San Diego - New construction 3-4 units behind SFR

9 Replies

I am looking for information/insight on the requirements for building a small 3-4 multi-unit complex BEHIND a SFR on a lot that is already zoned for Multi-units. I've found requirements for building on an empty lot, but not behind a SFR.

E.g. Are two separate detached buildings okay or is this a case-by-case basis depending on the lot characteristics in combination of the size of the existing SFR?

Any insight before I go down to the city to ask is appreciated.

Thank you!

Kind of hard giving you any advice with out looking at the plans.

But the first thought I had was "fire access" you may need to have one based on the distance your new construction will be from a fire vehicle. If I remember correctly its 150'.

Let me know what the city said.

Assuming that you're in a city, the answer, and any subsequent answers to how it can be done if it can be done, will be largely driven by your city's land development code.

What can safely be assumed though, is that you'll have to have some sort of street access. If the lots that you are looking at are completely encapsulated by other lots, this could be difficult.

So the house is in pretty bad condition. It won't qualify for a traditional loan and might be a complete tear down. This changes my strategy completely. I was hoping to have cash flow from the front unit while building the smaller units in the back.

I don't know how I'd fund the purchase for the lot since I'll need to pay cash. Family won't help. Hard money wouldnt work...

Plus I've never done a new construction project, so building an 8 unit building might not be a good first project!

Originally posted by @Lynn Currie:

Assuming that you're in a city, the answer, and any subsequent answers to how it can be done if it can be done, will be largely driven by your city's land development code.

What can safely be assumed though, is that you'll have to have some sort of street access. If the lots that you are looking at are completely encapsulated by other lots, this could be difficult.

  • The lot has street and alley access in the back. 
  • I called the city and the lady basically told me everything I already discovered on the city wesite, but to come down and talk to someone or hire an architect.

Many of your questions for building requirements can be answered by visiting City Planning and Zoning Department. If you can't get the conventional financing and private money doesn't work for you, you may want to consider wholesaling project and seeing if investor can take you under his/her wing to help show you the ropes. It could be a great learning experience for you.

@Rami W.  How many units are allowed on the lot? Is this in the 92113 zip?

@Matt C. @Antonio Gonzales @Lynn Currie @Al Dominguez  or anyone else,

There are 8 units allowed on the lot. How much should I expect new construction to cost for eight 2/1 units? 2-story building. Average to slightly above avg quality finish. The numbers I've found online are all over the place. 

Also, if you have any insight on tear down costs for an existing 2 story building.

Thanks for all the advice.

Definitely know the full code before you proceed.  Generally you can find the city codes posted online somewhere, you just have to dig 'til you find them.  I'd dig deeper than just the 8 units because there is usually a lot more in the code on so many levels. 

A few years ago I was salivating at a property here that looked a great one to split the lot - tons of houses on that street had been split into flag lots and lots of upside if I did so.  But deep in the city code it gave lots of details on what made that legal - and one small caveat centered around driveway size/spacing...and this property just didn't have enough space for that part of the code. So definitely know your code fully before proceeding.

I'd suggest talking to some contractors in your local area to get some cost estimates for your area.

@Rami W.  I'd have to agree with @Antonio Gonzales  It would be best to get involved with an experienced developer at least for your first projects, which it sounds like this is. I know, because I am also in development in San Diego. I sent you a request if you would like to connect.