Converting a duplex to a single-family

8 Replies


I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts about converting a duplex to a single family home?

My situation: I have a house under contract, it was a duplex (2/1 with ~1,200 sq and 1/1 with ~ 800 sq) but the seller knocked down a wall to make it a continuous living area and rented it as a single family.  It still has two gas meters and two power meters.  I'm buying the house as-is for cash.  

The reason I ask: I'd like to do a cash-out refi in 6 months to get my equity back, but I'm not sure if the duplex/single situation will make that difficult.

So, should I take out the second gas and electric meters to fully convert it to a single-family? Can I leave the meters there, because it doesn't matter? Put the wall back up so it's back to a duplex?

Any suggestions are welcome.  Thanks!

@Sam Dangremond  Welcome to BP! As to your question, I'd talk to a lender or appraiser and ask them which way is more beneficial for the type of loan you want to get. I don't know that the meters will necessarily make any difference, but the zoning may. Good luck.

Most of the rehabs we have been doing the past few years have been duplex into SFH conversions. We always run new electric into one, usually 200 amp, service. We usually leave the second gas meter and just use the one. I have seen them before where they still used both gas meters.

I cannot say if you should keep it a SFH or convert back to a duplex. You need to figure the optimal use for that property. Usually in our market, converting and flipping in the retail market will provide the most gains. In your market, maybe a 2 family rental makes more sense. I don't know.

Thank you both!

I hadn't thought about zoning, good point.

I'm not worried about which option will make more money per se, I'm just wondering about the technicalities of converting, and any relation to investment financing.  I shall have to find a good mortgage broker.

 - Sam

@John Skaggs

Hi John!

Some friends of mine were thinking about converting a duplex into a SFR.

The problem - the front entrance - there are two front entrance doorwayrs that are in the middle of the house - one toward the left / one toward the right.

It's a brick exterior.

So if you fill in one door, the front entrance will look off center. Not sure if this is a problem..but..

Have you ever had to deal with an issue like this before?

What was your solution?

And I was wondering if you had any pre / post pictures of your duplex conversions?

Thanks a lot!

Most of the time we and I noticed that most others leave both doors.  We have done it before with a single door and a transom on both sides that looks great too.  

Here is a pic.  

Here's one where we left it 

Considering wholesaling a quad I have under contract in East Nashville (used to be a SFR) as a SFR.

One good thing is, as far as I know, all the utilities and such are included in the rent because they are all running off the same water heater and electric and such. 

Anyone have any thoughts on this? My logic is big beautiful brick houses in East Nashville seem to be selling a lot higher than quads?

@Micah Copeland I totally agree. I think East Nashville trends would support the SFR...IF it was a SFR before and was converted to a quad, so the flow and layout COULD make sense again as I'm sure it did before. If it was built as a quad you would likely have a lot more Reno costs and have to do a lot of rearranging to make good flow, etc. I'm guessing with the electric and water situation it likely was a previous SFR that was carved up. Good luck!

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