FOURPLEX: Guide for Investors


A fourplex is the most significant step toward becoming a professional landlord for would-be multifamily investors who are only able (or willing) to acquire residential finance. This is also known as a quadplex layout. Buying one of these properties entitles you to be a multifamily building owner with an income property that also serves as your primary residence.
Proponents of the fourplex consider it the best of the housing hacks: having a primary residence that generates enough money to cover the mortgage and extra. Detractors point out the commitment issue: buying a fourplex house implies you’ll be responsible for tenants for the foreseeable future, as these arrangements are too huge for any single-family. However, if being an owner-landlord is the goal, this isn’t a disadvantage.

What is a Fourplex?

A fourplex is a multifamily house that is normally constructed to house four independent households under one roof. The multifamily units can be side by side or piled on top of each other, but they are usually a mix of the two. Each unit in a normal fourplex house has its own entrance, kitchen, and bathrooms, though there may be a shared foyer or entryway.

Quadplexes, Fourplexes, and Quadriplexes

The suffix -plex denotes something composed of many components. For instance, a duplex is a house with two independent living spaces. In this situation, we’re talking about fourplexes. As previously stated, these properties are intended to house many families and are divided into four distinct living areas. These properties, also known as quadplexes, quadruplexes, and four-unit multifamily complexes, can be a good investment.

Are Fourplexes a Good Investment?

One of the numerous reasons real estate investors prefer fourplexes is their inexpensive cost in comparison to prospective profits. They can be fantastic investments if they’re in the appropriate area and well-managed, but not every fourplex house on the market will be a suitable fit for you. Before embarking on an investment like this, consider the benefits and drawbacks.

What Are the Benefits of Owning a Fourplex House?

Here is a rundown of some of the potential benefits of buying a fourplex house.

#1. Immediate cash flow:

A fourplex can provide the same cash flow as four single-family home investment properties, or three if the owner lives on-site. Fourplexes also have lower property taxes than four individual rental units, making fourplexes a favorable financial investment.

#2. Streamlined management:

Renting four separate connected units can help to simplify property management. When compared to having many single-family homes, fourplex owners can streamline building responsibilities such as pest management, upkeep, and landscaping.

#3. Less vacancy risk:

If a fourplex owner loses a tenant, they will lose 25% of their rental income, which is a lower risk than a single-family home or duplex property owner, who will lose 100% of their rental income.

#4. More financing benefits:

A fourplex is the largest property type in which an owner can invest utilizing a residential property loan. Duplexes and triplexes are other multi-family homes that allow residential property loans, but any complex with five or more units is deemed commercial property. Fourplexes also have lower down payment requirements for FHA loans.

#5. Potential tax advantages:

Fourplex owners are also entitled to tax discounts on all expenses incurred by their fourplex dwelling units, with the exception of the owner’s unit.

A fourplex is a good place to start if you want to get started in real estate investing. Because of its high cash flow potential and financing possibilities, this multi-unit residence has the potential to be a dependable income property with a high rate of return.

What are the Drawbacks to Buying a Fourplex?

While there are numerous potential benefits to investing in a fourplex, there are also some potential drawbacks. Here’s a rundown of a few of them.

#1. Tenant turnover:

Fourplex units, for example, have a higher possibility for tenant turnover than single-family or duplex buildings. When the market permits, your tenants may be more likely to relocate to a single-family home.

#2. Hands-on management:

In bigger residential properties, management corporations often handle tenant relations and building maintenance. If you own a fourplex, you are in charge of managing the property and finding new renters when vacancies arise. Because you and your tenants will be living under the same roof if you live on-site, you will most likely need to be very hands-on as a building manager. If you want a more passive investment, a fourplex may not be for you.

#3. Desirability:

Because fourplex buildings are often built on property the same size as a single-family home, tenants only have a fraction of the room. In certain areas where families are searching for long-term properties rather than starter homes, fourplex owners may struggle to maintain all units occupied.

