Exploring the Different Types of Multi-Family Real Estate

As an investor in real estate, understanding the different types of multi-family properties can help you make informed decisions when it comes to investing in them. Multi-family real estate refers to a type of housing that accommodates more than one family. They are typically categorized based on the number of units and the layout of the building. In this blog, we'll explore the different types of multi-family real estate to help you understand the differences and decide which one best suits your needs.

Smaller Multi-Family Real Estate

There are smaller multi-family real estate properties, which are categorized by having less than 5 units. If you plan to invest in a smaller multi-family property, you should know the different types:

  • Duplex: A single structures can be divided into two homes that sit side by side in a duplex.
  • Triplex: When three homes are divided, the result is a triplex, which has three units
  • Quadruplex: when four houses are divided, the result is a quadruplex, which has four units.

These kinds of multi-family properties are ideal for investors looking for properties that are small and simple to manage. When considering purchasing a duplex, keep in mind that there are numerous paths to profit. You could, for example, figure out how to rent out both units and combine the two rent payments to cover the building's costs. Another common strategy is for the owner to reside in one of the units and pay their living expenses with the proceeds from the second unit. Adding a duplex to your inventory is an excellent way to begin investing in real estate.

Apartment Buildings

Apartment buildings are larger multi-family properties that consist of many units. They can range from a small complex with 10-20 units to a high-rise building with hundreds of units. Apartment buildings are typically managed by a property management company, and they offer a higher potential for rental income. There are several factors to consider before investing in an apartment building, including:

  • Property Management: Investors should also evaluate the opportunity cost of the time required to manage an apartment building; much of this work will be hands on.
  • Apartment Classifications: In the U.S., apartments are classified on a scale from “A” to “D,” which can help investors decide what type of apartment building they’d like to own. Typically, apartments increase in class as they increase in quality, size, “newness,” and the number of amenities offered. Older buildings with fewer amenities are usually more affordable, but investors should be mindful of hidden costs such as repairs and improvements.
  • Return on investment:One of the trickiest factors associated with investing in apartment buildings is evaluating yourreturn on investment. Investing in small apartment buildings will be more affordable than properties with more units or those offering amenities. However, due to their size and vacancies, they may produce less rental income. In addition, investors should evaluate the cost of maintenance and repairs based on the building’s condition.


Condominiums are multi-family properties in which each unit is individually owned by the residents. They can range from low-rise to high-rise buildings, and they often have amenities such as gyms, swimming pools, and communal spaces. Investors can purchase individual units within a condominium building and rent them out, or they can purchase the entire building and rent out the units.


A townhouse complex is a residential building with three or more dwelling units, each with a distinct ground-level entrance, and one, two, or three stories. Townhouses and the property next door share walls. Townhouse communities consist of several homes, each complete with their own amenities. Some townhouse complexes have a shared garage, while other ones have a parking spot next to each apartment. Townhouses have the advantages of passive income and increasing wealth, but they also have the drawbacks of requiring a larger initial expenditure, higher maintenance costs, and more market competition.

Cooperative Buildings

Multi-family homes that are co-owned by all of the inhabitants are referred to as cooperative buildings or co-ops. Investors have two options: either they can buy the entire building and rent out the units, or they can buy shares in the cooperative and reside in one of the units.

Knowing the various kinds of multi-family real estate can help buyers and investors make wise choices when it comes to purchasing a property. When determining which kind of multi-family property best meets your requirements, consider aspects like the number of units, the structure's design, potential rental income, and management and upkeep costs.

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