Building a 4-Plex In San Antonio, TX

13 Replies | San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio investor community: I am a new SA investor and need some advice.  I bought my first SA property located at 147 Livingston (Harlendale) that sits on a 8000 sqft lot as rental/owner finance, my sweetspot.  Long story short, its a lemon as the foundation is unrepairable.  My options are to: (a). sell off as land and take loss, (b). build a single family, (c). build a 4-plex.  I am inclined to explore option (c).  

Questions to the community as I dont have construction experience. 

1). Any investor out there experienced with building 4-plexes in SA that's willing to walk me through the process? 

2). I am specifically looking at speaking with folks that have: 

- Architect/permits experience (specifically know good 4-plex architects)

- 4-plex construction experience as investor

- Construction banking experience (I have a commercial loan but never dealt with construction before)

- Property mgmt: experienced with managing 4-plexes specifically.

I appreciate any guidance the community can give me. In parallel, I am getting comps to better understand the revenue potential for 2/3/4 doors by configuration (1/1, 2/1, 2/2) to better understand yields.

Thanks, Ash Mathradas.

Hello @Ash Mathradas

     Interesting strategy.  I was just discussing the potential for new build multiunits as rentals today.  What is the zoning for your lot?  My experience trying to convert a detached garage in SA was more of a hassle than I was willing to pursue (with the type of zoning it had).  I would start with zoning and see what is allowed and if it isn't allowed, what it would take to change the zoning; if possible.  

     Keep us posted.

Best of luck.

I'm by no means a zoning expert, but the lot appears to be zoned R-6 which means its zoned for a single family with a lot size of at least 6000 sqft.  

In order to build a multi-family I believe it would need to be rezoned (either MF or RM) or have a variance.  

Also,  I don't know the condition of the foundation but it may be worth getting a second opinion.  Foundation issues are quite common in SA.

San Antonio has lots of information online. They have their zoning map https://gis.sanantonio.gov/DSD/OneStop/Index.html so that you can see what everything is zoned. There is multifamily on the main streets, but not in the purely residential area that you are in. It would be almost impossible to get a zoning change unless you were going to try to change everyone around you at the same time.

I would look at the foundation with another company. And also, dont buy from the wholesaler that you bought from again. They are notorious for selling way over priced properties to out of area people or people who are new to the business. 

It’s possible to get things re-zoned. We were told to get community support (via signatures) then turn those in with the re-zoning application. Do you mind if I ask which wholesale company you bought the property from? 

@Ash Mathradas , you want me to wholesale a property that you overpaid for AND that has a foundation issue that someone just told you is not fixable??

If you are ready to sell that property for about 15k, which is about the price that I could sell the lot for, no problem. Otherwise, NO.

@Ash Mathradas If its a new build that you're looking for, I have a contractor that my investors use here in San Antonio. The name of the company is Elise Construction with Brad Clawson. He is super dilligent. Will take care of the architects, dealing with the permits, and getting you information from the City. I was in recent communication with him for a lot where one of my investors was going to develop on and Brad was solid. A straight arrow. 

Reach out to him if this is the route you want to go. 

As with any real estate problem, we as investors must always begin by verifying our assumptions so we know that we can truly rely on them to make financial decisions. As a successful commercial real estate developer known for taking on complicated structural reconstructions and turning them into some of Baltimore’s most popular places, I have to question whether your foundation is truly “unrepairable”. Again, it is our first job as investors to establish a solid foundation of information, so to speak; so we must always temper the advice of our advisors with our own wisdom, even if that advisor is a structural engineer or general contractor. With that in mind, tell me, what makes you conclude that the foundation is unrepairable? I’ll be happy to review photos if you have them.

Once we get through the first question, the best plan of action will begin to rise to the top.

Ian Parrish