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Renovating a Multi-Family Home: Everything You Need to Know

For many multi-family homeowners, there comes a time where renovations are necessary for a space that they own. 

If you have a multi-family home, this might seem like a daunting process. It is easy to get lost when figuring out what to do with this commercial space, especially with so much information online.  

Keep on reading to learn more about renovating a multi-family home. There are many critical components that you should consider when going about this process to make your business as successful as possible. You should keep all of these in mind to ensure that the process goes as

Remember to Plan Ahead

When renovating a single-family home, it is often okay to jump right in without a solid plan. A multi-family home is a bit different. This space houses more than one family at once, so the structure is more complicated than the home that only holds one group of people. Many companies jump right into renovations with no plan and come up short.

You must remember to plan. This way, you will be able to accomplish the renovation with little trouble. Planning will keep your team in line and give everyone something to do. A well-oiled group of people is the most ideal way for your company to operate when renovating a multi-family home.

Write Everything Down

Before you begin, you should write down and document everything that you intend to do to the multi-family home. Everybody operates in a different method. If you do better by physically writing, you can get a notebook to make your documentations. If you do better online, type out your plans. These might change as you go.

You can keep your documentations:

  • On your computer, whether a laptop or a desktop
  • Inside your phone, on a notes app, or similar platform
  • Within a notebook that you have with you during the renovations

All of these items can be kept with you at all times. If you keep items on a laptop, ensure that it is portable and protected on the site.

When notating your plans, know that they will likely change. This will let you keep track of these alterations and prevent you from getting caught up in what you have and have not done already. Notations allow a much smoother renovation process than if you only use your brain.


Budgeting is vital in any kind of project. Whether you are planning on getting a new car or fixing up a basement, figuring out what your maximum spending limit is will keep the project on track. This is especially the case if you are renovating a multi-family home for business purposes.

There are a few great ways to budget. Some of them include:

  • Keeping track of material expenses that you will need
  • Estimating an emergency fund for if things go wrong
  • Budgeting based on the home value

All of these items are great when estimating the money that you will spend.

You can budget in the same way that you keep track of your plans. Keeping all of these items together will help the project go as smoothly as possible. Budgeting will allow you to save money for your business while creating an excellent money-making opportunity.

Find Reputable Companies

Another great way that you can plan is by researching any companies that you might need ahead of time. Locating reputable groups will save you from wasting time with scammers and groups that are only serving to gain as much from you financially as they can.

You can locate reputable companies by:

  • Looking up reviews and other commentaries online
  • Noting past work that they have done
  • Comparing price points between companies

All of these items will ensure that you pick great companies for the renovation job.

Planning this out ahead of time is an excellent idea. It will allow your business venture to move forward while saving you money and energy overall. Prioritize reputation over-speed or any other item that might draw your eye.

Invest in Long-Lasting Materials

Long-lasting materials will allow your renovation to last for a long time. Picking cheaper materials might cost you less in the initial renovation, but it will pull a lot more money from your pocket in the future as you make repairs and replace various parts of the home. There are many long-lasting materials that you can pick from.

Some of the best materials that you can pick include:

  • Brick, which can withstand a lot
  • Stone, which many items are made out of
  • Steel, which looks best with an industrial theme
  • Hardwood, made from woods such as Hard Maple and White Oak

All of these items have proven to last for an extended period. These are great to use in a home as they require little upkeep.

When purchasing these materials, you should know exactly how much you will need to make the most out of your budget. Your company’s renovation will benefit a lot from being as precise as possible.

Prioritize a Reputable Contractor

When remodeling, everything comes back to the contractor. This person is responsible for coordinating and supervising every part of this project. If you select a poor contractor for your renovation, you are likely not going to get great results.

We will go over a few things that you can do to ensure that the contractor you end up with is a good one. Each of these tips does not have to be taken but might ensure that you have a smooth experience with your multi-family home renovation.

Ask for References

When hiring a contractor, you should ask for references. This should not be hard for a contractor to provide if they are good at what they do. Your business is allowed to do this to ensure that you get what you are paying for. After all, this is a huge job.

A good reference can come from:

  • A company that hired them previously
  • A group that they have worked for in the past

Preferably, the reference should come from someone who hired them as a contractor before. This will allow you to know how they deal with a high-pressure situation like a multi-family home renovation.

If they do not have references, it might be a good idea to look a little more in-depth with this person. More research will always benefit your renovation rather than hinder it, saving you from damage that could occur if you do not put time into decision-making.

Do Some Research

The next step you can take when hiring a contractor is to do some research. Thanks to the internet, there is an abundance of information about many contractors and what they do.

You might take a look at:

  • Previous jobs they have been credited for
  • Reviews that have been written about them

All of these can prove to be helpful on your hunt for a contractor. Any insight that you can locate will be beneficial.

