converting a basement to a rental unit?

I will be going to FL in early '07 with about 20K in hand, adn looking to buy a multi unit building, hopefully about 4-7 units.

i was thinking that if i could convert a basement to a livable unit, then could i have effectively increased my noi by like 25% or more? How large of an undertaking is this? I mean, assuming it is zoned for the number of units i woudl end up with, how much $ could it really come to to put in a bathroom, some dry wall, and electricity?

not to rain on your parade but you are not going to get very far as 4+ unit properties require commerical loans that typical require 20% (or more). 20K is not going to get you very far.

As for conversion of a basement, the short answer is it can be quite expensive (you did not mention a kitchen) plus many localities look very unfavoravly on this activity. There are building permit issues, fire code issues, etc. Plus even if you do it, most likely you will not be able to recoup the value of what you have put in as it will be an illegal unit.

They have basements in FL? I thought basements are very rare since the water table is so high.

To do it legally, you have to have a basement window in the bedroom that’s large enough to be a fire escape. I can’t remember the exact size. I want to say 36" but I’m sure you can look it up online.

this will be owner occupied

I think its a wonderful idea. Remember to call each contractor yourself, instead of a general contractor. Or if you know how to do the work yourself, hire a couple of unskilled laborers.

basement window needs to be 5.3 sq ft per National Fire Code to be considered a legal bedroom/living space, etc.

I think it’s a bad idea, who want’s to live in the basement of an small apartment building? No one! Plus the local government probably won’t even allow it anyways. But a lot of these building don’t even have basements, expecially the ones in Florida.

k basement renovation seems to be mostly out of the question.

what about that 20% down? that’s if you’re looking for a loan on an investment property tho right? if my fiance and i will be living in the place it can get much lower, if not down to 0%, was my understanding. i mean even if it were 3-5% it woudln’t be the end of the world, but i’d rather have it be lower (obviously ahha)

I have lived in FLorida my whole life and have seen only a handful of basements. I am currently selling a church with a basement that floods everytime it rains for more than an hour. I think you will have a hard time finding a apartment with a basement, or getting a contractor that will be willing to convert one to a apartment.

mold issues will be a huge problem with a basement unit.


cul thanks for the responses. i’m up north, so i didn’t even think of it like that. so glad i’m tryign to learn a lot about where i wnat to buy many, many months in advance

You could do up to 100% financing. Gets a little tricky with multifamilies though. Most banks do just two units, but there are some out there that will do 3 or 4. Normally you’d try to do something like an 80/20 or an 80/15 where you get a standard 80% mortgage and a second mortgage for the other 20%. With a 0% down, you’re just looking at a pretty high rate for the second mortgage, regular rates on the 1st. You will still need several thousand for closing costs like attorneys, title insurance, registry fees, bank fees, etc.

Put an ad in the paper now. See what response you get. I bet it will be good. There is always someone to rent what you have. Make the price desirable, it will work. I’m a property manager, you can lease anything as long as you make it sound attractive. Maybe give one month free.

i was under the impression that some of hte basic ones would allow you to roll closing costs into the loan (hud 203b is what i was thinking of i’m pretty sure)

? for a basement unit you mean? i think we’ve concluded that’s a no go.

Just trying to help. Not nice.

i’m sorry if i’m not ‘nice’, but unless i’m missing something, you’re posting and recommending somethign that shows you didn’t take the time to read the thread. why should everyone who is subscribed to the thread waste their time to go check what the new response is, only to find it is something that is a null point considering what has already transpired?

sorry if i came off a little ‘rough’, but think of how you came off with your post.