Converting one families to duplex in New Jersey

12 Replies

My town has a high supply of lots that are Zoned for two Families. Rental market is super tight currently and any duplexes that hit the market end up in a bidding war.

Single family properties are not selling all that well though.

Anyone have experience converting these single family homes into duplexes? I feel this could be a way to meet the required return on investment numbers for buy hold rentals at this time.

If new build is $150 + a square foot what are ballpark costs to convert from one to two family? I know this is an answer that will vary from house to house but any info is appreciated. Thanks

If zoning allows for it. Make sure current house is acutally big enough to split. Would be expensive because the second unit will need kitchen bathroom. Also you might have to renovate both apartments electric to make bills split as well as water and gas.

Also don't forget the towns permit fees, architect costs + the acutal cost of the property etc. You need plans and a contractor. Depending on what part of nj you're in 150/sq' may be unrealistic. 

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Another way to look at this is to see if the house can be expanded. If you can add an extension you can maximize the property and bring in a huge amount of people as opposed to a smaller home. I had a one family in Hasbrouck Heights that I converted to a two family but I took down the old house and put a beautiful 3BR 3 bath in each apartment of the two family. Its worth exploring the idea to justify the expenses of new construction. If the house is a decent size you can save tons by adding to it. 

We do project management for our property management clients in Central NJ so I have done this stuff before. I converted a 3FH to a SFH last winter. Cost was $75-$85k. Getting an estimate p/ sqft for your job is impossible. Get quotes on what each thing will cost and that will give you a better idea.

@Shawn M

It cost 6**k ish

317 for the house

300 for the construction. I have a team and my cost is 85 a sqft. The outside rate is 150 here.

I always recommend my clients to go for a multi family because it’s an asset you can build on. Plus you learn to be a landlord

@Joe San where are you in NJ? I am not sure I would go that route only because there is also the possibility that you could be denied, have to go for variances or even have the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) crew come out at the town meetings. Don't forget the amount of time it takes for the whole process...you may be better off just sticking it out with what you have. It will most likely be less headaches. In terms of construction you could be looking at $100-$125 sq.ft. easily.

Thanks for your response. I am in hunterdon county. $100-$125 would be awesome! Lol. 
Originally posted by @Kevin Blanchard :

@Joe San where are you in NJ? I am not sure I would go that route only because there is also the possibility that you could be denied, have to go for variances or even have the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) crew come out at the town meetings. Don't forget the amount of time it takes for the whole process...you may be better off just sticking it out with what you have. It will most likely be less headaches. In terms of construction you could be looking at $100-$125 sq.ft. easily.

@Joe San I have done one conversion and one new construction. Things to think about: separating the electrical and gas - each unit should have full 24/7 access to its electrical panel and each unit needs "thermostatic control" for its heat. The other thing is fire separation codes. This is easier to attain when you are making side by side units - a little tougher when you are creating one unit over the other. Basically code says materials must create a one hour fire barrier between units. A good GC will be able to help you understand this. Short answer: yes, I would do it again... 

Hey Joe, 

I just put myself into your boat.  I bought a Single Family 7 Bed 3 Bath home zoned as an R2.  If you've achieved your goal would you mind sharing how it all played out?  I'd love to get some insight and begin my journey.