Turning Single family into a Duplex?

5 Replies

Occasionally, I come across deals of a single family residences that could be turned into a duplex really easily.  Has anyone had experience doing this,  is it a good strategy and what are some of the concerns to consider when doing this.   

It's something I really want to learn more about as well. My 4-unit was a single-family and they made it a 4-unit. Doing so literally doubled the monthly rent. And now that my market is heating up I've considered turning a single-family into a multi - Like you, I would love to hear from others who have done this successfully.

I think about all the money the rehabber put into my 4-unit and would likely only do it in an A or B property due to cost (my 4-unit is in a C neighborhood and I'm aware it's tougher to get zoned as a multi in a lot of A-class neighborhoods). 

Of course, one needs to get the OK from the city, permits, have a friendly floor plan to keep the work as minimal as possible, etc. 

I think it would be easier to do to make a duplex (as opposed to larger). 

@Greg Wilding I have a home rented out in Saratoga Springs that we turned in to a duplex type of arrangement. The home has 3 levels, with the lower level that includes a kitchen, and walk-out to the backyard. So there is one family who rents the top two main floors, and another family that rents the bottom floor. 

One concern, that is actually not an issue currently, but will be in the future, is how the laundry room is to be used. The laundry room in this particular home is on the third level (the upstairs of the home). Currently, that works okay, since the two families are friends, so they just have their own arrangement figured out about when the family on the lower level can go upstairs to do their laundry, etc. But, in the future, when there are new tenants in there, that don't know each other, I'm not sure yet how to handle that. I have thought about checking to see if there is some type of portable washer/dryer, that I could just put in the lower level kitchen area, to be used there, and stored off to the side, or something. 

One other concern, in the future, is how the garage would/could be used. Its a very large 3-car garage, with one door into the main home, and another door to the outside. It currently works fine, with those two separate families that know each other, but in the future, when that is no longer the case, I'm not sure what needs to be considered as far as use of the garage. 

thanks for the Info!  I was looking at one in Saratoga Springs to do that also, the city said that the city council needs to approve a duplex status, and it most likely it wouldn't be approved to switch it to a duplex.  Have you ran into any issues with the city?   Another concerns I ran into was how to refinance it to get out of the hard money loan.  the lenders i have talked to said they would not be able to use the income from both units because it is a single family home. 

@Greg Wilding

Yes Sir years ago we found many duplexes that were actually converted into single family homes. I get what they were doing at the time. As the value for Duplex's in that area were not good. No comps and very little sales. Yet as a 4 bd room 2 bath house. ARV jumped up. So we came in and converted them back to cash flowing duplexes after they failed the other way for those folks. Its always a smart play. Make sure and check zoning first and foremost. Check to make sure it can be done. Some folks do now and ask later. Thats when they get burned.

Alex




Originally posted by @Greg Wilding:

Occasionally, I come across deals of a single family residences that could be turned into a duplex really easily.  Has anyone had experience doing this,  is it a good strategy and what are some of the concerns to consider when doing this.   

Thanks Alex, I don't want to get burned or into something that I have a hard time getting out of  because of zoning issues.  I think I have realized its better to just get something that is zone properly and already set up as a multi unit property