Cost to separate a duplex down into 2 apartments

7 Replies

So at one time my duplex down was 2 apts, until there was a fire.  Currently it is still a duplex down, and I want to make it into 2 units.  The basement is 3bd , 1 bath.  It has it's own furnace, water heater, and ac already installed.  So the things that would need to be added would be door to separate apartments, I want hardwood floors installed, a kitchen needed to be put into place, bathroom remodel,  and of course fresh paint.  I was hoping all this could be done for about 10k .  Do you think this is possible? 

10k would mean bottom-tier everything, and if you're putting in hardwood floors, I can tell you don't want it bottom tier. Are you doing the work yourself? That will save you some money. Otherwise some contractors might charge up to 8k just for a bathroom remodel, and the kitchen would be more than that. If you're going to do it yourself, hang your own cabinets from a big box store, do LVT instead of hardwood floors which you can install yourself, laminate counters, used or refurbished appliances, etc. You could keep the remodel low but not under 10k is my guess without seeing the space or how much work needs to be done.

Another thing to consider- is your house zoned for 2 units? It never hurts to double check. Also, how bad was the fire? Are there structural problems that need to be addressed as well?

For 10k? Probably not possible. You're looking minimum $30k+ for a bathroom, kitchen and new hardwood flooring. This is a stab in the dark as I have no idea what "a kitchen be put in place" means. 

Also, pay attention to how things are metered. Are there 2 gas meters? 3 electric meters? (Common areas will need their own electric for when you move out).

@Bret Rankin as others have stated you want to make sure that the property is zoned for the new unit. The main reason I tell clients to avoid illegal units it that you get no return when you sell the place. You could pour 20-30k into this "unit" and then have to de convert all the work you did just to sell. In addition, there are fines if you get caught (admittedly not likely in the city proper) and in my opinion it just ends up not being worth it for the most part. 

I believe it is zoned for it.  The building is a 3 unit now, and I was told there was a fire in the basement unit in the past.  For the bathroom , the only thing I was going to replace was the vanity and maybe floor.  I was going have the tub resurfaced and walls painted.

Originally posted by @Forrest Williams :

10k would mean bottom-tier everything, and if you're putting in hardwood floors, I can tell you don't want it bottom tier. Are you doing the work yourself? That will save you some money. Otherwise some contractors might charge up to 8k just for a bathroom remodel, and the kitchen would be more than that. If you're going to do it yourself, hang your own cabinets from a big box store, do LVT instead of hardwood floors which you can install yourself, laminate counters, used or refurbished appliances, etc. You could keep the remodel low but not under 10k is my guess without seeing the space or how much work needs to be done.

Another thing to consider- is your house zoned for 2 units? It never hurts to double check. Also, how bad was the fire? Are there structural problems that need to be addressed as well?

 Hi Forrest. I was curious if you could give me some advice/do you have experience in zoning. Long sotry short, I bought a sfh that was set up with 2 units. The zoning allows 2 units and the property is over 5,000 sq ft which is required for 2 units. The home has everything set up for 2 apartments ie two kitchens,  4 bedrooms, 2 baths,  2 furnaces,  4 entrances and everything is above grade. An attorney told me I could convert,  but would need to get a permit to have the zoning certificate changed.  Do you have any experience in something like this or do you know someone who would?  

I do not, but I'm sure someone else could weigh in too. If you want to do it, talk to your lawyer, s/he can help you out, then talk to the city and they'll walk you through it. It sounds like most of your work is already done for you. Every time I've gotten permits, I've tried to be as prompt and polite as possible, that goes a long way.