Study Reveals What Renters Really Look For in a Home


If you’re a renter, what do you look for in a home? Do you look for a room in a shared space or a single family home? Do you care more about the size of a potential rental, or the neighborhood it’s in?

A recent report from Zillow did a deep dive into what renters want in a home—and what they actually wind up with. Almost half of renters (48 percent) are willing to consider single-family homes, but less than a third actually end up in standalone homes.

So what do renters actually wind up with? Thirty-two percent of renters end up moving in to small to mid-sized apartment buildings, 28 percent choose single-family homes, 15 percent move to larger apartment buildings, 9 percent choose townhouses, 6 percent wind up in duplexes or triplexes, 4 percent choose condos, 3 percent move to a room in a shared unit, and only 1 percent choose income-restricted housing.

Rental preferences also vary by region, according to the study. In the Northeast, renters are most likely to look for small apartment buildings or to rent a room in a shared home. In the Southeast, renters seek out single-family homes or townhouses. In the Southwest, renters look for larger apartment communities as well as condos and co-ops. In the Midwest, renters are more interested in duplex and triplex housing along with single-family homes and smaller apartment buildings. And in the West, renters are most interested in small to medium sized buildings, condos and co-ops, living in a room in a shared home, or income-restricted homes.

In terms of amenities, renters’ top three priorities in looking for a rental are budget (95 percent of respondents said so), neighborhood safety (90 percent), whether or not pets are allowed (45 percent). They also care about the number of bedrooms in a home, and if it’s close to their job or school.

The study also found that most renters are staying local. The vast majority—86 percent!—move within the same state, and 57 percent stay within their same city.

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