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Build-to-Rent: A New Era in Real Estate Investing

Guest article written by Tauheed Siddiqui, CEO of TAAS Investments, discusses the Build-to-Rent concept, its appeal to renters, and the opportunities it creates for SDIRA investors.

Posted on April 29, 2024 by Tauheed Siddiqui


BTR communities are purpose-built rental neighborhoods consisting of single-family homes or townhomes. These properties offer residents a spacious and comfortable living experience akin to homeownership, complete with private backyards and garages. Unlike traditional rental properties, BTR units are part of professionally managed communities that provide shared amenities, fostering a sense of belonging among residents.

Inception of BTR

The Build-to-Rent (BTR) concept, which emerged in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, has seen rapid growth thanks to the strategic acquisitions by REITs and investment firms like Invitation Homes, Starwood Capital and Blackstone. After acquiring vast numbers of scattered single-family rentals, with Blackstone purchasing approximately 80,000 homes by 2016, these entities faced market saturation. This challenge led them, notably Blackstone, to commission the construction of BTR properties in Phoenix, marking the birth of a dynamic sector that is now expanding exponentially across the nation.

Pros and Cons of BTR


  • Enhanced Living Experience: BTR removes the stigma of renting, offering a desirable lifestyle that appeals to renters-by-choice.
  • Tenant Care: Renters tend to treat the properties as their own, contributing to higher occupancy and renewal rates.
  • Rent Growth: Rent increases in BTR communities have consistently outpaced those in conventional apartments.
  • Generational Appeal: The lock-and-leave convenience of BTR appeals to renters across all age groups.
  • Exit Strategy Flexibility: BTR investments offer multiple exit strategies, including selling to institutions or individual buyers.
  • Competitive Cap Rates: BTR properties often have cap rates that are lower or comparable to Class A multifamily properties.


  • Entry Barriers: Challenges include acquiring land, navigating zoning laws, and longer build times.
  • Higher Costs: BTR properties typically have higher per square foot costs than apartments.

BTR vs. Multifamily Properties

BTR properties often boast higher tenant retention rates due to their community-centric approach and dedicated management. They may also experience more robust rent growth and competitive cap rates compared to traditional multifamily properties, reflecting their desirability and quality.

Economic Cycle Resilience and Value Creation

The resilience of Build-to-Rent investments throughout economic cycles is a key factor that sets them apart from many other real estate investment opportunities. This resilience is largely due to the incremental value created at each stage of the development process, which includes land acquisition, entitlements, land development, vertical construction, lease-up, and reaching a stabilized asset. Let's break down how each phase contributes to the overall stability and appeal of BTR investments:

  1. Land Acquisition: The process begins with the strategic selection of land in locations with strong growth potential. By choosing areas with favorable demographics, employment trends, and accessibility, BTR projects are positioned for success from the outset.
  2. Entitlements: Obtaining the necessary permits and approvals adds significant value by ensuring the project can proceed. This phase often involves navigating complex regulatory environments, and success here demonstrates the project's viability and compliance with local standards.
  3. Land Development: Preparing the site for construction, including infrastructure and utilities, further increases the project's value. This phase lays the groundwork for a community that meets the high standards expected by future residents.
  4. Vertical Construction: The construction of the rental units themselves represents a significant value-add, transforming raw land into desirable living spaces. High-quality construction and thoughtful design cater to the preferences of modern renters, enhancing the project's marketability.
  5. Lease-Up: Successfully leasing the units to tenants begins generating income, proving the project's financial viability. High occupancy rates during this phase are indicative of strong demand and effective marketing.
  6. Stabilized Asset: Once the community reaches a stable occupancy level, it becomes a reliable source of ongoing income. This final phase solidifies the project's value, offering long-term financial stability.

BTR as an Investment for SDIRA Holders

For Self-Directed IRA (SDIRA) holders, BTR investments offer a unique blend of benefits that align well with the goals of retirement planning and wealth management. Here are the key reasons why BTR stands out as an investment choice for SDIRA portfolios:

  1. Steady Rental Income: BTR properties, with their focus on long-term rentals, provide a consistent and predictable income stream. This passive income can be particularly valuable for SDIRA holders, offering a reliable source of funds that can grow tax-deferred or tax-free, depending on the type of IRA.
  2. Long-Term Appreciation: The strategic location and high-quality construction of BTR projects contribute to their potential for long-term appreciation. As the properties increase in value over time, SDIRA holders can benefit from significant capital gains upon sale or refinancing.
  3. Portfolio Diversification: Investing in BTR properties allows SDIRA holders to diversify their portfolios beyond traditional (stocks and bonds) and non-traditional investments. Real estate investments can serve as a hedge against inflation and market volatility, reducing overall investment risk.
  4. Mitigation of Risk: The phased development process and economic resilience of BTR projects help mitigate investment risk. By generating value at each stage and demonstrating stability across economic cycles, BTR investments can offer a potential safer harbor for SDIRA funds.

As we conclude our deep dive into Build-to-Rent opportunities, it's clear that the potential within this sector is vast and evolving. If you are interesting in learning more about how BTR investments can be held in your self-directed IRA, schedule a free 1-on-1 consultation with an IRA Specialist.

Tauheed Siddiqui is the founder and CEO of TAAS Investments, a premier real estate investment company specializing in BTR (Build-to-Rent) projects throughout North Texas. With a solid foundation in finance and a passion for real estate, Tauheed has steered TAAS Investments since 2005, guiding its expansion into land development, construction, acquisitions, and the asset management of rental properties. The company prides itself on offering Value Add Multifamily, BTR, and NNN investment opportunities, delivering institutional-quality assets and fostering long-term wealth generation through consistent rental income from both residential and commercial tenants. 

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