Of course, research can only take you so far. Trust your gut to ensure that you pick what is best for your business venture. If something feels off, you should probably not go with that individual.

Negotiate Beforehand

You should always settle on a price before you begin the project. This can change as time goes on, but settling on something right away will allow you to be on the same page right from the get-go.

The amount you pay them might depend on:

  • Personal rates that they have set up for themselves
  • Your budget for the home

What you decide is, in the end, up to you.

Once you have settled, you can get started on your renovation. It is never a good idea to leave haggling for later. This can cause unnecessary conflict and even lead to the destruction of a project that has only just begun.

Remember Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is not something that many think of when considering renovations for a multi-family home. If you do not have tenants that currently occupy the space, you will want to consider this when renovating. Even if you do have renters, curb appeal is vital to the value of the property.

Many items go into curb appeal. We will go over a few that are good to remember if you intend to bring in renters for your renovated multi-family home. Focusing on curb appeal might also increase the value of the space and allow you to increase rent for your business.

Remember Paint

A new paint job can make a world of difference. You can make a million renovations to the inside of a multi-family home, but it can be hard to attract tenants if the outside of the place still looks like it did before your business made major changes to the space. The color that you choose is vital.

Some of the best colors for the outside of a home include:

  • Soft blue, which brings a sense of serenity
  • Neutral browns, which allow it to look uniform
  • Gray, which will bring out any contrasting colors used in furniture

All of these are excellent choices from the outside of a home. There are also many other colors that you can choose from if these do not suit your taste.

Paint can make a huge difference when renovating a home. Your business should ensure that a new coat goes on after the interior renovations have been completed. By making this effort, your renovations will be more appealing to potential customers.

Take Note of Symmetry

Symmetry is vital when upgrading the outside of a home. It looks nicer to those who observe it, and it will draw eyes for a longer period. If you are attempting to better the curb appeal of a home, symmetry should be something that you focus on.

You might create some symmetry by:

  • Adding some extra windows that are equal on either side of the home
  • Bringing in some pillars and other exterior items to balance the space visually
  • Planting bushes and items around the base of the home

All of these can make the home more symmetrical and bring in potential tenants. The nicer it looks, the more excited they will be. Even people that already live in the space will be excited about this upgrade.

When renovating a multi-family home, symmetry is not something that everybody thinks of. However, it is vital when considering the potential of curb appeal. This can increase the value of the home and make the most for your business.

Embrace the Landscaping

When you are renovating a multi-family home, it is vital to remember the landscaping. A beautiful home is nothing without greenery to accompany it. You should embrace landscaping along with the renovations that go on in the interior of the home.

We will discuss a few of the things that you can do to improve the landscaping of a multi-family home. By taking the time to make this look good, you are making a great business decision for yourself and for the future tenants that will occupy the location you are renovating.

Plant a Garden

A garden is a simple way to make the yard of a multi-family home look nice. You do not even need to plant items. If you make a nice location for the future tenants to plant land, you will be giving the space the growth potential. People who are looking to move into an area will enjoy the idea of what they could do with the plot.

The garden plot does not need to be very big to work. All you need is wood, soil, and a nice fence if possible. The construction of the plot should not take more than a few hours if you make it look nice. It is also an affordable addition if you want to use a business strategy that will save you money.

Utilize Trees

A tree that is perfectly placed in front of a home can give it a welcoming feel that many are drawn to. You do not want to plant too many trees. If your business decides to invest in a tree for the space, you should use precision to put it in the best location to draw the eye.

According to arbordayblog.org, some places that you can place a tree in a front yard include:

  • Off to the side, where there is still room left to add other items in the yard
  • Out of the way of any windows and doors that it might be blocking
  • Where it will have room to grow and expand as time goes on

All of these are great places to plant a tree in a front yard. Of course, this all depends on the type of yard that you are working with. The size and shape of your tree will also vary with the space you have access to.

When planting, the tree should be in a location that is both aesthetically pleasing and practical. It should serve to accent the home, not take away from it. It should not be big enough that it could fall on the house and damage it in the future. This is a way to drive away tenants rather than draw them in.

Make the Lawn Green

It is a simple yet well-understood fact that green lawns will attract the eyes. This is especially the case if the lawn is well-trimmed and taken care of. If the lawn was not well taken care of before, you should take advantage of the renovation to make it look beautiful once again.

There are two ways that you can go about creating a lawn for the home. These include:

  • Replanting a natural lawn in the place of a dead or absent one
  • Putting in fake grass where the yard area is

Both of these are great ways to create a green lawn for a multi-family home.

The fake lawn will stand the test of time, but not everybody appreciates the look. You should communicate with tenants beforehand to see what they would prefer. If your company does not yet have tenants for this structure, you can do what you would like with the lawn space.

