What is Multifamily Property? thumbnail picture
  15 Feb 2023

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What is Multifamily Property?

For new real estate investors, multifamily houses might be a wonderful place to start when it comes to purchasing assets that can provide passive income. 

However, because they feature numerous apartments for different households, these properties face various difficulties that single-family homes do not. 

Here are some things to consider if you're thinking about purchasing a multifamily property.

Multifamily Property Definition

A single structure that has been partitioned to allow for the independent habitation of multiple families is known as a multifamily home. 

They can be single-family houses, small apartment complexes with up to four separate apartments, or duplexes containing two residences. (Typically, structures with four or more units are considered commercial properties.)

Multifamily or Multi-family

When making reference to a housing unit that incorporates multiple dwelling units, it is unclear whether to employ the terms "multi-family" or "multifamily." 

Although "multifamily" is more frequently used in the US, "multi-family" is also used in various regions of the nation.

Even if you possess a wide range of abilities, staying on top of word hyphenation trends might be challenging. What does "singer-songwriter" mean to you? 

Unfortunately, the response depends on the situation. If you follow the rule of caution and avoid hyphenating multi-occurring terms unless required to avoid misunderstandings or the term is immediately followed by a proper noun, you could be on the safe side.

There are exceptions to every rule, and this should be emphasized.

Who are Multifamily Homes Best For?

The most extraordinary people to buy multifamily real estate are those who want to start investing in it to make money and are ok with the extra responsibilities and time involved that come with the role of landlord. 

If you reside in one of the properties and the revenue from the other units makes enough money to meet your monthly needs, these properties may allow you to live rent-free. 

Rent from multifamily properties can turn into a passive source of income once the mortgage has been paid off.

They are also a wise choice for multi-generational families looking to purchase a home together and have a designated area all to themselves. 

Multifamily homes typically have between two and four units, enabling extended families to live together while benefiting from the seclusion of separate flats.

MultiFamily Home Examples

There are several distinct types of multifamily homes to take into consideration, each having a unique offering in terms of design and living space. Each form of the home has advantages and disadvantages of its own.


A condo is often an individually owned unit in a building or neighborhood made up of other independently owned properties. Condominium owners typically have to pay monthly dues to a homeowners organization. 

These charges pay for the upkeep of any utilities that may be provided and, in certain situations, insurance for the structure or community.


Two apartments or houses that are joined by a common wall, ceiling, or floor are referred to as duplexes. 

Triplexes contain three. In a duplex or triplex, each residence has its own entrance. Additionally, the units could have their own garages and yards.

Semi-detached house

Semi-detached buildings share a wall with every other building, like townhomes. Townhomes are often smaller than semi-detached homes, though. 

These houses might be less expensive than a standalone single-family house. 

Due to the possibility of semi-detached property owners splitting maintenance costs, they might also provide less expensive maintenance.


Townhouses or townhomes are residences that are connected with one another through a common wall, much like duplexes. There are typically two or three stories in them. 

Unlike a single-family home, they are larger than apartments and typically require much less care and maintenance.

Is a Townhouse a Multifamily Home

Do townhomes count as multifamily properties? The answer to this question strongly depends on the definition and application of the townhouse. 

Because a townhouse would typically contain numerous attached units, it will commonly be regarded as a multifamily property. Contrast this with a single-family home, which will only have one unit. 

A small number of townhouses are built to resemble single-family residences, nevertheless.

What to Know Before Buying a Multifamily Home

A multifamily housing unit is an excellent investment if it meets a few essential criteria. 

Before buying a multifamily home, however, prospective investors should also speak with a skilled real estate agent about available properties in their neighborhood. 

The following are some of the critical things you should check for:


One of the main elements impacting how simple it is to attract tenants is the property's location. 

Additionally, it will affect the rent you can charge. Find a property in a desirable area by doing your study. 

Maximum rent

What is the maximum amount of rent you might receive? 

Calculate how much money you'll need to make to pay the mortgage, finance any necessary repairs, etc.

Unit count

It goes without saying that you'll have more possible tenants if the property has more units. 

Determine the optimal amount of units based on your financial situation and expected earnings. 

