ROCHESTER, N.Y. – July 31, 2014 – Apartment living brought Bill and Jennifer Schumacher together, with the two neighbors meeting while living at the same apartment complex in the Philadelphia area.

When Jennifer received a job offer in the Rochester, N.Y., area, the couple were fine with moving, but they didn't have much time, and they knew they didn't want to live in another apartment.

"We said, 'There's no way we're going into another apartment' – we need bigger space; we wanted some ground outside," Jennifer said while in the living room of the 1,900-square-foot Pittsford, N.Y., house they now rent. "This is a perfect opportunity."

Real estate company Broadstone Real Estate, based in Rochester, traditionally has focused on commercial properties, ranging from medical offices to retail space but is increasingly diving into the single-family home market, including through the Broadtree Homes line.

Earlier this month, it announced under its Broadtree Homes shingle that it had purchased 127 single-family homes in the Atlanta area for roughly $10 million. That purchase more than doubled the portfolio of single-family homes it began amassing in late 2012 around Minneapolis, Palm Beach County, Fla., and the Rochester area.

Big money has in the past been relatively rare in the rental house market. According to an analysis earlier this year on the single-family rental market by New York investment banking firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, about half of the nation's 14 million rental homes are owned by individuals who own just one rental property. Only about 2 million are owned by investors with 10 or more properties.

Renting single-family homes "has always been a mom-and-pop business," said Broadstone CEO Amy Tait.

However, the number of big real estate companies involved in renting single-family residences is growing. New York-based financial services giant Blackstone Group is now the largest landlord of single-family homes, having spent roughly $8 billion over the last two years buying 43,000 homes. California-based American Homes 4 Rent, the second largest such firm, started in 2012 and now owns more than 25,000 homes in 22 states. 

Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved