Creating a family-friendly apartment building means prioritizing two things: security and amenities. Over 14 million families with children rent in the United States, which means your property will likely have residents with kids.
Your property’s proximity to schools, public parks, and libraries may be out of your control, but the amenities you provide families is entirely within your grasp. However, this doesn’t mean you need to cater directly to children. But rather, take into consideration what parents will find as essential features and amenities for their kids.
If you’re a parent yourself, you can probably already name a few apartment amenities that can make or break apartment living with children. But if you need other ideas, check out this comprehensive list of the essentials that every great family-friendly apartment building needs.
Here are seven essential family-friendly apartment amenities to include at your property:
- Laundry room
- Outdoor recreation area
- Video access control system
- An inclusive pet policy
- High-speed internet
- Storage space
- Mess-resistant flooring
1. Laundry room
Your average child is messy. Kids jump in every mud puddle they see and get crayons and markers everywhere but their drawing paper. And let’s not get started on how messy mealtime can be.
So, kids need their clothes washed way more than the average adult. What’s more, babies alone need their clothes changed up to five times a day! On top of that, adults won’t want to store soiled children’s clothing in the hamper.
The bottom line: Parents need laundry and they need laundry now.
An on-site laundry room reduces parents’ anxiety about leaving home (likely with the kids in tow.) Because children unpredictably get dirty and stinky, the average parent will likely do multiple unplanned loads of laundry a day. As such, having a laundry room in your building is a must.
Your laundry room should:
- Be located in a secure and clean part of the building. Parents will most likely bring their kids into the laundry room. That’s why the room needs to be as finished and sanitary as the rest of your building.
- Include appropriate fees. Free is the ultimate amenity, but that might not be feasible for every property. Consider applying fair and appropriate fees for the laundry room.
- Have enough machines. As a rule of thumb, there should be a washer and dryer pair for every ten units in your building, with a bare minimum of two pairs in your building.
2. Outdoor recreation areas
While it’s true that your family-friendly apartment building doesn’t need a playground, you should still include outdoor amenity spaces on your property.
Designating at least some outdoor space for your residents is a great idea, no matter the size. Outdoor recreation areas provide a safe and sound place for children (and adults) to play and get some fresh air.
Some outdoor amenities you can provide include:
- A swing set. A swing set is easy to install and can be enjoyed by all ages. While slides, a jungle gym, and other playground staples are usually enjoyed only by young children, every generation in a family can have fun on swings.
- Picnic tables. Don’t underestimate the value of outdoor furniture. A picnic table provides a place for parents to relax while their kids play in the grass and for the whole family to enjoy lunch in the sunshine.
- A well-manicured lawn. Fresh green grass not only adds to your building’s visual aesthetic but has multiple purposes for residents as well. For instance, families can play a ball game or sunbathe on towels. Kids can play every game imaginable on a soft, cushiony surface.
- A swimming pool. If your property has the space for it, consider adding a pool! Swimming is a timeless outdoor activity that’s enjoyed by kids of all ages — even by many adults. So, if your multifamily building has a pool, you’ll definitely beat out the competition.
Parents want to get out of the house just as much as kids do. So, a comfortable recreation area right on the property is a major convenience.
Watch how ButterflyMX improves the resident experience:
3. Video access control system
The top priority for parents is their kids’ safety. With this in mind, providing a safe and secure video access control system is paramount to residents with families.
A video access control system makes your building secure by:
- Empowering residents to open the door from their smartphones
- Allowing residents to see who’s requesting access before letting them in
- Keeping an audit trail of every entry event
- Enabling residents to give temporary access PINs to guests and delivery drivers
- Deterring trespassers
A video access control system can be installed in all kinds of properties, from gated communities to high-rise apartments. Most importantly, parents will rest assured that all visitors entering the building are logged and accounted for.
4. An inclusive pet policy
Kids love pets. Parents love pets. And kids are most likely ten times more destructive than a pet ever could be, so why not have an inclusive pet policy?
Raising children is expensive. So, meet parents halfway by getting rid of pet fees. Parents are more likely to get their kids a furry companion — that’ll keep them occupied and out of parents’ hair — if doing so didn’t include an extra financial burden.
In addition to attracting new residents to your pet-friendly property, current residents will be much happier with a more relaxed pet policy. 90.5 million families in the US own a pet. You could even go the extra mile and include various pet amenities within your building — though a generous outdoor space will suffice on its own!
Taking care of pets teaches children a great deal about responsibility. And animals are proven to reduce stress in a household. Many families touring your property will likely already have pets. So, keep in mind that a family-friendly apartment should also be pet friendly.
5. High-speed internet
When they’re not running around a grassy yard, kids are glued to a screen of some sort. Whether it’s for watching reruns of Disney movies or playing hours of video games, a kid-friendly apartment needs fast and reliable WiFi.
High-speed internet is key to keeping kids entertained. Even better, parents can often take a break while their kids are distracted by a television or tablet — a much-needed respite from their hands-on demands. But the worst thing is when parents’ relaxation time is cut short by their kids complaining about the internet not working or not performing fast enough.
When installing building-wide WiFi, consider the number of units in your building. This will help you determine what type or tier of internet plan is best suited for your building.
Also, it’s entirely up to you whether you charge a fee for WiFi or include it in the rent. What you must guarantee residents is that your property has the best possible Wi-Fi connection — especially with more people working from home now than ever before.
6. Storage space
They may be small, but kids can accumulate a ton of stuff. A family-friendly apartment is full of toys and gadgets for kids. And chances are your residents will have more belongings than they have the space to store them, This is where providing extra storage space comes in handy.
Extra storage space can be helpful for families in numerous ways and can be used to store:
- Seasonal clothing such as winter and summer wear
- Kids’ bikes and other outdoor equipment
- Toys and games including large playsets
- Nostalgic childhood mementos such as baby clothes for parents to cherish
7. Mess-resistant flooring
A trivial feature for kid-free residents is a big debate issue for families. Is it better to raise kids with carpeted floors or not? The correct answer really is a matter of preference.
Pros for carpeted floors include:
- Carpets provide more cushion. This is especially important for babies who will spend a lot of time crawling and rolling around on the floor. Carpet is also wonderful for children of all ages to play on.
- No scuff marks from moving furniture. Families’ living spaces are constantly changing. Beds, dressers, and TV stands are constantly being rearranged as children grow up.
- Carpeting is cheap. And stained, hardwood floors are most certainly not.
Cons for having carpeted floors are:
- Some stains will never go away.
- Cleaning takes longer.
- Pet hair can become trapped in carpets.
- Carpets can become smelly.
Ultimately, as the property manager (and the one responsible for ensuring the unit is cleaned once a family moves out) your best bet is likely no carpet. Or, as a compromise, furnish just one bedroom in a unit with a carpet.
Creating a family-friendly apartment building means your property will likely be teeming with families. As a result, children of all ages will meet in your building and develop friendships, fostering a great sense of community within your building.
Adding family-friendly apartment amenities to your property will significantly help alleviate some stress from residents raising children and keep all kinds of families safe. And at the end of the day, residents who feel taken care of and seen are much more likely to renew their leases.