive Manager, Terri Scheer Insurance

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