Five Modifications To Make If You Plan On Renting Out Your Home To Seniors

If you've recently purchased a rental home in a popular retirement area, like Florida or North Carolina, then many of your potential tenants may be senior citizens. In order to ensure your home is appealing to and feasible for this demographic, there are some changes and updates you should make before putting it on the rental market. Here's a look.

A Walk-in Tub

It can be hard for an older adult with limited mobility to step over the edge of a bathtub insert. It's far too easy for them to slip and fall while doing so. So, to ensure bathroom safety for your residents, you should install a walk-in tub. This is a tub that has a door that stretches all of the way to the ground, which can be swung open on hinges to allow the user to walk in without having to step over a ledge.

Walk-in tubs tend to be about the same size as standard tub inserts, so you should not have to greatly change the layout of your bathroom in order to install one. Your best option will be tubs that feature therapeutic massage jets. You can advertise the fact that your tub includes these jets, which should help you find tenants faster.

Hand Rails on Stairways

You might not have trouble navigating three or four stairs without a hand rail, but an older adult may. Even if the person you rent to is still pretty agile, they may prefer to have handrails for their visiting friends to use. So, if there are any staircases in the home without hand rails -- even if they're just short flights of stairs -- make sure you have railings added. You can find inexpensive ones at most home improvement stores and install them yourself in the span of an afternoon.

Drop-Down Shelves

What use are those tall cabinets if you can't reach the top shelf without standing on a chair? Chances are, a retirement-age adult won't be climbing on a stool to reach the top of a cupboard, so all of that storage space will go to waste. That is, of course, unless you install drop-down shelves. These are shelves that you pull down on a hinge. They end up in a position where you can easily grab items off of them, and then you gently push back to slide them back up into their original position.

You should install drop-down shelves for at least the top shelf or two in each cabinet. If you think you may be renting to any wheelchair-bound individuals, consider installing them on all shelves.

Grab Bars in the Bathroom

Install a grab bar near the toilet, and a second one near the shower. This will give your residents something to grab while they are using the bathroom, decreasing their risk of falling. Even a senior who is pretty steady on their feet will enjoy having this extra support when the floor is moist and slippery after a shower. Make sure the grab bars are properly mounted to the wall studs for maximum stability.

Lever Door Handles

If the doors in the home are fitted with door knobs, then switch them out for lever-style handles. These are far easier for someone with arthritis in their hands to operate since they do not have to grasp the handle to turn it. 

Once you are done making these additions to the home, make sure you reference all of them in your rental listing. Retired renters will feel safe and secure in the home, making them more likely to rent from you rather than another landlord in the area.