Types of Rental Real Estate

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The world of rental real estate covers many types of investments. Rental real estate specifically refers to the many different types of investment properties such as apartments and office buildings, but also can expand into other income generating opportunities such as cellular towers and billboards.

Rental Real Estate Definition

Rental real estate is any type of property that an investor leases to a tenant for the purpose of generating a profit.

Rental Property Types and Examples

Single Family Rental SFR Real Estate Homes

Single Family

Renting out single family homes is one of the most stable and most low-risk types of rental property investments to get started with. The common familiarity and perpetual demand makes this type of rental property great for aspiring landlords just starting out.

Multifamily Rental Real Estate Apartments


In residential real estate investing, multifamily rentals are the next level above single family rental properties. Multifamily rentals range from 2 units up to hundreds or thousands of units, and begin to operate as standalone businesses as they increase in size.

Commercial Rental Real Estate Properties


Owning and renting commercial properties can be more challenging than other types of rental real estate, however, it can also be the most lucrative with potential for higher rents and minimal maintenance responsibilities. There are many types of commercial real estate, but we cover 3 of the most common types below: Retail, Office, and Industrial.

Retail Real Estate Rentals


A type of Commercial rental property, Retail real estate includes public storefronts such as shopping Centers, Malls, Plazas, Strip-Malls, and more in commercial corridors.

Office Rental Real Estate


A type of Commercial rental property, Office real estate includes buildings where administrative work usually takes place such as medical and professional services.

Industrial Real Estate Rentals


A type of Commercial rental property, Industrial real estate includes buildings used for warehousing, manufacturing, and any other type of industrial economic use.

Vacation Rental Property


Vacation rentals are a great way to generate income while enjoying a second residence. Popular short term vacation rental platforms such as AirBnB have made it easier than ever before to become a vacation rental landlord.

hospitality rental real estate holiday inn


If you have ever gone on vacation and rented a room for the night, then you have stayed in a “hospitality property”. These properties primarily serve travelers and include various types of properties such as hotels, motels, lodges, cabins, hostels, and any other type of property for short term overnight stays. Some only provide lodging amenities (i.e. room with a bed) and others have additional amenities such as a pool, gym, spa, restaurant, and more.

Agricultural Land Commercial Real Estate


Land is one of the oldest and simplest forms of rental real estate. Renting land can vary in its location and use, such as land in a rural area for agricultural endeavors, or an undeveloped lot in urban areas for storage. Overhead of land ownership is often lower than a comparable investment like an apartment building, but constant expenses still remain such as property taxes and maintenance upkeep.

Mobile Homes

Manufactured housing (also called Mobile Homes) refers to prefabricated housing that is assembled offsite and then transported to the site of use. This type of housing usually resides within a community of mobile homes, that is called a mobile home park. At mobile home parks, spaces are rented on a monthly basis to place the home. They usually come with access to utilities, waste management, and other amenities. Manufactured housing is often a lower cost alternative to traditional housing and also allows flexibility to transfer the house to another location.


The fundamental idea behind parking lots is to generate revenue by renting space for people to park vehicles. Parking lots can range in complexity from a simple open lot, to a multi-story structure with automated space counting technologies. Successful parking businesses can often be found in dense urban areas where there is a high population with limited ground-space. Revenues generated from parking are dependent on the demographics of your area, for example parking in a downtown financial district can be priced at a premium. Overhead is dependent on the facility. A simple paved lot will have minimal overhead, however a multistory garage with automated payment processing will have significant overhead costs.

Self Storage Rental Real Estate Property

Self Storage

As an overlooked industry for many decades, self storage is now a highly sought after investment due to its low operational overhead and high customer demand. Storage facilities range from outdoor warehouses to multi-story climate controlled indoor facilities.

Senior Housing Rentals

Senior Housing

As the human lifespan continues to get longer, elderly care needs continue to grow more demanding. While seniors can mostly live autonomously, they eventually start requiring occasional supervision or medical assistance. While priced at a premium over regular apartment housing, senior housing mimics a regular apartment rental but includes amenities such as linen services, medication management,  housekeeping, and entertainment recreation.

Student Housing Rentals

Student Housing

Universities and local community colleges across the country have students that are either relocating to attend school or large student populations that the school cannot entirely house themselves on-campus. Investors have been privy to this supply and demand of apartment rental housing close to campuses, and created a type of residential rental property investment class called “Student Housing” which specifically targets students as the primary tenant demographic.

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Other Types of Rental Real Estate Opportunities

Rental Real Estate Billboard


Mostly found in high traffic areas, billboards can be a lucrative supplemental income source for rental property investors. Billboards allow owners to generate additional income without interrupting its normal use. Billboards can either be Bulletin-Style (i.e. printed on vinyl) or Digital (i.e. display screen). Overhead costs for billboards are usually minimal and may just require electricity for lighting and a digital display if applicable.

Cellular Sites

Cellular Sites are leased to rental real estate owners for additional income. Cell Sites can either be mounted to a structure or a freestanding pole (Cell Tower), and are electric communications antennas and equipment that provide signal surrounding areas for wireless communication devices.

Food Hall

Food halls have been around for a while, but recently regained their popularity. A food hall is a collection of local mini-restaurants, food vendors, and food-focused shops. The concept is usually in an open-air style space that accommodates shared seating in the middle and also acts as an attraction/destination. Restaurant spaces are rented out to local chefs or start-up entrepreneurs and restaurateurs. Food halls are not to be confused with food courts. Food courts are usually populated by national-chain fast food restaurants. In contrast, food halls are curated with local, artisanal dining options.

Ghost Cloud Kitchen

Ghost Kitchens

As mobile food ordering apps such as Grubhub and UberEats grew substantially in popularity, so did the rise of ghost kitchens. A ghost kitchen (also called a virtual kitchen or cloud kitchen) is a professional food preparation and cooking facility that is rented out to restaurateurs for the sole purpose of food preparation for delivery-only meals (no storefront or indoor seating). The concept supports many of these micro-kitchens that all reside under the same roof to allow for economic overhead savings.