How to Choose the Best Fourplex to Invest In

If you’ve never bought a house, much alone an investment property, your mind is undoubtedly racing with questions. Here are some pointers to assist you in effectively investing in a fourplex:

  1. Investigate the local home market.
  2. Examine the MLS.
  3. Use real estate investing indicators as a guide.
  4. Discuss your loan choices.

#1. Investigate the local home market.

The primary goal of market research is to identify a suitable neighborhood and acquire a sense of pricing trends. A good location is one of the most important variables in the success of an investment property. Population, employment market, schools, transportation, median income, and safety are all factors to consider. These are all markers of a neighborhood’s desirability.

#2. Examine the MLS

Then, look for listings. You can achieve this by collaborating with a licensed real estate agent and searching the MLS. You could also look at public listing websites and off-market houses.

#3. Count on Metrics for Real Estate Investing

Acquaint yourself with several real estate investing formulas that will assist you in projecting the profitability of an investment property. Investors who make judgments based on gut instinct are unlikely to succeed. Not sure which formulas you should be familiar with? We recommend starting with these ten calculators that every real estate investor should be familiar with. Proceed only after you’ve calculated a property’s prospective profitability from every viewpoint and are confident in your findings.

#4. Discuss Your Loan Options

Once you’ve located your perfect listing and are confident that it’s a good investment, contact a lender. Unless you can pay entirely in cash, you’ll need to borrow some money. Consider various forms of loans, such as a first-time homebuyer loan or a VA loan, in addition to a conventional house loan. You may even be able to avoid commercial loans altogether if you can receive a personal loan from a sympathetic relative.

Things to Remember When Closing the Deal

When concluding a fourplex acquisition, you must be mindful of various variables, as is the case with most real estate transactions. These variables include a variety of legal and economical considerations. The amount of rent that is passed to you after closing, the processing of security deposits, and the landlord requirements that you must follow are some of the most important items that you must become acquainted with. Contact a legal expert to gain a thorough grasp of the procedure.

What Is The Difference Between a Duplex, Triplex, and Fourplex?

To be considered a duplex, each unit must have its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and utility meters. Each unit has the same features as a normal single-family home. A triplex is a structure with three different housing units, while a fourplex or quadplex has four independent living units.

Choosing a Duplex, Triplex, or Fourplex

Choosing between a duplex, triplex, or fourplex might be difficult. Each choice has its own set of benefits and cons.

One thing to think about is finding a happy medium between income and management. How much money do you hope to make? How much responsibility in terms of management responsibilities are you willing to accept? Don’t forget that management is responsible for more than just collecting rent and making minor repairs. You’ll also be in charge of maintenance, marketing, preventative maintenance, accounting, and any other duties that fall under the purview of property management.

Most tasks can be outsourced, but it will reduce your income.

Your sweet spot will be the intersection of your targeted income and management responsibilities.

In conclusion

Due to their low entrance barriers, fourplexes are an excellent investing strategy for beginners. They create a solid cash flow, are easier to maintain than four individual houses, and can still be purchased with a residential loan.

Buying a fourplex unit has numerous potential benefits. A fourplex has the most potential because it is the largest in its category. However, while it can pave the way to becoming a property owner-investor, it is not passive income. Consider it a co-living scenario in which you are the senior occupant who takes on all management obligations in exchange for having your mortgage paid for and a wage created by the rentals of the other inhabitants.

Fourplex FAQs

Is Fourplex a good investment?

A fourplex can provide the same cash flow as four single-family home investment properties, or three if the owner lives on-site. Fourplexes also have lower property taxes than four individual rental units, making fourplexes a favorable financial investment.

What should I know before buying a fourplex?

It is advisable to investigate the surrounding region before buying a fourplex. You may get an estimate of how much traffic and possible renters will be in the area this way. It’s advisable to look for a fourplex in a high-traffic location.

Is it hard to manage a fourplex?

Another advantage of buying a fourplex property is that they are straightforward to manage. Because the units are on the same property, you will be able to remain on top of all property management issues without having to divide your focus between four distinct properties.

What is quadruplex house?

A quadruplex is a residential apartment with four private units, each of which can house an individual or family.

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