Should I convert a single family investment property to a duplex?

4 Replies

I own a property in Rhode Island that was at one point a two-family dwelling. It was converted to a single family years ago. It is in an area with lots of multi family properties.

I currently rent it by the bedroom and gross 1800/month. 4 bedrooms upstairs. 2 bedrooms downstairs.

Should I convert it back to a two unit? What are the implications of I decide to convert? I would probably gross approximately 2300 plus or minus.

Any input would help. I really appreciate it in advance!


@Joe Bakleh you'll need to look into whether you can convert it back to a 2-family based on current zoning requirements.

Just because it was a 2F in the past doesn't necessarily mean it's an automatic approval to go back to a 2F now. Lot size requirements may have changed, and it may have been a grandfathered 2F to begin with.

I'd recommend reading the Providence Zoning Ordinance, particularly the "Dimensional Standards" section/tables. You could also go to the building department in person and ask informally if they think it's likely something you'd be able to do.

@Joe Bakleh ,

Along with other suggestions on this thread, it comes down to the numbers.  Assuming the zoning works in your favor, what would it cost to convert it back and how long until you recoup that money?  Sometimes the more difficult approach is worth it, but is there an easier way to optimize the property so that you can get the additional $500 per month without converting it?  There may be other reasons you're asking this question that weren't mentioned, as I imagine renting 6 rooms to different people brings on its own challenges.  But if it's strictly for the additional income, I'd start with the path of least resistance on this one.  Just my two cents...but curious what others think about this.  Good luck!

Definitely agree with the other comments, Zoning should be your first check! If you are not zoned properly but you've mentioned the nearby properties are multi-family, it is worth having a meeting with the City Planning dept to discuss if rezoning would be considered.