Hi world. I have a 2 family in East Boston, MA that had some work in place for a basement apartment when I bought it. The house is currently a 2 family and I was hoping to make it a 3. It might take 35k for the renovation and I would be looking at $1200/month from the unit. Pretty nice ROI. The ceiling height is ideal and the unit would have one egress through the basement door and another through a window. What are the legal steps in this process?
- Get zoning/planning to approve
- Get building department to approve
- Do the construction
- Get it inspected
- Pass inspection & voila, legal unit
It all starts by going down to the zoning/planning department of your city.
Hey Juan, thanks for the detailed response. I will search for those things and get the ball rolling.
@JP Krueger - I'm considering the same, but won't be ready to get serious until 2017 because currently the basement is rented for storage. Anyhow, I was given the names of an attorney and architect with experience in Boston with this. Let me know if you'd like their contact info.
Also looking to do something like this in my RI unit.
@JP Krueger I'm a fellow real estate investor and a zoning attorney who practices in Boston. You are going to have an issue with means of access, the window. Also, the new administration has taken a more negative view of adding basement units than their predecessors. I'm not saying it can't be done but it can be a very complicated process. Direct message me if you'd like to discuss further.
@JP Krueger Welcome.
"Does this mean I skip step 1 and go right to the building dept?"
No, Step 1 - Attorney.
Thanks for all of the info everyone. Brian, I will be in touch soon if I decide to go down this road in the fall.
Hello, I'm curious how this went. I currently am closing on a Boston property I plan to convert to a 3 family in an MFR zone. It would be 3 levels of 1 bed, 1 bath units and all work to meet building / fire codes will be done. My biggest concern is hitting a roadblock with zoning, specifically for parking (there isn't any) but if it's in an MFR zone, will the building department kick it to zoning potentially for a variance? Thank you in advance for any assistance.
Shane you need to check out the Real Estate Addicts podcasts. It's 3 developers, one of whom is @Ray Hurteau , specifically in the Boston area who have done work in South Boston, East Boston and surrounding. They have many episodes that have knowledge specific to exactly what you're doing, including a episodes specifically on zoning. (But don't just listen to that episode, because all of them provide great info and it's more or less and pertaining to Boston). Good luck. I live in Jeffries point so great to see the neighborhood getting renovation!
Thank you Tim, I’ve subscribed and I’m very excited to listen to the content. Appreciate the note and well wishes.
Hey @Shaine Grogan , go here and enter your property address:
From there, you'll see the zoning that applies and look for the various tables that talk about setback requirements, minimum lot sizes, parking, etc. Ideally, you'd want to engage a local zoning attorney who works in that neighborhood and get a zoning analysis/opinion. Feel free to PM/connect if you'd like. Thanks for the shoutout @Timothy Walsh !
@Shaine Grogan did you ever convert your basement to make your property a 3F? Also, did you look at Boston's ADU Program? If so, what made you choose to make the building a 3F vs a 2F with an ADU?