What's the best way to build 1800 sq ft as an investment?

9 Replies

I might qualify for a loan which would allow me to build up to about 3000 square feet after buying land. I will build an owner-occupied multi family home, and I will dedicate 1200 square feet for myself and my family. What's the best use of the other 1800 square feet, so that I can bring in the most money? 

Should I build a duplex, and stuff as many 100sqft bedrooms as possible into the 1800 sqft unit? Maybe just have a kitchen area and have the rest be bedrooms, with no living room, and rent it out by the room? Or should I split it into 2-3 units? Perhaps do three 600sqft 3 bedroom units, again, with no living room area and rent it out by the room that way, so that it's only 3 different people sharing each unit? Or should I have "regular" units with a nice living room area? I feel like regular units would decrease my cash flow. 

Originally posted by @John D. :

Where will this project be? How is the land zoned? How large is the parcel?

 Haven't bought the land yet, there are a couple of land options that are available, so it really depends on what I will want to build. It will have to be multifamily, at least a duplex, where I will occupy one side (1200 square feet), and the other 1800 sqft will be rented out. But I'm wondering if it's better to break it up into smaller units and build a fourplex. It's more expensive because there would be more kitchens. 

Small-ish town, about 40 minutes away from a bigger town and about an hour away from a university. There is a community college in the small town. 

There is no universal "best way" to build, as it will be mostly dependent on the demographic that you are looking to target based on the area you purchase land in. Looking at statistics such as median income and average age, while considering how the area may change in the coming years (businesses coming or going) can be a good start. It may be helpful to get in touch with a local agent that can advise on the clientele that are typical for the area.

 Originally posted by @Ellie Narie :

I might qualify for a loan which would allow me to build up to about 3000 square feet after buying land. I will build an owner-occupied multi family home, and I will dedicate 1200 square feet for myself and my family. What's the best use of the other 1800 square feet, so that I can bring in the most money? 

Should I build a duplex, and stuff as many 100sqft bedrooms as possible into the 1800 sqft unit? Maybe just have a kitchen area and have the rest be bedrooms, with no living room, and rent it out by the room? Or should I split it into 2-3 units? Perhaps do three 600sqft 3 bedroom units, again, with no living room area and rent it out by the room that way, so that it's only 3 different people sharing each unit? Or should I have "regular" units with a nice living room area? I feel like regular units would decrease my cash flow. 

You may run into issues if there are too many people living there. Are you on sewer or septic?  What about utilities? 18 people can go through a lot of utilities. Is the rent in the area high enough to cover your nut and still profit? What are you projected to clear ? Any analysis on that?  If it’s 3-4% I wouldn’t even waste the time. Way too much effort for those returns

Do you really want to deal with 18 tenants? That’s a full time job.  Are you gonna do mtm leases? Have you taken on account the possibility that you may not be able to get 18 people living in harmony? 

You’re letting your “cash flow” turn into “greed flow” if you plan on doing a 18 room addition. 

And 100 sq ft is really a 10x10 jail cell. I would never want to rent anything under those conditions.  And I’m betting most people won’t.  Unless it’s really really cheap. 

Having two rentals with steady tenants and no headache factor beats 18 roommates that come and go and the rooms stay vacant for one to two months. 

Originally posted by @Ellie Narie :
Originally posted by @John D.:

Where will this project be? How is the land zoned? How large is the parcel?

 Haven't bought the land yet, there are a couple of land options that are available, so it really depends on what I will want to build. It will have to be multifamily, at least a duplex, where I will occupy one side (1200 square feet), and the other 1800 sqft will be rented out. But I'm wondering if it's better to break it up into smaller units and build a fourplex. It's more expensive because there would be more kitchens. 

Small-ish town, about 40 minutes away from a bigger town and about an hour away from a university. There is a community college in the small town. 

If you’re able to do a fourplex you bunch the kitchens and  bathrooms along the walls where they share lengthwise or horizontal. This way the plumbing is all in one shared area. If you want to go a step further build a walking access space 36 inchnir so wide between the walls so the plumber can have access to the back of ALL the kitchens and bathrooms  from a exterior door. 

That’s how I would build a 4plex. 

Originally posted by @Rob D. :
 Originally posted by @Ellie Narie:

I might qualify for a loan which would allow me to build up to about 3000 square feet after buying land. I will build an owner-occupied multi family home, and I will dedicate 1200 square feet for myself and my family. What's the best use of the other 1800 square feet, so that I can bring in the most money? 

Should I build a duplex, and stuff as many 100sqft bedrooms as possible into the 1800 sqft unit? Maybe just have a kitchen area and have the rest be bedrooms, with no living room, and rent it out by the room? Or should I split it into 2-3 units? Perhaps do three 600sqft 3 bedroom units, again, with no living room area and rent it out by the room that way, so that it's only 3 different people sharing each unit? Or should I have "regular" units with a nice living room area? I feel like regular units would decrease my cash flow. 

