Investing in brick multifamilies

4 Replies

Is there any disadvantages / advantages to investing in brick multifamilies v. the more traditional types of multifamilies? I am wondering about maintenance, value over time, etc.

Originally posted by @Edward Schenkel :

Is there any disadvantages / advantages to investing in brick multifamilies v. the more traditional types of multifamilies? I am wondering about maintenance, value over time, etc.

 Ed, in my "previous career" I specialized in a lot of restoration and preservation of old historic buildings. 8 or 9 times out of 10 we had to repoint brick. Of course, this mainly depends on the age of the structure. It's typically just a matter of time before the mortar becomes sand, and will need to be repointed. 

Also, is the brick you are referring to structural or just cosmetic (veneer)? Depending on how old the structure is, the insulation value of that wall might exceed that of traditional stud framing, thus saving money on heating and cooling costs. 

The nice thing about brick is that you don't (usually) paint it. What you see is what you get. Other siding applications typically have to be replaced (or at minimum repaired) every X amount of years. 

Hope that helps bud.

@Edward Schenkel my experience is specific to the space I operate in, which is small mutlifamily in the top tier parts of New Haven:

- Property value for brick will be slightly higher (assuming average or better condition brick)

- Property tax for brick will be a bit higher, all other things equal. Proportionally, the amount of extra tax paid is slightly inflated versus how much extra money you'll make on a sale. 

- You won't get additional monthly rent from brick. But keep in mind...

- attractive house is an attractive house, an ugly house is an ugly house. Rentability and achieving full market rent is easier with an attractive house, even if the interiors are equal. Old brick houses in my area are often very attractive.  Original wood clapboards are if they were maintained.  Siding encapsulations and beat-to-hell wood clapboards tend to be the biggest losers. 

- On old houses, yes, brick will require some maintenance.  Relatively expensive, but also not needed often. But painted clapboard I believe will likely need far more frequent maintenance, though at a lower cost each time. 

- Here's the wildcard: In the areas I operate, many small MF are being converted to Condos or owner-occupied SF.  This can be a quite lucrative exit strategy, or partial exit I suppose if you are going to manage the condo.  Good-condition Brick houses are a candidate for these valuable conversions, as are houses with original wood clapboards with nice detailed trim, also in good condition.  Wood w/ rot and covered in flaking lead paint?  Nah. Vinyl, Aluminum, or Asbestos?  Hell no. 

@Filipe Pereira Any quick suggestions for mortar for minor repointing of a brick + stone foundation?  Late-1800s soft brick.  Care more about not using a too-hard mortar and damaging the brick, more than finding a perfect visual match.  It's all been painted multiple times anyway. 

I live in the NW corner of the state, lot's of old properties out this way. Plenty of them being brick, I would probably rather live in a brick home than a tradition sided home out this way. Do brick places need more upkeep? Generally not - they will weather and age like any other thing in the northeast. The nice thing is the patina that they get as they weather and age. 

If you couldn't tell I am a big fan of brick

@Edward Schenkel Huge fan of brick houses. The exterior maintenance is costs over time are usually lower, are perceived as more valuable, and they look "solid." I wish there were more brick houses in New England. If I have a choice between a brick and non-brick property -- I would choose brick every time.

@Filipe Pereira Do you have any thoughts regarding the repointing costs for brick houses in CT? None of my houses need repointing at this time, however I am curious about costs.

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