When you’re ready to buy a multifamily property in Silicon Valley, whether you’ll rent out each unit or occupy one while renting out the others, you’ll need to follow a specific set of steps to get to the closing table. The purchase process for multifamily properties, including duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes, is different from buying a single-family home.

7 Steps to Buying a Multifamily Property

For many people, multifamily properties are great investments. In order to buy one successfully, you have to:

  1. Outline your goals
  2. Find a REALTOR® who specializes in multifamily properties
  3. Get preapproved for a mortgage loan
  4. Start looking at communities and neighborhoods
  5. Zero in on properties that may meet your needs
  6. Apply the 1 percent rule to ensure that the math checks out
  7. Make an offer the seller can’t refuse

Here’s a closer look at each.

Step 1 to Buying a Multifamily Property: Outline Your Goals

Maybe you want to live in one unit while renting out the others, or perhaps you want to rent out the entire property while you stay in your current home. Maybe you only want to purchase one investment property, or maybe you’re starting to build a real estate empire. It’s important that you take a good look at your goals before you dive into the multifamily real estate market with both feet.

Step 2 to Buying a Multifamily Property: Find a REALTOR Who Specializes in Multifamily Properties

Although there are many talented agents, you need to work with a REALTOR who specializes in multifamily properties if you’re going to purchase a duplex, triplex or fourplex. Because these types of transactions are much different from single-family home transactions, it’s important that you work with an agent who understands how multifamily properties and investment properties work.

Related: Find a REALTOR to sell your multifamily property

Step 3 to Buying a Multifamily Property: Get Preapproved for a Mortgage Loan

Don’t start looking at properties in person until you’ve been preapproved for a mortgage loan. You need to know exactly how much house you can afford before you get your heart set on something that’s too expensive – or below your price range. (You can spend all day looking at properties online, though. In fact, you can use the search box below to see what’s on the multifamily property market now.)

Search Multifamily Properties for Sale in Santa Clara County

Step 4 to Buying a Multifamily Property: Start Looking at Communities and Neighborhoods

Some communities and neighborhoods are more desirable to investors, which makes sense; some areas command higher rents than others do. Sometimes a neighborhood that’s five minutes from a popular Silicon Valley employer is more desirable to renters than one that’s 25 minutes away; a house that’s close to public transit, highly rated schools or plenty of amenities may be a better investment than one that’s on the outskirts of town. You may be able to gauge how desirable a community or neighborhood is based on its real estate prices, which you can check online.

Step 5 to Buying a Multifamily Property: Zero in on Properties That May Meet Your Needs

After you’ve narrowed your search to a specific city, and maybe even a few neighborhoods within that city, it’s time to start seeing properties in person. Talk to your REALTOR about what you’re looking for so she can help you find the right investment.

Step 6 to Buying a Multifamily Property: Apply the 1% Rule to Ensure That the Math Checks Out

The 1 percent rule is as follows: The rent you charge each month should be equal to 1 percent of your mortgage loan’s original payoff value. For example, if your total mortgage is $400,000, you need to bring in $4,000 per month in rental income. In order to make a profit, you’ll need a mortgage loan with monthly payments that are less than $4,000. (The lower, the better.) That may mean putting up a larger down payment – or it may mean shopping around for better terms than you received with your preapproval.

Step 7 to Buying a Multifamily Property: Make an Offer the Seller Can’t Refuse

When you’ve found the ideal investment property, your REALTOR will help you put together a great offer. Listen to your agent when she tells you about your options, which include offering less than, equal to or more than what the seller is asking – your REALTOR is your connection to the inner workings of the Silicon Valley real estate market.

Are You Buying or Selling a Duplex, Triplex or Fourplex in Silicon Valley?

If you’re selling a duplex, triplex or fourplex in Campbell, Cambrian Park, Los Gatos, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Willow Glen or another community in Silicon Valley, we’re here to help. Call today or fill out the form below to find out about our innovative marketing plans that can put your investment property in front of all the right buyers.

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