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Property Management Blog

Published on Sunday, September 3, 2017

10 Landscaping Tips for a Family-Friendly Rental

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, over the past 10 years, 912,000 more households with children have started renting privately.

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.

Selling a single-family home to a family with children is easier than selling it to a single individual or a couple without kids, but you’ll still want to highlight all the right features to sell your single-family home. 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 homeownership 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 these family-friendly buyers and raise your property values.

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 sand boxes, 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.

4. Offer toy storage areas.

Bicycles, beach balls, sandbox shovels, and sporting equipment are hazardous and unsightly when strewn across the yard without a home. A storage shed provides a tidy space for them to rest when not in use. Storage is always a huge factor for homebuyers, 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, increase privacy, and benefit residents significantly.

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 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 homebuyers 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.

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Author: Web Master

Categories: Property Management




Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.


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