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Articles: Convert Your Single Family Home into a Legal Multi Family Home

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Condo / Multi Family / Condominiums / Conversion

Convert Your Single Family Home into a Legal Multi Family Home

By Robert Short

Will it really be legal?

Don't think it can be done legally! I've had the question asked literally dozens of times, yet in my concrete cutting service business, one that is crucial in the property conversion process, I have seen it done dozens of times. How you may ask? It's actually not any more difficult than most major home renovations. And if you ask: What are the benefits? That is a simple question to answer: it can increase the value of your home by 50% and sometimes double. It also allows you to legally rent your new apartment(s) out which helps cut your personal living expenses down or to convert the units to condos or condominiums and sell each for top dollar. Still sound impossible? If you call your local Building Inspector and ask if it can be done, you may get laughed at. Although, depending on your city or town's local by-laws you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that it isn't at all uncommon. However, you must meet several conditions that must be in place before a building inspector will even consider handing you the application for a building permit. You may or may not already meet the criteria for this undertaking, but if you don't, you may be able to easily make the necessary changes.

These conditions in most cases are / but not limited to:

  • Ample parking for each unit - usually two parking spaces for each unit are necessary to gain your city's permission but it sometimes depends on the amount of bedrooms in each unit. If extra property is available, driveway space can easily be increased with some excavating and/or by adding concrete retaining walls.
  • Ceiling height - If your basement or attic is to be converted to an apartment there are limits on ceiling height or how low the ceiling can be. It is always easier to lower the concrete basement floor to increase ceiling height rather than raise the house. Lowering a concrete basement floor can be accomplished, in most cases, by cutting and removing the existing concrete, digging the dirt out and pouring a new concrete floor.
  • Egress - This is the ability to enter and exit each unit. There must be a set amount of windows and doors of certain widths and heights. This is where our concrete cutting expertise comes in to play. Affordable Concrete Cutting cuts egress windows and doors into concrete foundations and openings for the installation of basement stairs and bulkheads all of the time. We perform this task day in and day out more than a thousand times each year.
  • Each unit must have a bathroom and kitchen in order to be considered legal.

We once cut in some egress windows for a woman in Revere, MA who already had an "illegal" apartment that she easily converted it to a "legal" apartment. She had been asking $259,000 for her single family home but couldn't sell it. After seeing her neighbor convert her home into a two family she did the same. She completed the conversion and ended up selling her property for $379,000.

Converting to Condominiums / Condos

I remember when we completed a project for a man in the prestigious community of Brookline, MA in Boston. He owned a condominium in a six unit building which each came with a storage unit that was one sixth of the basement of the building. He told the other five condominium owners that he needed additional storage and that he was willing to pay them to purchase their storage units. He ended up buying the other five storage areas for $15,000 each, 1,200 sq feet of prime real estate for a total of $75,000. Affordable Concrete Cutting ended up cutting and removing the concrete slab and cutting in a doorway in the foundation for him. He lowered the basement floor and converted it into a beautiful condo and sold it for over $1,000,000. A million dollar storage unit!

These examples are evidence that anything is possible. By checking with your local building department and doing your homework, you too may be able to convert your single family into a multi-unit property.

NOTE: The same guidelines mentioned above will work in converting your single or multi family property into condominiums or condos.

© 2006 Affordable Concrete Cutting, Inc.

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Concrete Core Drills
Concrete core drilling is the process of drilling a round hole through a concrete structure, usually a wall or floor so pipes, wires or other utilities can pass through. A diamond-tipped, drum-shaped concrete core drill bit is mounted on a large drilling machine that is attached to a guiding track for drilling level and plumb or perfectly angled, clean, round holes. Concrete core drilling is used for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC installations. Round core holes can be drilled into reinforced concrete, precast concrete, asphalt, brick, cinderblock and other structural materials.

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