Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Duplex Home Plans

May 12, 2013

Michael asks…

I live in a duplex apartment home. I believe it has a drainage problem in the front of the house.?

The front door and the side door have huge puddles after the bottom step which you practically have to hurdle to get to your car and the grass has huge puddles in it as well whenever it rains or snows. I recently went down cellar and stood in front of my washer and dryer. If I’m not mistaken, it looks like they are sloping towards the right, which, if outside, would be the front of the building. Is the foundation sinking? Do I need to find another apartment or am I safe in this one for about 3 more years until my planned move to Florida?

Administrator answers:

Why not call the landlord? It’s his building. He might like to know

Laura asks…

Zoning issues, buying a 7-unit residential building that is zoned for DUPLEX?

I am looking at a large Victorian home that has been converted into 7 separate units. When looking at the zoning map from the planning commission, the property is zoned as R-D (Residential Duplex). What types of problems could I run into with this zoning issue? What could be done to request a change of zoning? How would you handle this with the seller as it was not disclosed to me–I found it doing a search on it?

Administrator answers:

This type of thing seems to go on quite a bit. And owner will create units that are not authorized and then try to sell the building as if it has those number of units authorized.

The first problem you will run into is financing. The loan for a duplex is considered a conventional loan with multi-family rider. When the mortgage company through the appraiser finds out there are seven units instead of two, they will want to switch to a commercial loan. But then you will not be able to get financing, because you do not have the proper variance from the city for seven units. So your loan will be denied.

The second problem you may run into, is that the local zoning inspector may also take and interest in the building when it transfers ownership. When they realize that there are more units than authorized they will require that you get it into compliance.

I bought a 13 unit apartment building once that had two extra units created. When I bought the building the zoning inspector made me get a trash dumpster for the building because it was more than six units. Even though the previous owner for years had the tenants put their trash on the curb and the city picked it up for free. And they made me remove the two extra units they were not authorized. Fortunately, they were not rented out at the time.

A change in zoning should be accomplished prior to you acquiring this property. Zoning request changes can take months and there is no guarantee it will be approved. The city may simply deny it outright because the population density would be to high and there is little available parking. Or they may need to take input from neighbors concerning the zoning change, and the neighbors would object.

The seller needs to clear this up before selling the property. Do the tenants have leases? If they do, and the zoning inspectors crack down on you, you could have a real problem. Kicking people out who have valid leases could then cause you more problems.

Good Luck

Charles asks…

First time home buyer possibly Buying Duplex?

Im asking this question because i want to be safe.This wwould e my first house.Im 18 years old I live in Northern California.I have Good credit, I am a firefighter / and work for my fathers construction Company.
Im considering going in on deal with my dad and buying a property and then building a duplex.One half would be mine and the other his.The duplex is on .5 acres and it would be not connected. one being 1000 sq feet with 2 car garage being mine the other beting 900 and 1 car garage.Im planning on living on one half and my dad renting out his side.What should i watch out for?what should i do to be safe?

ps id either being selling it in 2 -4 years depending on the market or buy out my dad or rent my half out.

Administrator answers:

Get a lawyer and make sure you get an inspection for a 3rd party…

Lisa asks…

Duplex/triplex is better than a single family home in terms of ROI?

I plan to buy a single house as a rental. I just found out I could buy a duplex/triplex with the same price. However, the rents I can collect from duplex/triplex are higher than from a single family house. Is it a good idea to buy a multi family property as a rental or it is too good to be true?

Administrator answers:

Depending on your investment experience. If the duplex/triplex is legally built, and you know the duties and the rights as a landlord, of course, go for a duplex/triplex. No money is easily earned, duplex/triplex double/triple your rental money, on the other hand, it double/triple your trouble as well, if you don’t know how to manage it.

If you have no experience, than read some book, here is the title hope it helps
Rich Dad’s Advisors®: The ABC’s of Real Estate Investing: The Secrets of Finding Hidden Profits Most Investors Miss

George asks…

Would you take your child to a at home dare care center??

would you take your child to a at home day care center that was in a 3 bedroom duplex but off a busy street that didnt have a yard ???? also I was planning on taking the childern to the park and othe field trips as well !! Thanks for the input
i am asking this because i want to open a day care center also it is clean and safe
also i plan on going to college for early childhood education do you think this would help?

Administrator answers:

It would depend on the people who were running the day care. How many children they were taking care of and what they planned to do for recreation for the children. It would also be important the age of the child and what educational things they had for the children. I feel individual attention at a home day care center is preferable to a institutional like day care center where a child is just one of a herd.

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