If you’ve ever seen the HGTV show Income Property, chances are you may have considered either adding an apartment to your own home, or purchasing a single family home and converting it to a duplex.
After all, the only thing better than buying and owning your own home might be having someone else buy it for you, right?
The trouble with many real estate shows, however, is they only give you part of the story.
For example, the show Income Property is filmed in Canada; which may have different zoning requirements and building codes than we do in your city or state.
In the Twin Cities, for example, many municipalities require you to change the zoning of an existing property from single family to one of the multi-family categories. Achieving this may involve obtaining permission to do so from a high percentage of neighboring property owners and bringing an older property up to current building code.
Failure to do so could result in difficulty obtaining a loan either for a refinance or sale, or even city inspectors requiring the unit to be removed.
Even if you are able to successfully negotiate the challenges of converting a single family home to a duplex, one significant problem usually remains: no matter how hard you try, a house conversion still looks just exactly like a house. In other words, the floor plan is reminiscent of a house, with living rooms continuing to resemble bedrooms and kitchens pushed into uncomfortable corners and taking odd shapes.
And finally, the conversion may ultimately cost and so much money the conversion no longer makes financial sense.
Many cities have existing duplexes that may ultimately make more practical and financial sense. Be sure to investigate all of your options before you choose “As Seen On TV”.