Adapting to Changing Lifestyles: Flexible Design in Multi-Family Real Estate

Multi-family real estate is one of the most popular residences in urban areas, including Chicago. “Multi-family” includes traditional apartment buildings with tenants renting their units, condominiums with residents owning their units, and smaller structures like duplexes and triplexes that may have a combination of renters and owners. When constructing and renovating multi-family buildings, ETI Construction understands the importance of flexible design choices and the ability to adapt to the changing lifestyles and preferences of tenants and residents. 

multi-family properties

What is Flexible Design? 

Flexibility and versatility are increasingly crucial to potential residents and buyers looking at multi-family real estate. Residents’ changing preferences, increased desire for multifunctional spaces, and emphasis on community amenities lead to flexible designs of multi-family house plans. 

Flexible design in multi-family properties includes architectural and interior design choices that allow for adaptability in residential spaces. The flexible design acknowledges tenants’ diverse needs and preferences and the evolving demands of the real estate market, especially regarding buying multi-family properties. 

Flexible design can include open floor plans or convertible spaces, shared amenities such as multi-family office spaces or fitness spaces, and integrating technology. 

Multi-Family Real Estate Trends 

When renovating, building, or buying multi-family properties, knowing what features potential tenants are looking for is critical to making a worthy investment. Some renters focus more on their budget, while others focus more on location. Certain aspects of a multi-family house plan can make your building more desirable. Many of these multi-family real estate trends involve increased convenience and flexibility. 

Walk-in Closets and Storage 

It’s no secret that people have stuff and need places to put it. Residents will often sacrifice some square footage of a bedroom or living space for an increased closet or storage space. Offering flexible and modular storage solutions can bring in more potential renters. 

Community Spaces 

An increase in remote and hybrid work means an increased demand for home workspaces. For multi-family real estate, this can mean creating in-unit spaces that can serve as a home office or communal multi-family office spaces. Having a remote work area and flexible spaces in individual units can be a huge selling point. Other community spaces important for residents are outdoor spaces, fitness areas such as a gym or tennis courts, and ample parking space.

Smart Home Features 

While smart device integration is not necessarily a priority for most tenants, easy technology integration can be a deciding factor between two incredibly similar multi-family properties. Smartphone app-controlled thermostats, lights, and digital keys provide control, customizability, and flexibility to multi-family real estate. 

multi-family house plans

Flexibility of Multi-Family House Plans

When it comes to designing and buying multi-family properties, flexibility is key. Fluid, multifunctional, multi-purpose spaces are aspects of design that provide efficient use of space. Multi-family real estate is no exception. When building or renovating a multi-family residence, specific elements include modular layouts, convertible spaces, shared spaces, universal designs, and thinking toward the future. 

Modular Layouts

Modular elements in rental units allow for easy reconfiguration of spaces to accommodate different lifestyles or household compositions. Open spaces allow residents to use movable partitions and furniture to transform the layout of a unit. A studio apartment can shift into more of a one-bedroom layout, with a designated work space or a children’s play area, depending on the tenant’s needs.

Convertible Spaces

Similarly, convertible spaces and furniture can be multifunctional and can optimize space. Features such as Murphy beds, fold-down tables, or sliding walls enable residents to maximize space based on their usage and preferences.

Shared Amenities and Spaces

Community spaces are increasingly important to renters. Co-working spaces and multi-family office areas have become more necessary as remote work continues to grow. Other amenities, such as fitness areas, walking paths, and pet areas, are generally used for a single function. Still, amenities such as multi-purpose rooms, outdoor recreation areas, and similar flexible spaces can accommodate activities and events hosted by building management and by residents. Shared spaces encourage social interaction and foster a sense of community among residents.

Technology Integration

We live in a world surrounded by technology, starting with the home. Designing units for easy integration with smart home technology while not forcing usage is a fine line to determine when designing rental properties. Features such as lighting, thermostats, and appliances that can be controlled with an app or a smart home device and with a standard switch or buttons allow the residents to decide how smart they want their home to be. Even without considering smart home technology, basic integrations include easy internet setup, USB wall outlets, exterior security systems, and digital locks and building entry. Flexible design allows residents to decide just how technological their home is. 

Universal Design

Not every multi-family property needs to meet accessibility regulations determined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Fair Housing Act; it depends on the number of units and year built. However, incorporating universal design principles when creating new multi-family properties or completing a significant renovation ensures units are accessible and usable for people of all ages and abilities. Features such as wider doorways and hallways, lever-style door handles, barrier-free showers, elevators, and ramps enhance convenience for everyone and accommodate diverse residents, including those with permanent disabilities or mobility challenges and those with temporary injuries or illnesses. 

Thinking Toward the Future

Flexible multi-family house plans are not just for the benefit of the residents. While building multi-family residential projects, architects and contractors can plan for the future with adaptable infrastructure and with the future in mind. Some flexible design choices are those residents ideally never see, such as plumbing and electrical systems designed for simplified upgrades, renovations, and repairs. On the interior, designing with potential future shifts in demographics, technology, climate, market demands, and regulations means more straightforward future repairs, adaptations, and renovations. 

By embracing flexible design choices and multi-family house plans, developers create spaces that cater to residents’ evolving needs and preferences, plan for the future, and maximize long-term profit and longevity. 

buying multi-family properties

Multi-Family Renovations with ETI Construction 

ETI Construction specializes in multi-family renovation and restoration projects. Property managers looking to upgrade and modernize their buildings to include current trends in multi-family home design should look no further than ETI Construction. Our years of expertise and experience in the field, combined with our twelve-step process and relationship with our clients, make ETI the best firm for the job.