A Guide to Renting for Families


Why should real estate agents work with rentals? And, renting is gaining in popularity.   Renting’s not just for bachelors and bachelorettes. Families of all sizes also often decide to rent instead of buy. Check out our guide to renting for families– why families choose to rent, what might be on their wishlist, and our best practices for working with families.

Why do families choose to rent?

When you work with any client, make sure that you stay sensitive to their needs and consider why they’re looking to rent. Why are so families choosing to rent?

1. Affordability

Renters most often cite affordability as the most important reason why they chose to rent, not buy, a home. Unfortunately, a six-figure salary is often not enough to buy you a home. Un-affordability is even more prominent in large cities. In San Francisco, for example, families that earn just under $120,000 a year are considered low income. (really.)

Also, most first time homeowners also end up with buyers remorse. Owning a home is a lot more expensive than many newbies initially think, and hidden costs can pile up quickly.

Families already concerned about shouldering the burden of high costs of childcare may decide that owning a house is simply not worth the expense—a rental will do!

2. Flexibility

Flexibility is especially important for families hoping to buy a home soon. Low inventory, not enough cash, or sub-par credit scores are all valid reasons for why a family might choose to spend some time in a rental while searching for somewhere to lay down more permanent roots. Renting, especially with the possibility of short term rentals, allows families to save money, build credit, or wait until the perfect house homes on the market.

3. Better amenities

Landlords, recognizing that many of their clients have children, have started to adapt their properties to fit the needs of families. Keep an eye out for playgrounds (and even playrooms!) for younger children, pools and arcades for adolescents, and communal spaces and extra parking spaces for teenagers.

Important things for families renting:

While every family is different, here’s some things that families often look for when renting.

1. Single family rentals

renting for families

Single family rentals are similar, in appearance, to home. They’re detached, often suburban, and often with yards and garages. Single family rentals are often highly appealing to family units. They mean that their inhabitants get more space, more privacy, and an undeniably nice feeling of having something all to yourself.

All this, of course, with the flexibility, affordability, and convenience of a rental unit!

2. Kid-friendly community features

If you are looking at an apartment complex, make sure to mention Kid-friendly community features like a playground. Community features that might appeal to children, like pools and community theaters, are also good mention.

3. Schools nearby

Having a selection of schools within drivable (or even walkable!) distance is a big bonus for families. Just a quick reminder— don’t nudge your clients. Let them know that there’s schools nearby, but stay mum about the quality of the schools, and certainly don’t say anything like “this school is so desirable!” This type of charged language is defined as nudging. Let the clients know the names of the schools nearby and encourage them to do their own research.

4. Safe area

Being in a safe area is highly important for families. If you’re working in an area you’re very familiar with, use your local knowledge to decide which streets, neighborhoods, and blocks, might be the most kid-friendly. If you’re not from the area, check out crime rates online—pay specific attention to crimes like assault—and see if you can figure out which areas might be the best fit for a family.

Best Practices for Working with Families:

1. Location, location, location

If your client is looking for city living, let them know the possible benefits about moving their search beyond city limits. Suburban housing can offer families a little bit more safety, more safe, and even better school districts. Regardless of which zip codes your client wants to rent in, think about the neighborhood cohesively from the standpoint of someone with children. What would they see? How can you anticipate their objections and work to overcome them?

Related: Suburban Renting: Why Real Estate Agents Must Pay Attention

2. How old are the kids?

Think about how old your clients’ children are, and what they’re likely to be interested in or appreciate at that age. If your client has teenage children, it’s probably not worth going out of your way to show them an apartment that’s out of their budget but has a cool playground. But, an on-site pool or movie theatre might be more appealing to clients with slightly older children. An apartment with high school nearby is likely to be more appealing to the parents of adolescent children than with toddlers.

3. Pay attention to the kids!

The kids won’t be paying you commission, but a client will appreciate it if you put in just a little bit of effort and don’t pretend their children are invisible. Point out the child-friendly amenities to the children and the parents. When you drive from one listing to another, make sure to point out ice cream shops, parks, and movie theaters that you think the kids might enjoy.

4. But… Make sure you know the parents are still the clients!

It’s a big bonus if you can find child-friendly apartments, but don’t forget that you’re ultimately trying to please their parents. Don’t forget about what the people who hired you have on their wishlist, and how you can help them get the apartment they want. An on-site playground is no use if your client really wants an in-unit washer and dryer.

5. Be ready to brush up your outreach plan!

man in white dress shirt sitting on black rolling chair while facing black computer set and smiling

While most millennials are renters, most say that they still consider owning a home part of the American dream and that they want a path to homeownership!

Make their children part of your outreach plan, too! Learn their names, as well as the names of your clients, and make sure to mention it In your card or email.

Ready to start building a pipeline of first time homebuyers? Rental Beast can help. With the nation’s most comprehensive database of rental listings, a full CRM, and premium client generation tools, Rental Beast gets you ready to capture your share of the leasing market. To learn more about the Rental Beast platform or to request a no-obligation demo visit Rental Beast for Real Estate Agents.

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