New real estate investors looking to get into the real estate market should consider single-family residences first. As the portfolio grows, it becomes increasingly likely that an investor may want to add additional investments into their portfolios. You can quickly achieve this by converting single-family homes into multi-unit properties. Before starting any construction project, however, there are some things to consider to determine whether a multifamily conversion will pay off in the end.
Multifamily Conversion Definition?
For this article, we’ll be referring to a multifamily unit conversion as converting one single-family residence to multiple residences (i.e., having at least two units). Multifamily conversions are properties that were never initially designed for the living of various families at once. They’re usually converted from single-family homes into apartments.
It is possible to divide a single house into multiple dwelling units by subdividing an existing structure into smaller living spaces. These small unit structures can be physically separate from each other within the original building, or they can be attached. They can even be built on different levels.
Multifamily conversion projects are quite common for larger properties (2,000+ sq ft) located in multi-story buildings. A typical unit might be similar in size to another nearby, but they could vary depending on their specific location. For example, some buildings share an entranceway, whereas others don’t. Multifamily properties must comply with specific regulations, such as:
- It has its external doors (possibly two if the law requires).
- It needs at least one bedroom.
- An entire kitchen.
- A fully equipped bathroom including a toilet and bath/shower.
- Separate Heating / Cooling
- Its own set of utility programs.
Multifamily Into A Single-Family Home Steps To Follow
Many larger buildings have already gone through conversion into multifamily dwellings. You could buy an old house originally built to serve several families, but now you’d like to use it just for yourself. To achieve this, you need to restore it to its initial condition. It isn’t just a matter of breaking down wall studs; you’ll need to have adequate skill and experience in various building trades.
Contact the local authority for details regarding any permits needed to reduce the number of dwelling units on your property. Converting several houses into one reduces the total number of constructions in an area.
Make sure you draw up a floorplan of the house and figure out which rooms need what kind of furniture. Identify where the bathroom was originally located, then determine how many bedrooms you want, and decide whether or not they will be upstairs or downstairs. These blueprints will guide you when choosing whether utilities need to stay put after completion of the construction. You might consider hiring someone specializing in architecture to draft these designs for you.
If you don’t know which rooms were originally part of one another, use any pictures or documents from before (before converting the single unit) to figure out which room belonged to each section. An expert builder knows whether certain walls are structurally sound and therefore there is no need to take them down. Remove interior doorways and frame elements from existing partitions to create larger spaces within them.
You may prefer to remove the kitchen and bathroom additions from your house, then you need to disconnect their plumbing lines. In case the current layout of the building is radically different from the old one, then you might need to replace the existing plumbing system before starting construction completely. Finally, if for every house there is already an individual boiler, the same logic will apply to the central heating system. In such cases, hire professional experts to perform this task for you.
Rewire the electrical power supply to have just one main switchboard control panel. Because you need to have just one main switch for turning off the power at any given time. Get an electrical engineer to check out the wiring. It might be necessary to redo the wiring throughout the entire house completely.
Unify the interior design by redecorating the whole house. If any walls have been taken down, then floors must be covered by new carpets, linoleum, tiles, etc., & skirting boards need replacing.