Please scroll to the bottom of this page for a complete list of available inventory in the Raleigh, Durham, and surrounding areas!
Multi-family homes can be a great investment, especially for those who are new to real estate investing. These types of properties are easy to understand for new investors. You expect that each unit will have its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and utility metering - in other words, the same amenities you’d find in a single-family home.
Investing in a duplex, triplex, or four-plex (quad) is our focus in this article because these types of properties are considered residential real estate and that makes financing a much simpler task than applying for a commercial real estate loan.
Buying a multi-family home offers you a host of options for renting out the units. Some people choose to live in one and rent out the other(s). Other families use them to house extended family, aging parents or adult children, for example. Family members keep their independence, but any help needed is just a few steps away!
There are both pros and cons to these types of units, as with any real estate investment. Individual investors will need to consider many factors when making a decision. On the plus side:
Beginning investors will usually have an easier time with financing in residential units of four and less. In fact, most lenders treat these smaller multifamily units as if they were a single-family home. They are seen as a lower-risk investment and thus more attractive to lenders.
An investment in multi-family properties will typically offer you a greater monthly cash flow than a single-family home. Having leases that renew on a 3, 6, 9, or 12-month cycle means that rents can be increased according to market demand.
Multi-family homes by definition have multiple rental revenue streams, so if you own a triplex, and one unit is empty, you are still collecting rents on the other two units to defray your mortgage costs. Typically, the combined rent from multi-family homes will beat out a single-family residence at the same price point.
As an additional bonus, multi-family homes have weathered past times of economic uncertainty better than almost any other type of real estate investment.
As housing prices have risen around the country - this is certainly true in our area - many people who would be traditional home buyers find themselves priced out of the market. Some of those families are delaying their home purchase plans for now and renting instead.
It might seem logical that the price for a multi-family home is just a multiple of an individual unit, but in fact, there are economies of scale. The second unit of a duplex, for example, may be only 50% more than buying a single unit.
If you aren’t interested in full-time management of your multi-family property, the alternate route is to hire a property management company. That option can be cost-prohibitive for a single-family dwelling but makes more sense if you have multiple units in one property.
“House hacking” is not a cyber weapon, but an advantage that works for some investors. Here’s how it works: when you live in one of the units of the multifamily residence, it’s possible that those tenants will essentially pay your mortgage and expenses for you. Eliminating your housing costs is a huge win in anyone’s budget!
“Owner-occupied” properties may also have advantages for financing with lower interest rates and lower down payments.
However, there are some disadvantages to living on-site, which brings us to the downsides of buying multi-family homes.
If you are an owner-occupied property, remember that your tenants will be looking for you if they have any issues. It’s your door they will be knocking on in the middle of the night when the pipes burst.
And of course, you’re sharing walls and other common areas with your tenants. There may be more “community” in this endeavor than you’re comfortable with, so keep that in mind.
Managing a multifamily unit requires a certain time commitment. You can mitigate this downside by hiring a property manager, but keep in mind you will still need to allocate some time as you, the owner, may need to visit the property for maintenance and repair requests.
As the owner, you will have to deal with individual leases, tenants of all personality types and communication styles. However, a multifamily property is still less work than managing a portfolio of single-family homes.
When it comes to renting out your units, you will be competing with larger apartment complexes, some of which have all amenities - pools, tennis courts, fitness areas. You may not be able to command the highest rent in some areas that have multiple apartment complexes; on the other hand, some renters do prefer quieter spaces and are happy to forego the “extras.”
The other competition with multi-family units can come from more experienced investors. This sometimes shuts new investors out of the market completely. One strategy used by beginning investors is to partner with more experienced investors to learn the ropes.
Rental units can be inconsistent in terms of vacancies and maintenance expenses; even property taxes can vary wildly in some markets from year to year.
Nearly all multi-family units need a little work when you purchase them since most are not owner-occupied. One of the important things to do is to get an independent home inspector to look at the units before completing the purchase. That way if there is a major repair issue you can either negotiate with the seller or back out of the contract.
Though multi-family homes such as a duplex or triplex are rare compared to single-family homes, there is usually at least some inventory in the Triangle area. Below you will find a complete list of multi-family homes for sale in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and the surrounding areas.
Make sure to select the appropriate county that you would like to search in, or contact us for help. We have experience in small multi-family properties and can help with assessing the property’s value.
To view multi-family homes for sale in a specific community, follow these links:
Listings provided courtesy of Triangle MLS, Inc. of NC, Internet Data Exchange Database. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. © 2022 Triangle MLS, Inc. of North Carolina. Data last updated .