Build Vs Buy a Multifamily

5 Replies

Hello Friends,

I'm currently in Carmel Indiana and planning to move to Richmond - VA in the middle of this year. Initially, I'm planning to rent and then buying a property. I'm interested in multi-family homes. But all the multi-family properties you can find around VA are really really old and expensive. Recently I watched a few videos where some people are building multifamily homes using a construction loan and renting.

I tried to find legal limitations in building a duplex in VA. But there are no clear-cut answers. Is it something possible in Richmond - VA?

Is it a good idea to build a duplex vs buying an old property with high maintenance cost?

Appreciate it if you can share your input.


#brrrr #duplex #multifamily #buying #building #renting #richmond #virginia 

@Dahanayaka De Silva personally I don’t like to own old properties but it really depends on the condition and location too. Regarding building your own it’s really good idea however financing is kinda the key here cause most of builders will be very particular about who they work with and the type of financing cause they will need to get paid in phases and once they finish a part they need to get reimbursed and if the lender is slower or has complicated procedures that can delay your project. I’m a realtor and investor that builds in Hampton Roads area and Richmond. Feel free to contact me for questions and help

Hi there.  The biggest issue with new construction now is that the cost of materials has gone through the roof.  I actually have a single family boarded up right now that we are planning to tear down and build a duplex and have put it on hold.  It is cheaper to buy existing than to build in the rental property grade arena.  My guess is you are seeing mostly turn of the century properties available based on the price filter you are using.  There is a reason they sell for so cheap and I also don't buy them for rentals.  They are OK for a flip, but the cost to rehab them is significantly more if you have to add central heat and air, move walls, deal with a historic board, etc.  If you are stuck on new construction, just be sure to check with the city zoning office before you commit to a lot to ensure what you want to build meets current zoning.  Depending on your income and credit situation, you don't necessarily have to draw a construction loan, as was mentioned before.  We build with a credit line that doesn't have any of the restrictions mentioned.  You do have to have something to collateralize a credit line though.  For example, if you have a stock portfolio, you can pledge that to a bank to get a credit line.

I think your biggest obstacle to building will be zoning. If an area where you can find a lot available is all single family zoned, it will be hard to change the designation. The only place I could see that is in Manchester/Blackwell, Highland Park, Church Hill, or other increasingly expensive neighborhoods...even for empty lots. If you're house hacking it for a few years and then selling it before any of the major capex items come due, you might be able to make the math work better. 

I've heard of people buying a property with a large sideyard and subdivide it off then build but you are also running into the costs of installing the laterals out to the sewer/water mains and installing underground power if no previous structure existed.