4-Plex built in 1902

2 Replies

Good morning BP community,

I could use some guidance on those who have dealt with really old houses.  I found a property (house but made into a 4 plex) in a college town that was built in 1902.  Outside has been updated with paint, roof, some windows, and foundation work.  Inside is a different story.  Plumbing needs a lot of work, electrical has been updated but still has some knob & tube wiring.  Another big concern is the plaster walls and ceiling, some of the ceiling has fallen down and walls have major cracks due to the house settling.  I am curious to hear what others have done in this situation is it better to remove the plaster and do sheetrock but that will take away from the history of it.

4 bedroom, 4 bath, 4 fireplaces, 4 kitchenettes, all hardwood floors 2 story.  2 units upstairs, 2 unit downstairs.  I am struggling to come up with good repair numbers as I am concerned with what I might find once the repairs start happening.

Looking to possibly to a BRRRR on this one. I think I can get the property for $70,000 (They had the property listed a year ago for $150,000), ARV probably around $130,000, Rent per unit $400-$500. My original estimate was around $40,000 for repairs but I think that is too low.

I realize there is more information needed for you all to provide detail guidance but looking for those that have had experience with older homes and did you build a bigger contingency for repairs.

As always appreciate all your feedback and thank you in advance,


Just did a 4 unit built in 1899 that was plaster walls and knob and tubed up. Paid 4k in demo alone and my contractor was whining the whole time about how dusty and gross the job was. In hindsight, it's way more sensible to drywall over the walls with quarter inch or half inch drywall.

The knob and tube shouldn't be too much of a pain to swap out (but definitely do it). Most of my markets generally prefer clean and modern compared to all original restored. It's a bit more cost effective to get to a hybrid of both styles. Bathrooms and kitchens get the modern treatment. If the bedrooms have some ornate trim or some defining characteristic, we try to preserve as much as possible.

Many people have their own opinion but I would rather cover 100 year a old hardwood floors with brand new LVT and get a brand new totally clean look rather than save a few hundred bucks and refinish old wood.

@Rodney Buford

I'm rehabbing a 4plex in the historic NE, built in 1905. Near Gladstone Blvd. Very similar to what you are describing. I needed a new flat roof, plus I replaced all furnaces and AC condensers, mostly new ductwork. Almost all new plumbing plus a new larger water main. Lots of new electrical, new appliances, fixing concrete work. All new cabinets. It's basically down to the studs except I don't have to take out some of the walls. Rehab is about 135-140k. I would go with new drywall over the plaster but up to you. 

@Account Closed I am saving old hardwoods even in kitchens, but that is because I think it looks cool, I'm putting LVT in the bathrooms. We shall see if I regret it ;)

I will charge 750-800 unit once I'm done. I don't think the numbers work to rehab units that generate less cash than 750-800/mo. So I avoid areas with market rents of 500.