Single-Family Built for Rent Designs

The idea of building single-family homes to rent (SFB2R) has existed for a number of years, but really began to draw attention near the end of the Great Recession, fueled by consumers unable to afford the down payment for a for-sale home.

As with auto leasing, homes for rent suffered a period of stigma. But, like cars, SFB2R now fills a crucial void in our housing supply. It’s also becoming an option for Baby Boomers looking to downsize and for Millennials not yet ready (or willing) to make long-term commitments.

This growing segment also is an opportunity for smaller builders to deliver cozy neighborhoods with a level of design indistinguishable from for-sale communities. After all, that BMW in the driveway looks the same whether it’s leased or owned. Why should our rental neighborhoods be any different?


Detached and Duet For-Rent Prototypes

ARCHITECT: Jeff Addison, Kevin L. Crook Architect, 949.660.1587


Detached: Width: 50 feet / Depth: 28 feet / 896 total sf

Duet: Width: 76 feet / Depth: 28 feet / 1,400 total sf

This single-family built-to-rent community offers three lifestyle-based residence types. One- and two-bedroom plans are attached to create a duet, while a three-bedroom plan is a standalone unit. All homes are accessible from a common paseo that connects to shared community amenities.

The exterior elevations offer a mid-century modern feel suited for a southwestern desert community. With an estimated density of eight units to the acre, this product mix will not only work for renters but also for 55-plus buyers.

The floor plans for all units feature a great room oriented to a generous private rear yard—a welcome amenity, as more than 60% of SFB2R tenants have pets.


A community of single-story homes

Common paseo

C  Duet

D  Single-family detached unit

Kevin L. Crook Architect Duet house plan
Kevin L. Crook Architect Detached house plan


The Franklin

DESIGNERS: GMD Design Group, Scott Gardner, 919.320.3022

Donnie McGrath, 770.375.7351

DIMENSIONS: Width: 40 feet / Depth: 74 feet / Living area: 2,063 sf

This example of a single-family for-rent home targeted to upmarket buyers includes features usually found in high-end for-sale homes. All homes offer single-story living, a covered rear outdoor living space, a gourmet kitchen with scullery, and a walk-in pantry—all unexpected amenities in a rental home.

GMD Design Group's single-family for rent design The Franklin


A  Front entry porch

B  Attached full-sized, two-car garage

C  Entry foyer with adjacent office/study

D  Family entry from garage with drop zone

E  Gourmet kitchen with scullery and walk-in pantry

F  Secondary bedroom wing, separated from the primary suite

Open-concept living, dining, and kitchen, with abundant natural light

Primary bathroom with separate vanities and large walk-in closet

Large primary bedroom

J  Rear covered outdoor living area


GMD Design Group's single-family for rent The Franklin elevation

Charleston Park

ARCHITECT: Donald F. Evans, AIA, The Evans Group, 407.650.8770

DIMENSIONS: Width: 30 feet / Depth: 77 feet, 8 inches / Living area: 1,581 sf

The Evans Group Charleston park site plan


A  Clubhouses and pools     


C  Waterways


The Evans Group Charleston park floor plan


Floor Plan

D  Foyer

E  Gourmet kitchen with large island

F  Dining/living

G  Owner’s suite

H  Secondary bedrooms

The Evans Group Charleston Park elevation

The Charlette

ARCHITECT: Todd Hallett, AIA, TK Design & Associates, 248.446.1960

DIMENSIONS: Width: 35 feet / Depth: 56 feet / Living area: 1,400 sf

The key with built-to-rent homes is to create an effective, lean design that is efficient but also offers numerous amenities you would find in for-sale homes, including single-level living, an open floor plan, outdoor living opportunities, and garages that are set back.

TK Design & Associates' The Charlette, floor plan


A  Single-level living creates the opportunity for a diverse range of renters

B  Open floor plan with interconnected spaces makes the home feel larger than it is

C  Long vistas from the foyer bring the outside in

D  Efficient outdoor living is created by “completing the square”

E  Recessed garage de-emphasizes the presence of the automobile


TK Design & Associates' The Charlette, elevation

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