Tenant preferences in the single-family build-for-rent space are now backed up by some solid research from John Burns Real Estate Consulting.
Burns says that “we now have concrete data to back some of the multi-million dollar decisions that single-family rental developers make.”
“Our New Home Trends Institute group (you really should join if you haven’t yet!) surveyed nearly 1,200 single-family renters with rent budgets of $1,000+ to figure out what matters most in a single-family rental home. We paired the results with our homeowner survey findings and DesignLens™ database” to come up with the following conclusions about tenant preferences.
Those preferences fall into four major categories:
- Pet decisions
- Finish and materials decisions by room
- Home office decisions
- Amenity decisions
Spend the money on some pet-friendly home designs
Burns says in the report that being pet friendly is key.
“Pet friendliness is the third highest ranking reason that single-family renters choose to rent a home over an apartment, falling below a private yard (also important for pets) and having no one living above or below. Thoughtful niches dedicated to pets (like the one below) are very appreciated by pet owners without alienating those who don’t have pets, since they can use the space for storage.”
Don’t spend on pet services
Don’t bother offering services like dog walking for an additional fee. Only 15% of renters would even consider opting into them. Single-family renters would much prefer paying extra for lawn or interior maintenance services.
Also owners and landlords don’t spend on pet services like dog walking for an additional fee. “Only 15 percent of renters would even consider opting into them. Single-family renters would much prefer paying extra for lawn or interior maintenance services.”
Spend extra for a fabulous kitchen
Higher quality finishes mean more to tenants and a great kitchen can make a huge difference when tenants are choosing a build-to-rent property.
“Premium kitchen finishes and energy efficient appliances are huge draws for single-family renters, with 42 percent considering them a top influence for choosing a home above others. Don’t forget about ease of cleaning, which is a top pain point among owners and renters alike.”
Spend less on premium flooring, healthy home certifications, and smart tech
This falls into the nice-to-have but not needed to get quality renters category that landlords are very familiar with. These features ranked at the bottom of the list of draws for single-family renters in the Burns research and they do not sway rental decisions. “That said, we also advise developers to spend extra money on materials that will reduce damage and reduce the work needed to get the home ready for a new tenant.”
Devote more land to relaxation amenities – not social activities
Preferences for nature, security, and leisure amenities highlight the fact that build-to-rent single-family renters want a community they can relax in. That will influence renters’ decisions on choosing a community. Social events (e.g., concerts or movie nights), community gatherings (e.g., farmers markets), and event spaces (e.g., party rooms) were the three lowest-ranking amenity options among single-family renters.
The home office requirement
“Our recent work-from-home survey finds that 51 percent of full-time employed households plan to work from home next year (38 percent hybrid, 13 percent exclusively from home),” the report says.
The desire for a home office varies by life stage.
Singles or couples can use an extra bedroom for an office so a dedicated space for them is not an absolute requirement. However a full office or den matters more for single-family renters with children.
About John Burns Real Estate Consulting
“Our consulting experts will tell you that each location and development density have nuances to these conclusions, and our DesignLens™ team can share great design ideas for each density configuration and target life stage you are considering.“ If you are interested in learning more from our consultants, our DesignLens™ Director, or our monthly consumer surveys and prestigious design councils, please fill out this form or email Mikaela and one of our team members will get back to you soon.”
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