You may run into issues if there are too many people living there. Are you on sewer or septic?  What about utilities? 18 people can go through a lot of utilities. Is the rent in the area high enough to cover your nut and still profit? What are you projected to clear ? Any analysis on that?  If it’s 3-4% I wouldn’t even waste the time. Way too much effort for those returns

Do you really want to deal with 18 tenants? That’s a full time job.  Are you gonna do mtm leases? Have you taken on account the possibility that you may not be able to get 18 people living in harmony? 

You’re letting your “cash flow” turn into “greed flow” if you plan on doing a 18 room addition. 

And 100 sq ft is really a 10x10 jail cell. I would never want to rent anything under those conditions.  And I’m betting most people won’t.  Unless it’s really really cheap. 

Having two rentals with steady tenants and no headache factor beats 18 roommates that come and go and the rooms stay vacant for one to two months. 

 It would only be 3 roommates per unit if I build three 600 sqft 3-bed units. So a total of 9 people that I'd have to collect rent from. 

Originally posted by @Ellie Narie :
Originally posted by @Rob D.:
 Originally posted by @Ellie Narie:

I might qualify for a loan which would allow me to build up to about 3000 square feet after buying land. I will build an owner-occupied multi family home, and I will dedicate 1200 square feet for myself and my family. What's the best use of the other 1800 square feet, so that I can bring in the most money? 

Should I build a duplex, and stuff as many 100sqft bedrooms as possible into the 1800 sqft unit? Maybe just have a kitchen area and have the rest be bedrooms, with no living room, and rent it out by the room? Or should I split it into 2-3 units? Perhaps do three 600sqft 3 bedroom units, again, with no living room area and rent it out by the room that way, so that it's only 3 different people sharing each unit? Or should I have "regular" units with a nice living room area? I feel like regular units would decrease my cash flow. 

You may run into issues if there are too many people living there. Are you on sewer or septic?  What about utilities? 18 people can go through a lot of utilities. Is the rent in the area high enough to cover your nut and still profit? What are you projected to clear ? Any analysis on that?  If it’s 3-4% I wouldn’t even waste the time. Way too much effort for those returns

Do you really want to deal with 18 tenants? That’s a full time job.  Are you gonna do mtm leases? Have you taken on account the possibility that you may not be able to get 18 people living in harmony? 

You’re letting your “cash flow” turn into “greed flow” if you plan on doing a 18 room addition. 

And 100 sq ft is really a 10x10 jail cell. I would never want to rent anything under those conditions.  And I’m betting most people won’t.  Unless it’s really really cheap. 

Having two rentals with steady tenants and no headache factor beats 18 roommates that come and go and the rooms stay vacant for one to two months. 

 It would only be 3 roommates per unit if I build three 600 sqft 3-bed units. So a total of 9 people that I'd have to collect rent from. 

 That beats the 18 room headache you talked about. 

Are your going to have individual leases or all occupants in the unit on one lease? 

Originally posted by @Rob D. :
Originally posted by @Ellie Narie:
Originally posted by @Rob D.:
 Originally posted by @Ellie Narie:

I might qualify for a loan which would allow me to build up to about 3000 square feet after buying land. I will build an owner-occupied multi family home, and I will dedicate 1200 square feet for myself and my family. What's the best use of the other 1800 square feet, so that I can bring in the most money? 

Should I build a duplex, and stuff as many 100sqft bedrooms as possible into the 1800 sqft unit? Maybe just have a kitchen area and have the rest be bedrooms, with no living room, and rent it out by the room? Or should I split it into 2-3 units? Perhaps do three 600sqft 3 bedroom units, again, with no living room area and rent it out by the room that way, so that it's only 3 different people sharing each unit? Or should I have "regular" units with a nice living room area? I feel like regular units would decrease my cash flow. 

You may run into issues if there are too many people living there. Are you on sewer or septic?  What about utilities? 18 people can go through a lot of utilities. Is the rent in the area high enough to cover your nut and still profit? What are you projected to clear ? Any analysis on that?  If it’s 3-4% I wouldn’t even waste the time. Way too much effort for those returns

Do you really want to deal with 18 tenants? That’s a full time job.  Are you gonna do mtm leases? Have you taken on account the possibility that you may not be able to get 18 people living in harmony? 

You’re letting your “cash flow” turn into “greed flow” if you plan on doing a 18 room addition. 

And 100 sq ft is really a 10x10 jail cell. I would never want to rent anything under those conditions.  And I’m betting most people won’t.  Unless it’s really really cheap. 

Having two rentals with steady tenants and no headache factor beats 18 roommates that come and go and the rooms stay vacant for one to two months. 

 It would only be 3 roommates per unit if I build three 600 sqft 3-bed units. So a total of 9 people that I'd have to collect rent from. 

 That beats the 18 room headache you talked about. 

Are your going to have individual leases or all occupants in the unit on one lease? 

 Individual leases. 

@Ellie Narie for this group to truly help, you are probably going to have to tell us what town or area, and what the zoning is for the parcels that you are considering.  You have too many unknowns now, for an outsider to give you any specific helpful advice.

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