Talk to Those Who Live Around It

One step that many businesses forget when renovating a multi-family home is the neighborhood itself. You can learn a lot about a location simply by talking to the people that live near the home. This is especially helpful if you are renovating a home you have just purchased, rather than one you have been renting out for a long time.

You can contact the neighbors, only if they are willing, about items such as:

  • Detrimental aspects of the neighborhood
  • Issues that might exist with the home

The neighborhood that the home exists in can impact the renovation process. If you are polite, you can use that to your advantage.

Always be courteous when checking out a neighborhood. Nobody likes to have their privacy invaded. However, if you are polite and non-invasive, this can likely benefit the renovation of a multi-family home. Very few companies think of the homes that surround the place they are working with.

Locate Hidden Expenses

When renovating, hidden expenses often pop up and appear without warning. This might slow down your process and even prevent it from happening. Some expenses can cost you a lot of money that your company might not have. The chances are high that you will run into at least one hidden expense as you renovate a multi-family home.

Some of the hidden expenses that you may encounter include:

  • Water damage
  • Mold or various kinds
  • Termite destruction

All of these are stumbling blocks that may get in the way of a proper multi-family home renovation. They can bring up the cost and make your project last a lot longer than it should.

Keep on reading to learn more about these three common hidden expenses. These can all slow down your work and cost many extra finances that you may not have. By knowing how to check for all of these items, you might be able to repair them for less than if you ignore the problems altogether. Prevention is better than fixing.

Water Damage

Water damage is the first potential hidden expense on our list. Out of all of them, it is perhaps the most common. This issue stems from burst pipes that are located deep inside the home, though it can also happen if a home is susceptible to rain and water damage. There are many ways you can see if water damage has affected a space.

According to restorationlocal.com, signs of water damage include:

  • Bubbling, cracking and peeling wallpaper on the walls
  • An odor that smells as if it damp or musty
  • Mold, which comes in various colors and grows on wet surfaces
  • Much higher water bills, which indicates water damage from a burst pipe
  • Dark spots and stains are often on the ceiling, walls, or floors

All of these are signs of water damage inside a home. You should keep an eye out for these if you are worried about this problem in a renovation.

Water damage is vital to consider before you renovate because it can destroy the structure of the space. You should locate where the damage is most prominent so that you can adjust accordingly without causing irreparable damage to the multi-family home.


Mold is a huge problem when renovating any home. It is a dangerous substance that can prove to be harmful to any occupant living with it, especially if ingested over a long period. According to the CDC, black mold can contribute to:

  • Intense allergic reactions for those who are sensitive to items
  • Development of asthma in children who are exposed at a young age
  • Respiratory challenges for those who have impacted lungs

All of these can come from having mold inside of a home. You will often feel the side effects if you have been occupying a space for a while, though it may not be clear what is causing them.

Mold often comes from water damage inside of the walls. You can see hints of mold on the ceiling, but many times it remains hidden inside of the building. It is hard to see it until parts of the wall are removed. If you have this issue, your company should hire a professional to avoid additional damages that might occur. 

Termite Destruction

Termite damage is a real problem in many homes. According to americanpest.net, around 600,000 residential homes are impacted each year by these bugs. Finding these little guys in the middle of your renovation process can add on a ton of hidden expenses that could set the entire project back.

You can prevent this by checking for termites ahead of time. This can be accomplished by:

  • Looking for damaged wood, whether that is in the walls or the floor
  • Finding wings and legs or other evidence of a swarm
  • Seeking out droppings that could result from termites
  • Locating blisters in wood floors

All of these are strong evidence in favor of a termite infestation. Usually, you will be able to spot more than one if the invasion is very bad.

If you do find out that these bugs have taken over your place, you should get them exterminated before beginning the renovation process. Termites will destroy the process that you try to make as you go along.  

Know Your Tenants

If you have tenants that already occupy the space, you should ensure that you consider their opinions when remodeling. This is especially true if you intend to alter the rent on the place once it is done. Those who live in your multi-family home should have a say in what happens to the place.

Some considerations that you might think about for your tenants might include:

  • Cooking situations that might benefit from being improved
  • Disability considerations for tenants who have difficulty getting around
  • Bathroom improvements in rooms where they were outdated

You should converse with your tenants about all of these items before you get started.

If you know your tenants, you are likely to gain more from your property. Amenities that suit their needs might cause them to be upbeat about a potential rent increase. It might seem like a hassle, but getting to know your tenants is a vital part of renovating a multi-family home.

Contact Superior Commercial Solutions

Renovating a multi-family home is a big project. To make it a successful undertaking for you and your business, you should keep in mind the items that we listed above. These will keep you on track as you look to increase the value in a multi-family home that your team has invested in.

Superior Commercial Solutions was created to help you plan out your renovations. From design to installation, our team is here to help you through it all. We are located in Utah and serve clients all across the United States of America. If you are interested, contact us here. We are excited to hear from you and see how we can help.