New Study Shows Vast Majority of Rental Property Owners are Small Entrepreneurs

Leading Property Management Franchise Sponsors Investor Study to Shed Light on Trends, Market Size, Value and Behavior

SALT LAKE CITY--()--The Real Property Management franchise, the nation’s leading full-service property management organization, announced today key findings from The Iceberg Report, an annual report and analysis of the American single-family residential investment industry. Real Property Management was a primary sponsor of the study, which was created in partnership with 2020 REI.

Landlords and real estate investors lease roughly 44 million households and house 60 million people. There is an immense difference between the perception of this market and the reality, according to the findings, which were released June 13. According to the study, the majority of rental property owners are actually small entrepreneurs who own five or fewer units. This statistic equates to 10.8 million investors representing 98 percent of all rental property owners or 80 percent of all rental properties. This is vastly different from the perception that all property investors are large-scale players with hundreds of units in their portfolio.

“The single-family residential investment market has long been misunderstood and dismissed as only an option for those wealthy enough to use real estate investing as a business,” said Bob Pifke, CMO of Property Management Business Solutions, LLC, the franchisor of Real Property Management. “With the Iceberg Report, we now have a better understanding of this unique market including who they are, what they are interested in, how and when they buy properties, and the impact of their investment activity.”

In addition, the findings show that personal referrals from family, friends, and real estate agents were the primary means by which more than half of investors found a property manager – contrary to what most believe is internet-driven research and validation. There is an increasing level of sophistication amongst rental property investors and a higher level of financial acumen than previously thought.

The Real Property Management organization, along with other sponsors, uncovered the following key information through the administration of this research study:

  1. Types of Structures of Renter Households. Out of the 43.7 million rental households, 15.2 million or 35 percent are single-family residences that represent 43 percent of rental residences. This segment of the rental industry is second only to apartment buildings.
  2. First vs. Subsequent Investment Opportunities. The first rental property purchase made by investors is typically found with the help of others. Real estate agents are the leading source, followed by friends and real estate investment clubs. Real estate investment courses also play a major role. In contrast, subsequent investment property purchases involve a much greater variety of inputs including personal contacts and internet sources. Investors quickly learn how to leverage multiple information sources to build their portfolios.
  3. Investor Location Preference. Two thirds of rental property investments are made in the investor’s local area and 52 percent occur in the investor’s city or town. The role of national investors who have no location preference remains a small segment of the market.
  4. Price for Residential Property. Most investors buy rental properties priced below both the average new or existing home price. Only one-third are willing to pay for housing above $275,000.
  5. Intent of Property Acquisition. Property investors play an important role in upgrading and improving housing. Two thirds of properties are renovated after purchase, and nearly half of all property investments are turned into rentals. Only a third of investors are “flippers”, who plan to sell the property as-is or with renovations.
  6. Property Management Preference. Doing it yourself and having a professional property manager is not a black and white decision for investors. Although half of investors handle all aspects of property management, 22 percent enlist the aid of a third party for some aspects of property management (primarily leasing vacancies), while 28 percent have a professional do all the property management work.
  7. Most Frequent Rental Problems. The number one problem for rental property investors is unexpected maintenance. Since most investors have full time careers outside of property investing, unexpected maintenance issues interfere with work and family activities. Secondly, one in four investors frequently deal with late or delinquent rent collection, and tenant damage to property is the third most frequently reported rental problem for investors.

“The results of this study have painted a clear picture that single-family residential investors are becoming more and more serious, and that rental properties are being recognized as a mainstream asset for investors building a portfolio for retirement,” added Pifke.

The Iceberg Report is a new annual study designed to understand the behavior of the American single-family residential investment industry from Steve Murray of REAL Trends and Andrew Waite of NEXZUS Publishing Group, former publisher of Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine. The authors pioneered studying this market in 2007 when Murray, a real estate brokerage consultant, questioned Waite about the market impact of intentional investors on housing resales. At the time, investors were considered an irritant to traditional real estate agents, yet little had been done to quantify the amount of recurring business opportunity real estate investment offered the real estate sales industry. After years of industry expansion, and no subsequent industry wide surveys, polls, or reports being published, the 2020 REI Group commissioned the authors of the previous reports to embark on this new format. Adding a qualitative aspect to the proven quantitate approach was a key factor to the mission of the project.

To obtain the executive summary of the Iceberg Report, please visit

About Real Property Management

Real Property Management is a franchise organization owned by Property Management Business Solutions, LLC, a privately held corporation based in Utah. With over 30 years of industry expertise, Real Property Management offices provide full-service residential property management for thousands of investors and rental home owners from more than 300 independently owned and operated locations throughout the United States and Canada. For more information about Real Property Management or property management services, please visit the following link: For information on franchising opportunities, please visit


Fishman PR
Julianne Stevenson, 847-945-1300

Release Summary

The Real Property Management franchise sponsors investor study to shed light on trends, market size, value and behavior of rental property owners.


Fishman PR
Julianne Stevenson, 847-945-1300