Live in a family-oriented neighbourhood? Buyers want properties that are ready to move into. Here’s how to make your renovation appeal to them.
You’ll rarely meet a buyer with a family who wants to go through the stress of moving and then the complication of renovating their new home. That’s why making your property family-friendly can be a nice selling point.
An easy way to find out if your property is a good candidate for a family-friendly reno is to walk the neighbourhood and note how many other families are in the area, for example parents pushing babies in strollers, infants playing in the park or teens hanging out at the local shopping centre. A surefire sign is the presence of in-demand daycare centres and sought-after schools.
If you’ve decided to make your reno family-friendly, here are six things to consider.
How to make your reno family-friendly
1. Sensible sightlines
The more visibility you have between common areas, the better. Being able to see between spaces like the kitchen and living room and courtyard or backyard means parents don’t have to hover over children like a helicopter to supervise when trying to do household chores.
2. Think safe
All proper renos should be safety compliant already, but there are a few extra things you might like to add when trying to make it appeal to families, especially those with young children. Cover all the low-height power outlets, for a start, and see if you can soften sharp corners, for example rounding off benchtops when you’re redoing your kitchen. If you have a yard, make sure your fences are low enough so small children can’t fit underneath—you’ll be surprised at the spaces they’ll try to get through. If you have a pool or water feature, install a sturdy barrier around it.
3. Level access
Level access means usable space and the more space you can offer a family, the more appealing your property becomes. If you have a yard on a slope, consider a deck on stilts to create a space to entertain or an area for kids to play.
4. Kids quarters
When you have kids, it’s very easy to let them take over the house with their toys, clothes and books spread throughout every room. The solution is to create a dedicated kids area, whether that’s a separate playroom you can close the door on when the mess gets too much (though ideally with sight lines from other rooms so you can supervise), or a niche in your living room that has easy-to- use storage for toys etc. If you have one bathroom, adding a second bathroom with a bathtub is a great reno idea to attract families so the adults share one and the kids the other.
5. Good grounding
Think carefully about your flooring surface. I recommend floorboards instead of carpet as it's easier to clean and carpet wears out quickly when you have kids, but you also need to consider grip for safety. If you’re keen on carpet, do some research into durable materials.
6. Showing kids’ rooms
One rule I emphasise again and again when showing a property is to neutralise the space. The only time I think you can break that rule is with kids rooms—whether they’re bedrooms or playrooms—where ‘the brighter the better’ is my recommendation: it is absolutely okay to show you have kids. But while you don’t have to make kids’ areas as sterile as a showroom, it’s a good idea to get rid of unsightly clutter before inspection. After all, you want your buyers to see a tidy, family-friendly place so they can aspire to that dream.
If buyers with families are a key market for your area, definitely consider making your renovation a family-friendly one to appeal to that demographic.
Mark Foy is an award-winning and experienced real estate agent, one of the Directors of Belle Property Surry Hills in Sydney and our resident expert on all things buying and selling.