Designing more functional rental properties, Buying investment property, Landlord home letting keys

Tips for Designing More Functional Rental Properties

8 December 2023

Most rental properties are afterthoughts. They were originally designed as single-family homes and then eventually turned into rental properties as a way to make money. This often leads to dysfunctional floor plans and properties that aren’t necessarily good fits for tenants. But if you’re designing a new rental property or renovating an existing one, you can flip the script and design with functionality in mind.

Designing more functional rental properties

Understanding Your Target Market

For best results, you should design with your potential tenants in mind. Are they students, young professionals, families, or retirees? Understanding their needs, preferences, and lifestyles is crucial.

For instance, students might prioritize proximity to schools or public transport, while families might look for more spacious layouts and nearby amenities.

Once you’ve got a handle on your target audience, it’s time to think about what they need. Do they prefer open spaces, lots of natural light, or plenty of storage? Knowing these preferences helps tailor the design to fit their lifestyles.

Knowing your future tenants is like having a secret weapon in your design arsenal. It helps you create spaces that match their needs and desires, making your rental property irresistible to the right crowd. In turn, you enjoy lower vacancy rates, lower turnover, higher profitability, and a better reputation in the community as a landlord who cares.

The Key Elements of Functional Design and Architecture

While you’ll ultimately need to tailor your rental property design to your target market, there are some general principles that apply across the board.

Let’s explore a few of these key elements of functional design and architecture:

  • Space optimization. Think of a rental property like a puzzle – how can you fit everything in without making it feel cramped? That’s where space optimization comes in. It’s all about cleverly arranging rooms and amenities to make the most of every square inch. Consider open layouts, smart storage solutions, and multi-functional spaces that serve more than one purpose.

For instance, a sofa bed or a foldable dining table can save space without compromising functionality. This allows each individual renter to tailor the property to their needs. One renter may choose to keep a sofa bed as a full-time bed, while another renter might not need another bed and can utilize the extra floor space for another purpose.

  • Practical furnishings. When it comes to furnishing your rental property, think durability and comfort. Opt for sturdy, low-maintenance materials that can withstand wear and tear. Furniture should strike a balance between style and functionality, offering comfort while being versatile enough to adapt to different tenant preferences.

Designing More Functional Rental Properties - Earning a Living

  • Storage solutions. Everyone loves extra storage space! Maximizing storage areas can make a huge difference in how tenants perceive a property. Built-in shelves, under-stair cabinets, or even overhead storage can help keep clutter at bay, making the space feel larger and more organized.
  • Lighting and ventilation. Let’s be clear about one thing: Good lighting and ventilation can make or break a space. It would be a good idea to prioritize as much natural light as possible, as it can brighten up rooms and make them feel more inviting. Ensure proper ventilation to keep the air fresh and pleasant. You should also consider installing energy-efficient lighting and windows that allow for adequate airflow.
  • Accessibility and renter-friendly design. Depending on your location, you may be required to plan around accessibility for people with different ages and abilities. But even if you’re not, it’s worth accounting for something known as universal design. This design style aims to create spaces that accommodate diverse needs. This involves incorporating features that benefit everyone, regardless of age or ability. Examples include lever-style door handles (easier to use for people with limited hand strength), non-slip flooring (beneficial for both elderly and young tenants), and adjustable-height countertops (useful for various individuals).

Hopefully, this list gives you some ideas. However, if you’re not sure where to start, consider reaching out to industry professionals for help. If you’re in the Houston market, a Houston property management company should have some good ideas for you. If you’re in another market, look for a property management company or design firm in your city.

Designing More Functional Rental Properties

Adding it All Up

There’s no such thing as a perfect rental property. But if you take the time to design with functionality in mind, you’ll end up with a much better end product that people are happy with (and willing to pay more for). Use the elements highlighted above as a starting point for your architecture and design efforts!

Comments on this guide to Designing more functional rental properties article are welcome.

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