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Single Vs. Multifamily Properties: How Different Are They?

If you’ve been in the property game for a while, you’ve probably toyed with the idea of scaling your business by investing in multifamily properties. The idea of having 10, 20, or more units all in one geographic location sounds like it would make for an easier investment.

But the truth is, managing multifamily properties is a lot different than managing a single-family property. Let’s talk about how:

Single Family Maintenance

When you’re managing a single-family property, you basically hand the keys over to the tenants and entrust them to take care of the details. Depending on your contract, the tenant may be responsible for: 

  • Utilities
  • Lawn care
  • Snow removal
  • Pest control
  • Other routine needs 

Because the tenants handle most of the day-to-day responsibilities, you typically only hear from them when there’s a maintenance issue. Otherwise, your tenants act as the eyes and ears on the property. They will let you know when things go wrong, but for the most part, they take care of the details themselves.

Multifamily Maintenance

When you’re managing a multifamily property, you’re in charge of much more of the day-to-day maintenance and upkeep. What does this entail? Let’s use a real example:

At Epic Property Management, we have a quality control team whose sole purpose is to drive and walk through our multifamily apartment communities a few times a week, looking for problems—and solving them. This quality control system ensures that there are several sets of eyes and ears on the property regularly, and that they can report back when needs arise, such as:

  • Common area repairs
  • Grounds clean up
  • Common area cleaning
  • Lawn/weed issues
  • Etc.

If the above issues get missed or ignored, the quality of the property decreases significantly. 

Multifamily properties are shown to highlight the differences of investing in apartment communities than single family homes

Keep in mind that additional areas to oversee will ultimately mean additional costs of ownership. So before you move ahead with a multifamily investment, educate yourself, and plan ahead for costs you didn’t incur as a single-family investor.

In general, it’s important to be on your maintenance and property-management game well before you consider a multifamily investment. Or find a property management partner who can handle it professionally.

People Issues

Another challenge many run into when investing in multifamily properties? Logistics. Managing people is involved, and the more people, the more involved it gets. 

Placing numerous people in close proximity with shared spaces and amenities complicates matters greatly. Now, owners need to maintain a peaceful and cohesive living environment amongst many different people, each with their own unique habits and lifestyle expectations. 

With 10, 15, or 20 different families living in the same building, you’re bound to have conflict. And it becomes the owner’s responsibility to find solutions to these problems—or hire a team to handle issues on your behalf

A few examples of what we’ve dealt with regularly:

  • Noise complaints
  • Parking issues
  • Neighbor conflicts
  • Common area storage violations
  • Cleanliness issues
  • And so. much. more.

Get Realistic, Get Prepared

Time and again, we’ve seen eager investors jump into a multifamily property quickly, only to discover that managing it is much different than what they’re used to. So before you try multifamily, we recommend that you educate yourself, gain a realistic view of the effort needed, and get prepared ahead of time.

Multifamily real estate investment requires 

  • Careful planning
  • Attention to detail
  • Quality systems/procedures
  • Professionalism

Rushing into this type of investment can lead to a poor tenant base, overlooked maintenance needs, and higher than expected expenses. 

Multifamily Properties Done Right

Yes, there are unique challenges to managing a multifamily property. But that doesn’t mean it’s something to fear. Adding multifamily to your portfolio can bring benefits like:

  • Consistent, steady cash flow
  • Diversification
  • Ease of scaling
  • Tax advantages

The key to doing it right is hiring a team of professionals who understand the nuances and details of handling this type of investment, and who have a system for managing your property with efficiency and expertise.

This is where Epic Property Management shines. Our team of professionals has systems in place that allow us to operate a multifamily property more efficiently than any of our competitors. 

Our strength lies in our ability to operate a 20 unit (or smaller) building in a manner similar to a 100+ unit property with on-site staff, thanks to our substantial investment into:

  • A fleet of vehicles
  • Custom software that drives efficiency
  • Maintenance dispatchers
  • Quality control department
  • Project managers
  • Leasing staff
  • And more

Few (if any) management companies operate in this way, because the up-front cost to invest in these resources—and the ongoing overhead to maintain them—is so significant.

Not so at Epic. Built by an investor for investors, we’re willing to invest in efficiency and excellence. Click here to learn more.

Pass It On: Insights on Multifamily Properties & So Much More

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