The Benefit of a Multifamily Property Real Estate Investment

jim kobzeff

by James Kobzeff
Sept 22, 2017

Multifamily property is just one of the following five types of real estate investment commonly acquired by investors:

  1. land speculation
  2. single-family homes
  3. commercial and industrial
  4. retail shops and shopping centers
  5. multifamily property

Although each type of property share many of the same characteristics common to all investment real estate, it is also true that many real estate investors strongly favor multifamily property above the others as their investment of choice.

So it seemed like a good idea to suggest why that might be the case. Okay, but first let's make sure we understand a couple of things about multifamily property.

  1. First, it's considered to be any rental income property that has more than one family unit and can range from a property as small as a duplex consisting of two units to a large apartment complex consisting of hundreds of units.
  2. Secondly, it shares many of the same characteristics common to all properties associated with real estate investing—namely, it provides investors with a chance to grow their wealth.
  3. Thirdly, it's not necessarily the "best" type of real estate investment, but rather accommodates the investor's personal experience and preference.

Okay, now let's look at what real estate investors deem as both the general and more primary benefit associated with multifamily property investment.

General Benefit

  1. First, it has the advantage to be able to support debt from the income it produces using other people's (tenant) money.
  2. Secondly, lenders evaluate their lending decisions based more upon the property's income stream than the investor's personal financial strength. Therefore, thanks again to the income generated by other people's money, a real estate investor is given an edge in financing the investment and more likely to obtain a sound financing package than otherwise possible.

Okay, but both those benefits are also true of the other types of income-producing properties such as office buildings and retail centers. So let's narrow it down to what investors commonly consider the primary reason they prefer to invest in multifamily properties.

Primary Benefit

  1. Multifamily properties provide a shelter to those who do not own a home. A tenant may vacate an office complex or strip shopping center, but people do have to live somewhere, and therefore are more readily available to occupy apartment units.

Closing Remarks

That said, I feel compelled to also suggest a few things you must do to maximize your chances of profitability with multifamily properties.

  • Stay informed regarding local rental market trends. Watch the newspaper or drive around the community noting all rental properties that have vacancies. Whereas a few "for rent" ads or signs could signal a shortage of rental units and a favorable opportunity for you to raise rents, numerous signs and ads could signal higher vacancies and maybe rent reductions.
  • Remain flexible with your rental policy. When there's a shortage of apartments in your market, you can be selective about the type of tenant to rent to. When the rental market shifts and there's a shortage of tenants, prepare to be reasonably less selective or perhaps to make concessions like allowing pets, for instance.
  • Management problems associated in dealing with tenants can be the downside to buying any income property. So consider hiring the services of a professional property management company to deal with the day-to-day issues of running your rental property.
  • If the former property owners let the property run down and rents decreased to keep the units filled, consider an opportunity to upgrade the building and raise rents. When multifamily properties are in a good area of town or in an area that is returning to a former higher quality, remodeling a rundown apartment complex can be a profitable venture.
  • Obtaining a sound financing package that doesn't place excessive burdens on the property or yourself is paramount to your investment in multifamily properties. Therefore always present lenders with clear and concise cash flow reports that show the income and expenses accurately.

Here's to your real estate investing success.

So You Know

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james kobzeff author

James Kobzeff is a former realtor with over thirty years of investment property experience and is the owner/developer of ProAPOD Real Estate Software.