Landlording & Rental Properties

Duplex Investment Property Conversion Walkthrough & Financial Breakdown (With Video!)

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In the video below, I’m standing in front of our next duplex conversion. Down the street, we also finished another one. Yep, we’re buying multiple properties on the street. So, I thought it’d be a great idea to bring you guys inside the “before” and then to show you how we’re going to duplex this property.

I’ll also jump into the financials so you can see how this property should turn out.

Single Family to Duplex Conversion Property Walkthrough

This is a single family detached home—for now—that we’re going to completely duplex and add a basement apartment.

Starting with the main floor first, here’s what we’re going to do. Fortunately for you guys, you can’t smell this—but it just reeks of cat and/or dog pee. It is like one of the worst properties we’ve bought in terms of this. So, we’re going to rip out all of these floors, which we would have done anyway. Why? Because this hardwood floor is not looking good. But the fact that it’s pee-filled, it’s got to go. We’ll do new floors throughout, new trim, new paint—everything we kind of always do.

The kitchen: we’re going to gut it. It’s like a medieval times kitchen, super original. We’ll make it a better kitchen by brightening it up with white. And we’ll carry the new floors all the way through.

There are three bedrooms upstairs, which is really good. We always shoot for three bedrooms in my area. It’s really popular to get families to live here, and you’ve got to have three bedrooms.

We’ll gut all of the bathrooms, as well—just streamline it. New tub, new tub surround, new vanity, new toilet, everything. We’re going to go with new light fixtures, new doors, new trim—we’re taking it right down to the studs pretty much.

In the video, you’ll see the separate entrance for the basement unit, which is really cool. We won’t have to add a separate entrance, which is what I look for when we’re trying to duplex properties.

I don’t want to get into buying the material and cutting out concrete walls. I don’t want to do that. So, the fact that a separate entrance is already here is cool. We’re just going to wall it off, fire rate it, make it super safe and quiet. Then, the basement tenants are going to come through that area for their entrance.

For the basement apartment, we’re also gonna gut this right down to the studs. What we want to do is take down all of the drywall, put the fire rating Roxul insulation in, resilient channel, five-eights fire drywall, everything to bring it up to code. That’s what I really recommend. Even if you don’t have to do that from wherever you’re living or wherever you’re investing, if the codes don’t require you to do that (which a lot of places don’t), I would still highly recommend doing that. It makes it super quiet.

Related: How to Buy a Duplex: The Ultimate Step by Step Guide

What you don’t want is hearing all the footsteps from the tenants upstairs. It’s all about our tenants having a good experience, so we’re going to change all of that—kind of make it sound like a recording studio. Honestly, when it’s all done, it’s super quiet.

By code, we also have to have an egress window, which is big enough for someone to crawl out. I could get into all the specifics in my area, but it might not apply to you, so I won’t. But we always go way bigger than what code allows.

Code would probably tell us this window must be 28″ by 26″ or whatever. We’re not going to go that small. We’re going to go 4′ by 4′. It’s going to be massive and letting a ton of light down here, which is really good because we don’t want to make this feel like a dungeon basement.

When we’re done with these windows, it’s really going to brighten it up. And we’re going to put pot lights throughout the entire apartment—make it look cool and modern.

We’re also going to add a bedroom (covering a current post in the basement space), with another 3′ by 3′ window—again going way over what is required by code for light purposes.

Buying Your First House? A Duplex Might Make Sense

Then, we’ll do the kitchen looking over all of the living room. We’ll even do an island with some lights coming down. It’ll look really, really cool.

In the bathroom, we don’t need too much for now. We might add a tub in here, because there is only a stand-up shower. It looks cool though, right? Really modern? But you do really want that tub.

What’s strange is that, when you have a tub, no one uses it. But when you don’t have a tub, tenants complain. It’s just the way it is. So, we’ll talk it over with the contractors to see how much work that’s going to be.

One bedroom’s already kind of laid out for us, which is nice. We’re just going to clean it up, and take off all the wood paneling because it’s old. We’ll do drywall, pot lights, take down the drop ceiling. And again, we’re going to add another 3′ by 3′ window in here—super big, lots of light. That’s the key for these duplexes.

