What is your ideal number of bedrooms in a SFR?

29 Replies

Alright so obviously more bedrooms means more tenants and more rent. However, it also usually means lower rent per tenant, so you have to deal with more potentially bad tenants. I also personally feel like when there are a bunch of people in a house, it is more likely to get beat up.

I agree with you @Steve Emling ! In our market 3 is the ideal number. 4 bedrooms often attract groups of adults that are looking to rent hack. And 2 bedrooms limits your ability to attract families. Our goal is the most amout of rent revenue (and value/equity/debt) with the least amount of tenants. I'd rather finish a basement for the long Wisconsin winters, before I add another bedroom. I also think that kids can be more destructive than pets, and while I get to charge a pet fee, there is no income in more kids.

The 3/2/2 is the best here. 3 bedrooms 2 bathroom 2 car garage. 

Easy to fill and they stay rented longer than a 2 or 1 unit so you lose less on make readies and vacancies. 

I had a 4 bedroom and could never fill it, but the 3 bedroom next door rented for the same price quickly. So i call the 4 bedroom a 3 just to get it rented out. 

I'm in Philadelphia and I would say that 3 bedroom and minimum of 1.5 but preferably 2+ bath.

@Marcus Auerbach I never thought about 2br cutting out a whole segment of renters like that, good point! But yeah 4br+ scares me a little bit, which is a shame because there are some cheap big houses in my market but I just don't think it's worth it

@Toben B. Wow, that's a pretty strong testament to 3br. Good point on the bathrooms too, I don't screen for 2 baths now but I probably should. Thanks!

Depends on the area. Not everyone in a given market is looking for a 5 bed house to rent. And in other areas, maybe a family needs 5 beds.

If the area is younger, more transient, or has a lot of single people, probably 2 to 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. In areas that are more family oriented, probably 3 -4+ beds and 2-3+ baths. Same goes near colleges. Depending on the school, you might have several students wanting to poll together to rent a larger home and pay less individual rent. 

Find out who the renter population is and give them what they want. I also look at the overall rental market to see if there is an opportunity to fill in gaps. Will that 5 bed home find that one family that is looking to rent in the land of 2 bed rental homes? 

@Eric Carr good point. I certainly wouldn't mind renting a large house to a family. I think it is mostly young adults in my area though. I'll have to do some more research! Thanks for the tip

The answer is 3.  

In addition to optimal number of bedrooms, there is an optimal square footage for a rental house.

Houses that are too large - 2,200 square feet and up, have issues.  First, the turnover and maintenance costs are higher.  Second, the utility costs for the tenant are higher as well.  We want our rentals to be affordable.

4, 2.5


@Steve Emling ideally your price and location are more important than 3 or 4 bedrooms. Many blended families want 4 bedrooms. But I prefer a small 3 bedroom over the same sq ft 4 bedroom because the living space is too small. A 4th bedroom can be advertised as a “4th or office.” And many people like a dedicated space to sork from home. Granted, more bedrooms, more people; and work from home means more usage of hvac, etc. But when exiting, the 4 bedroom might sell faster due to relative scarcity.

3/2 at 1,200 - 1,550 sq ft is a sweet spot rental for most Midwest markets.

It’s all based on your market.  Most of my rentals are 3/1, 1 story, I never have trouble renting them unless we’re in December/January.  I have a few 4/2 they rent as well.  Most are filled within 10 days.  I think your market is more important then anything.  It’s all about supply and demand.

Good Luck.

Market will dictate.

If most of the housing stock is 3/1.5, then that's the sweet spot. 3/2 would be the premium.

2br can be attractive to small families, young adults and seniors wanting/needing to downsize especially if the room size is generous.  2 baths helps too.

@Steve Emling

I like looking for 2 beds with a high sq footage to convert to a possible 3 bed. We had one we advertised as a 2.5 bedroom because there was only one bathroom and you had to walk through a smaller bedroom to get to it and the right family found it and paid about $125/mo over market for a 2 bed on it but used it as a 3

@Steve Emling Having 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units, if I have to restart knowing what I know now, I will stay with 3BR/2BA SFH Or 2BR/2BA duplexes. 4 bedroom SFH is hard to rent because rent is higher but utilities are high too so tenants get shocked when their bills show up. Also, at that price point they can technically afford their own house in my market, though they have to move our may be 15 mins away from the city but doable. I highly recommend staying with 3BR or 2BR, don't go for 1 BR.

Originally posted by @Steve Emling :

@Eric Carr good point. I certainly wouldn't mind renting a large house to a family. I think it is mostly young adults in my area though. I'll have to do some more research! Thanks for the tip

 Good luck, you got this! Don't OVERTHINK it. Come up with a due diligence plan and proceed. 

In Hampton Roads 3+ bedrooms are the most desired. The more bedrooms usually equates to more rent income but it can be hard to find a 4 or 5 bedroom at a price that enable good cash flow.

@Sam Shueh one of the few votes for 4 over 3. Is you angle to accommodate families more with a 4 br?

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