Focus on kid-friendly properties
With summer weather comes longer days and the number of children playing outside increases considerably. With two young boys myself, I speak fromexperience that with more children comes more noise and, sometimes, more accidents.
Families with children today are more often choosing to rent than buy for a variety of reasons, a trend we’ve seen in the single-family home rental industry. We have also seen more families with children staying in vacation rentals than in the recent past.
Safety is number one when it comes to children. If you haven’t inspected your home and grounds for some time, here are a few tips to make sure your investment home is better-equipped to handle children:
- Tie all electronic and appliance cables together and if possible completely hide securely behind furniture and fixtures.
- Use child-proof locks on kitchen drawers. They are inexpensive and easy to install. At minimum, consider installing a child lock on the steak-knife drawer.
- Outlet plugs are also very inexpensive and a great value add for new or first concerned parents who are traveling or looking for a new home for their family.
- Walk the exterior of your property. Look for anything that would hurt if you stepped or fell on it. This includes loose trees and shrubs, and the wild-growing cactus in the back yard. Also rid the garage of anything rusty or dangerous that cannot be secured on a shelf six feet or higher.
- Ensure your driveway and all parking lots or entrances to your home have no blind spots for vehicles. Install round safety mirrors in strategic locations if you spot any.
- Pools. If you have one, secure it. Kids explore on hot summer days and a pool can look like a fun time. It is essential that access by small children be restricted with fencing at proper heights and locks at all entrances.
- If you do not have a play area onsite, think about creating a small one. Giving children a designated place to play allows them to explore and play safely under supervision, while cutting down on noise throughout the neighborhood and possible accidents somewhere else. A large tractor tire filled with sand and a few sandbox toys requires minimal space and can provide hours of fun.
Marketing your kid-friendliness to prospective tenants and online-searching vacation rental guests is a real benefit if you do it right. No home is 100 percent accident-free; however, putting in a little time and investment on the front end will prepare your home for a wider and smaller audience of renters.
Jason Couillard, a certified public accountant and a Realtor, is chief financial officer for Kokopelli Property Management, 982-1013.