How can I calculate the cost of building a 4 unit apartment building

3 Replies

I live in a small town with very few apartment buildings. Apartments are hard to find because there are so few of them around here. Apartment buildings never go for sale because they are cash cows. I want to build a 4 unit apartment building. I have construction experience but no experience running the show. I am going to do this using cash. Building costs are relatively cheap here, it is a pretty rural area. How do I go about calculating building costs?

Talk to a few contractors. They should be able to give you a 'ballpark' p.s.f. without seeing plans if you can tell them the basic structure (i.e. single story, 2 bdrm - 2 bth, 750 sq. ft per unit, etc). Just realize they are going to be ballpark estimates and will most likely not include the other 'soft costs' (i.e. permits, insurance, utility hookups, interest, etc).

We are in the process of getting permitting to build a 7-plex apartments / condo's in Phoenix and here our rough numbers (final bids will come after permits):
-- 11k sq. ft. total
-- Construction $725k
-- Other / Soft Costs (architect, engineers, land, interest, insurance, permits, etc): $125k

Construction p.s.f. = $66
Total p.s.f. = $77

Note these are still rough numbers and likely lower than what you will see on the East coast....


Google Muncy Superior Homes, muncy PA. They are a modular home factory that build & deliver all over, MA too. They build for around $30 a sq ft & build multi units as well.Tell them what you need and they'll give you a price.

I've worked on / around large garden apt complexes that were modulars down in Newark NJ, The Hudson County NJ Jail was even Modular (albeit concrete) units. I was there when they were setting the jail units and went in and checked one out, being that, that would be the only time that I'd ever be in one (fingers crossed :). They had the stainless steel single unit sink/toilet, polished stainless steel mirror (no glass) & stainless steel bed. Didn't have that homey feeling at all.

Modulars are easy to finish once set. Their minimum standards will most likely surpass your local zoning & site built proposals.

I don't have a lot of time, so I'll give you the short version.

You can't do it yourself without getting licensed. You're in MA, they're tough about that. Here's the link to the Construction Supervisors info. This only qualifies you to work on one and two family. Then you need to upgrade to the commercial side of things for a three or four family. It would be cheaper to hire someone. ...

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