Getting Started in Multifamily

One- to four-unit apartment buildings like these may be a smart option for single-family home builders who are thinking about making real estate investments. 

In this four-plex, each apartment is a vertical unit with its own street entrance, which eliminates upstairs neighbors and simplifies fire-barrier and sound-control details. The apartments have separate laundry facilities and garages, making them attractive to young families.

Rehab projects can be difficult to budget accurately. For example, the three-plex shown here had an original purchase price of only $28,000, but renovation costs totalled $145,000. A deferred city mortgage for $30,000 helped defray some of the author’s carrying costs during renovation.

Multifamily buildings with more than five units — such as this 12-plex, which the author built in a desirable downtown neighborhood — have many more requirements and exponentially higher construction costs per square foot than buildings with fewer units.

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