Fabulous amenities are all well and good when developing built-to-rent single-family home communities, but really, it’s the space that’s selling especially storage.
Those were among the comments from a panel of developers and architects last week at the IMN’s BTR East Conference in Nashville.
Lisa Taylor, senior managing director, Greystar; led a panel that included Lance Keller, founder and managing member, Lifestyle Homes; Nathan Williams, director, single-family initiatives, Lennar; Alan Scales, principal, KTYG; Steve Payne, director of business development, Genesis Homes; and Alex Pollack, director of partnerships, Mosaic.
“The best amenities are the living spaces,” Scales said, “a private yard, more storage (such as purpose-built attics), carports, and larger garages. We’re seeing more storage makes for more sticky residents.”
Keller said he’s seeing some communities add car washes, and electric-vehicle chargers and use compactors for trash collection to minimize larger, enclosed receptacles.
How to Work the Trash Pick-Up
Trash pick-up is a key design decision, Scales said.
“More are moving to a valet trash service, which helps on community layout, having to account for sufficient driving space for trash trucks,” he said.
Including playgrounds and pet spaces are easy ways to add value to the amenity package without costing much money, Scales said.
“If you go with an air-conditioned clubhouse and/or swimming pool, for example, that’s much more costly,” he said. “You have to look at what the competition in your market has to stay competitive.”
“You can go for a spectacular entrance with a fabulous-looking common area at the front.”
Pollack said developers should try to maximize costs for parking, such as charging for premium spots and charging for visitors who attend the community’s social events.
As for the homes’ floorplan design, Scales said there’s been a merging of typology with garages and homes above them and cottages and townhouses.
“Because of the high cost of land, density drives solutions,” he said. “In California, the allowance of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) essentially enables you to get 300 homes on 150 lots, as it’s two homes per lot. Locals can’t turn you away for building this way.”
Added Keller, “Every developer thinks their style is better than the other guy’s.”