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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Brewer

The Different Types of Multifamily Properties

Multifamily Investing is a lot of what we do here at Delamhach Investments so today I’d like to share some of the different types of multifamily properties. First let’s start with a basic definition - Multifamily buildings are buildings designed for accommodation by more than one family. Simple right?

Now that we’ve established the distinction between multifamily and say, single family, or retail, let us delve into the different types of multifamily properties.

  1. Duplex/Triplex/Quadruplex(or 4-plex if you prefer) - Duplexes are properties with two units, Triplexes are properties with three units, and Quadruplexes are properties with four units. One can continue counting up from there, but generally we stop at Quadruplex because quadruplexes mark the dividing line between residential and commercial financing. Any multifamily that is four units and under can be purchased with a traditional mortgage just like a single family home and will be valued based on comps. These multifamily properties are often referred to as “residential multifamily” as opposed to “commercial multifamily.” These types of properties are popular with investors just starting out, and with “house-hackers” who often buy these properties with a low down payment owner-occupied loan and live in one unit while renting the others to cover their mortgage and provide additional income.

  2. Garden Style Apartments - Garden Style Apartments are true commercial multifamily properties. Garden Style Properties vary in size with some being as small as twelve units and some reaching five hundred or more units! These properties are typically arranged as a collection of two to three story buildings spread out over a large area. They don’t typically have elevators, and often have individual garages, or large covered parking lots at street level. These properties are often landscaped with plenty of grass, small trees, shrubbery, and walking paths giving the entire property a “garden style” appearance. Nicer properties will often include amenities like a pool, clubhouse, dog run, or playground for families. They are often found in suburban, rural, or urban/suburban hybrid areas.

  3. Walk-up Apartment Buildings - A Walk-Up Apartment Building is a four to six story building without an elevator. These buildings can range in size from fifteen to sixty units. The major differentiating factor between a Walk-up Apartment Building and other similar multi-story buildings is the lack of an elevator. Walk-Up Apartment Buildings are typically found in urban areas in cities like New York or San Francisco and tend to be older. Because of this, Walk-up Apartment Buildings tend to lack amenities, and have older utilities, dated finishes, older windows and poorer insulation.

  4. Mid-Rise Apartment Buildings - Mid-Rise Apartment Buildings are defined as a multi-story buildings with an elevator. These buildings tend to be between five and twelve stories and have anywhere from twenty to one hundred and twenty units. Mid-rise’s are generally located in urban areas, but not necessarily in the city center. Some include amenities. The finishes can range from basic to luxury.

  5. High-Rise Apartment Buildings - Last but not least we have High-Rise Apartment Buildings. High-Rise Apartment Buildings are defined as buildings with nine or more floors and at least one elevator. They are often found in larger metropolitan areas and are almost always located in a city center or downtown area. These buildings have one hundred or more units and tend to have higher end or luxury finishes. Many also offer amenities to their residents including gyms, pools, or concierge services. Some High-Rise Apartment Buildings include ground floor retail space, but the technical definition of such a building would be “mixed-use.” Some people will draw a further line between a High-Rise and a Skyscraper. This line is typically drawn at forty stories with more than forty stories constituting a skyscraper.

And there you have it! The different types of multifamily buildings. If you are interested in learning more about multifamily investing please reach out to me at Happy Investing!


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