The owner of the property

Learn more about the seller of the property. Do they have a track record of maintaining the property well?

Pros and Cons of Multifamily Homes


Mortgage coverage

The rental revenue may partially cover your mortgage and other costs a multifamily property brings in, giving you a steady source of income. 

Paul Wyman, managing broker of the Wyman Group in Kokomo, Indiana, notes that for some property owners, the rent is sufficient to eliminate the need for any mortgage payment. 

They can pay their mortgage and insurance by using the money from other apartments, which frees up their funds for other uses.

Easier repairs and maintenance 

You'll find it easier to handle maintenance and repairs. You are less likely to overlook significant difficulties and will be able to act more quickly when issues develop if you stay in or near your rental home.

Write off 

A large portion of your house maintenance can be written off as a business cost, and you can prorate some of the interest on your mortgage.

Multigenerational Families 

Families with multiple generations who wish to stay in touch while maintaining their privacy may find these houses to be the perfect solution. They assist you in maintaining such possibilities in the future.]

Smart investment

If you start living in one unit but ultimately move out, you can still keep it as an income-producing investment, earning even more once you rent it out.


More upfront cost

A multifamily home typically costs more up front than for a single-family home because you're purchasing over one unit.

Requires commitment 

Being a landlord requires a time commitment, and because you live close to your renters, you never know when you'll get a knock at the door. 

Additionally, you'll need to be confident in negotiating lease terms and assessing your tenants. 

You'll also need to know how to deal professionally with them whenever the rent is past due, there are noise complaints, or there is property damage.

Mortgage responsibility 

You are still obligated to pay your mortgage even if one of your rentals becomes unoccupied if a renter is late with their rent. 

Additionally, you are responsible for the expense of (immediate) repairs for issues like a burst pipe or clogged toilet. There is still financial risk in multifamily buildings, even if you don't receive a housing payment every month.

Emergency fund

You'll require a huge emergency fund. The effect of a single property on your overall cash flow will decrease as you add additional units. However, landlords should still set aside enough cash to pay for unforeseen repairs and rent on vacant properties.

Selling complication 

Because you'll need to schedule viewings and appraisals and keep the renters informed throughout the process, selling a multifamily property with occupied tenants can be challenging.

Multifamily Home vs Apartment

Typically, the term "apartment" refers to a group of rooms that together make up one residence in a building with numerous other units with a similar layout. 

A multifamily building is a structure housing rental apartments where the same person owns every apartment within. These are referred to as "apartment buildings" more frequently.

Finding a Multifamily Home

Multifamily properties are offered for sale on real estate search engines just like single-family homes are, and you can usually filter the outcomes of your search based on the kind of property you're looking for. 

You can find investment options in your area with the assistance of a real estate agent, whether they specialize in residential or commercial properties. 

Some agents may even be aware of opportunities that haven't been publicly disclosed online.

As with any property search, research how much a multifamily home costs in your area and what you may be willing to pay.

Single-Family Vs. Multifamily Home

When investing, there are a few significant differences between buying single-family homes and multifamily homes. 


The pricing will be the main point of distinction. A convenient and less expensive way to begin investing in real estate is with a single-family home. 


For the purchase of a multifamily property, you might require a commercial real estate loan based on the sort of building you're considering. 

A 20% down payment is typically required by lenders, especially if you are new to property investment.


Also, because single-family homes are simpler to sell, there is less risk involved if you decide real estate investing isn't the appropriate career route. 


A multifamily property is simpler to grow and produces a higher monthly cash flow than a single-family home.

Additionally, a multifamily property is better suited for "house hacking," when you, the property owner, reside in one unit while renting out the rest.

Key Takeaways

There are many advantages to purchasing a multifamily building and renting it out. It's a fantastic way to begin investing in real estate, and you can choose to relocate into one of the apartments. 

However, it will need a significant investment of your time and money, so you should be sure you want the position. 

Start taking the right steps to own a profitable multifamily property by considering property management task automation.

With the Booking Ninjas property management system, you can make sure your property management is modernized to Increase efficiency & revenue.

Improve Your Property's Management, Operation & Revenue With Booking Ninjas Property Management System

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