By Nicholas Tsontakis | DwellBoldly
Real estate investors often focus either on single-family homes or multi-family residences to meet their investment goals. From the architectural perspective, the major difference between the two is the degree of intimacy for those living there. A single-family home is more private, while an apartment or condo complex addresses the communal aspect of living.
Single-family homes, as the name suggests, are designed specifically for a person, couple, or one family. The best custom homes are the ones that most precisely express the lifestyle of the owners. Although investors do not build for specific clients, it makes sense to create the profile of the person or family that might live in the home. Therefore, getting specific about the family’s desires, habits, and interests will help focus the design and lead to better design decisions. One can imagine the different space layout and exterior look of a home designed for a young family close to South Scottsdale and a home for a retired couple in Fountain Hills. Researching existing neighborhoods will offer clues as to who will likely live in the new home, and using a specific homeowner as a guide to design a single-family home can ensure that an investor builds something that sells or rents appropriately. While these homes are focused on an individual, couple, or family and look mostly to them for design inspiration, a multi-family living situation must address more.
Multi-family design is similar in that you should imagine who the inhabitant might be and design for them, but there is an added layer of community in denser housing situations. This needs to be addressed by the building design. Creating spaces for interaction and others for privacy becomes a complex challenge that, when dealt with in a creative way, can elevate a project from just another apartment building to a model for communal living. The architecture of the building, meaning the space layout and the exterior expression, can create interior and exterior spaces that either benefit an individual unit or the entire community – or the best are spaces that improve both. Having a private exterior balcony can satisfy the individual need of a unit, but if that same balcony helps frame a covered space below for the communal lawn, the balcony becomes much more meaningful. Juggling individual and community needs becomes the opportunity in multi-family dwellings to improve living. If designed correctly, a multi-family complex can meet or exceed the projected rent or sale numbers defined by the investor or developer.
Both single and multi-family developments have people at the core of the building design, but the style of living is what differentiates them – single-family is highly private, and multi-family addresses the communal aspects of living. Architects who focus on the difference in living between the two can help investors create special spaces that command appropriate rent or sale pricing.