converting a single-family to a multifamily?

I am going through my first process of renovating a large single-familiy unit into a multi-family (Houston). I am trying to decide if to do a four-plex (3 1-bedroom and one 2-bedroom + laundry) or a six-plex(5 small 1-bedrooms and 1 2 bedroom. No laundry). The market area calls more for a 1-bedroom apartments and that is the reason I would like to do the 6-plex. Questions:

  1. Is it the approval from teh city of Houston MUCH more difficult for a six-plex?
  2. What about dwelling/fire policy? More expensive in a six-plex? ANy recommendation on where to get insurance?
  3. will both require “certificate of occupancy”? Is this difficult to pass?
  4. Is the laundry idea really profitable? or is more of a pain?

Thanks a lot in advance


Sounds like a whole lot of work. There should be little difference with the city as far as inspecting and passing building standards and getting a CO. You should check zoning to mare sure you can do this. Last I remember there was no zoing in Houston. Has this changed ? Insurance is usually per square foot and would not matter if 4 or 6 units. I would stay away from the laundry business. Even most apartments use a laundry service and split the profits with them. For 6 units it would not be worth even considering.

Have you thought of a rooming house for the property. You could get $100 to $120 per week perhaps more than a 1 br apt and not do as much remodeling especially plumbing and kitchens. Just a suggestion, Good luck on the project and let us know how it progresses

Thank you,

Ted P. Stokely Jr
11505 Sw Oaks
Austin, Texas 78737

512-301-9171 home
512-587-6177 mobile

Hi Todd:
Thanks for your advice. Agree that is a lot of work and money to invest, but I think is worth it. I paid $33k for the property (the house is finished outside but totally unfinished inside) and I plan to spend $40k for the renovation effort for everything (labor, used material, separate meters,…). I plan to have a gross rental income if $2500, assuming that I can rent all of them . What is the typical occupancy rate that I should plan for?

The room house idea could save me some upfront money. How this work? will I have to have someone permanently in the property managing? (I don’t live that close to the property)… will that increase my liability if something happens among te people sharing the kitchen,…?
Do you have experience dealing with a rooming house?



If you can collect 80% you will be doing great today, I had a dumpy old 5 plex that was the pits but as I look back I collected over 100 % even thought the turnover was high. Thet were all small one bedrooms in a row in a terrible part of town.

I have not had a rooming house except I rent 3 rooms in my current home. Have not had insurance concerns. You would probably want a room mother or something to manage the property if it is a rooming house or perhaps even a six unit building. College students make the best rooming arrangement but others will work too.

If you can collect even $1500 on a $75000 total investment that would be a great investment.

The rooming house thing would be a little more work managing. Either way sounds great.

Ted Jr