Let’s talk about the backyard. We’re not going to do too much—just try to clean up the grass, clean up the line. We are going to take down this weird pergola overhead thing. It looks cool, but it’s super rotted out. We’re not going to spend any money on this. It is just pointless.

So, a nice little backyard for the two tenants to share if they have pets and dogs. Perfect little size.

That’s the property! I hope you enjoyed the walkthrough if you watched.

Breakdown of the Numbers

Let’s jump into a numbers right now. Here’s what we’re expecting on this project.

We’ve done a number of duplex conversions just like this. They normally work out the way we plan here; this is what we’re expecting. Hopefully it actually works out in the end!

Purchase Price: $390,000 (off the MLS)

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Reno: $90,000

Closing & Holding: $10,000

All-In for the Project: $495,000

Worth: $600,000

Total Equity: $105,000

Like I said we’ve done a number of these. This is normally what the appraiser appraises, but you never know. If we get the $600,000, the total equity in the property will be $105,000.

So, essentially if we sold this property after this two-month project, we would essentially make $105K (before obviously paying Realtor fees and lawyer fees, etc.). That wouldn’t even really be a bad flip.

And we actually are flipping duplex conversions just like this, but this specific one, we’ve got a partner and the intention is a long-term hold.

Let’s see what the new calculations will be with the new mortgage. If it appraises for the $600,000, the mortgage on it will be $480,000. It's only an 80 percent loan to value—that's the same thing as putting in a 20 percent down payment. We've got to put that in even with the new valuation of $600K. The given mortgage is $480K.

We’ve got to pay off the old mortgage of $316K. So remember, we bought it for $395,000 with a 20 percent down payment and were leftover with a mortgage of $316,000.

Related: An FHA-Financed Duplex Is an Ideal First Investment Property: Here’s Why

When we get that new one for $480K, we’re going to pay off the $316K for the old mortgage. We’ll be left with $164,000 of cash back that we’ve gained from doing this duplex plus conversion.

But we’ve got to pay off my partner, right? Remember, he put in $180,000. I’ve got to pay him back first obviously. I have $164K and I’m paying him $180K, so that means we’re into the deal still for $16,000.

Where I’m from, in Kitchener-Waterloo, this is like a slam dunk. My market is a very, very hot market, as you can imagine. Toronto’s very, very popular, and most of North America right now is in a boom phase of the real estate cycle. We’re in a really hot seller’s market. So, this is a huge win for my area.

If you want to see the monthly numbers, I go into those, too, at the end of the video above. But the moral is, if this deal turns out to be exactly how we think it will be, this is a home run.

If you liked this post and learned anything, please let me know by saying so in the comment section below or by smashing the “like” button on YouTube. I can’t wait for you to see the next video!


Are you considering doing a duplex conversion? Have you completed any in the past? 

Share in the comment section below.

Mat Piche is a real estate investor, certified carpenter, and Realtor, specializing in single-family investment properties in Canada. He currently owns 27 rental properties and is also flipping homes on a regular basis on top of that. At 30 years old, Mat became a self-made multi-millionaire from real estate investing. He has his own YouTube channel, where he shows his followers how they too can achieve financial freedom through real estate.

    Lassy Gnini Rental Property Investor
    Replied 20 days ago
    @Mat Piche. Great video. I am in the process of closing on a duplex. Your idea of creating new windows to lighten different rooms is awesome. Hopefully we will be involved in the building process ( new videos or pictures. The before and after). Thank you for sharing
    Roger Mohnani from Richmond Hill, New York
    Replied 20 days ago
    excellent thanks
    John S Lewis from Jackson, NJ
    Replied 20 days ago
    Very cool. Never thought about turning a SFH into a duplex. When you put in the egress windows are you having to breakdown any basement wall and cut out the ground where the windows go?
    Genna Golden Rental Property Investor from Portland, OR
    Replied 20 days ago
    Great video. Thank you. I'm turning a duplex into triplex via basement conversion. I definitely agree with sound insulation. But 90K for gut remodel of basement? Any way you could share rough numbers on how you swing that so efficiently? -genna
    Terry Lowe
    Replied 17 days ago
    Yes, I’m having trouble understanding the $90,000 as well. I know different areas are different and we couldn’t do from the studs in for that price.