When you picture a family home, what do you see? Maybe the words conjure an image of a detached three- or four-bedroom property in a suburb like Eagle Rock. There may be lots of nearby schools and a public library, along with manicured front lawns, whitewashed fences, and spacious back gardens complete with basketball hoops, sandboxes, and pools.
Unfortunately, that idyllic image of American family life is getting further and further away from reality. While their parents were able to buy this kind of family home in their twenties, today’s young moms and dads are finding it increasingly difficult to get that first foot on the property ladder. “Generation Rent” isn’t just referring to single millennials anymore—in fact, 23% of apartment renters in the US are families with one or more children. But just because apartment living doesn’t always line up with traditional images of family life, it doesn’t mean it can’t be well-suited to a family-oriented lifestyle.
Not only are suburban apartments often quiet and safe, they also provide access to a wide range of amenities that would be practically impossible to have in a normal family home. Not every home has a swimming pool, for instance, but you’re pretty much guaranteed one in any LA apartment block.
Multifamily owners have the opportunity to cater to this growing demographic, but only if they can attract and retain tenants with the child-friendly amenities that moms and dads are on the lookout for.
Choosing Child-friendly Amenities for Outdoor Areas
Not sure how to start upgrading your multifamily? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve taken away the guesswork with this list of amenities that are proving popular with young families. Even if you think you have everything covered, you are sure to find an upgrade, inside or outside of your apartment block, to give you the edge on your competitors.
No, I’m not going to start off by telling you that you should install a pool. The truth is, if you don’t already have one, there’s probably a good reason behind it, and it may Instead be time to think a little outside the box:
- Splash Pads – Even if a pool isn’t a possibility, you don’t have to sacrifice water play entirely. Splash pads can be an excellent alternative for hot days. These water-based outdoor play areas have become all the rage in parks and other open spaces in cities across the country. Even Grand Park LA has a similar idea near their fountain. The beauty of splash pads is that there is little or no standing water. This makes them much safer than regular pools and way more water-efficient—compare it to taking a shower instead of a bath. While these are popping up everywhere in public spaces, they’re still pretty unheard of on the multifamily scene. That means you’re going to make a big impact if you choose to invest in the latest trend in aquatic play.
- Play Areas – You don’t have to invest in jungle gyms, swings, and roundabouts to create outdoor play areas that kids and families will love. For those looking to avoid extensive renovation to their complex’s grounds, consider providing a neat patch of lawn and number of outdoor games that families can play any time of the day or night. Almost every family favorite has been made life-sized, including:
- Connect 4
- Battle Ships
- Add some other classics such as Corn Hole and Dingle Ball and you’ve got hours of fun for your tenants. All you need is to install an outdoor storage locker with keyless access to allow your residents to play the games when they want.
- Dog Parks – Kids and dogs sometimes seem like a combination made for one another, but parents can’t always supervise their children playing with their pup in the local park. So what better way to attract families with pets than with a dog park where children can play with their furry friends in a gated area away from traffic and strangers? If you place your park at the center of your complex, you’ll allow parents to watch their kids from the comfort of their living rooms. Just make sure to have your maintenance staff regularly clean the area. Kids aren’t always as diligent at cleaning up after their pets as their parents, and the last thing you want is kids tracking messes inside.
Indoor Upgrades for Smarter Family Living
While it’s up to residents to make their apartments as child-friendly (or un-child-friendly) as they wish, communal areas offer you the opportunity to really go the extra mile for families.
- Playrooms – It’s not always sunny in LA, and when they are stuck inside, kids (and their parents) are going to want somewhere else to play other than the apartment. That’s why every truly child-friendly multifamily will have an indoor playroom. While you can go all out and turn an underused area of your multifamily into a kids’ soft playroom, there are some cost-effective solutions to keeping kids entertained, such as providing:
- A wall-sized chalkboard for kids to unleash their inner Picasso
- Duplo sets so kids can make things without swallowing the pieces
- Beanbags or other soft furnishings
- A selection of children’s books for all ages.
- A TV tuned to a popular children’s channel
- Ideally, your playroom should have glass walls so that parents can supervise without having to be in the room. Bonus points if you place your playroom next to an adult amenity, such as a gym, so that mom or dad can sneak in a workout without worrying about what little ones are up to.
- Movie Theaters – What else do kids love? Movies definitely make the list, so why not bring the cinema to them? A movie theater in your multifamily can be a fraction the size of the real thing, but it will still be a great way to bring families together to entertain the kids and foster a real sense of community. It doesn’t have to be a luxury, either. Far from it, in fact. After all, families that can’t afford to buy their own property aren’t going to be splashing the cash on the additional rent you would charge for a state-of-the-art cinema room. Instead, remember to keep the kids in mind. Replace the luxury cinema-style seating with bean bags and go for a projector rather than an HD screen.
- On-site Childcare – Families that continue to rent rather than purchase a property are unlikely to have stay-at-home parents. This makes childcare a problem, but can you provide the solution. By providing an on-site daycare facility, you can halve a working parent’s morning commute. What parent wouldn’t pay not to sit in LA traffic any longer than they have to? Of course, this will mean work on your part; renovating part of your communal space and hiring staff. But when you consider parents often spend well over $150 a week on child care—and they’ll likely pay a bit more if they don’t have to drive to it—the ROI could be sky high.
New Year, New Multifamily
It may be the festive season, but that’s no excuse not to start getting your multifamily ready to attract more families. After the New Year, families may start to think about moving, and come spring and summer they will be actively looking at apartments. Will you be ready for them? Get things started by speaking to one of our consultants by giving us a call today, or by filling out the form below.