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Single Family vs Multi-Family Investments in CA: Which One Is Better

Investing in real estate can be a smart and lucrative way to make your money multiply. Once you enter the world of real estate investment, you will discover there are many ways to invest your money.

You can purchase single-family homes, multi-family buildings, commercial properties and even niche investments such as land and mobile homes.

In this article, we will discuss single-family vs. multi-family investments. We will discuss the pros and cons to each below, so you can make the investment best suited to your goals!

Single-Family Investments


Usually More Affordable – Typically you will be able to acquire a single-family property at a lower cost than a multi-family property in the same neighborhood.

Easier to Manage Growth – Because of its affordability, acquiring a number of properties over time (as opposed to an apartment building outright) will allow you to pace your growth while keeping costs manageable.

Higher Cash Flow – Typically, a single-family home will have much higher returns as opposed to a multi-family property. Some markets see annual returns upwards of 20%.

Tenant Retention – Tenants typically stay in a single-family home longer than tenants renting an apartment or multi-family unit.


Harder to Sell – Selling a large portfolio of single-family homes will likely be more difficult than selling one building with many units. Selling a portfolio of SF homes will require many transactions, many sets of closing costs and many different buyers to deal with. When selling a multi-family building, it is all taken care of with one transaction.

One Tenant Dependant – Your cash flow from the property is dependent upon one tenant. If should find yourself with a sudden, unexpected vacancy, your profits will come to a crashing halt until the house is occupied by new tenants.

Takes Longer To Grow – Building a portfolio will require much more work. You will have to find and successfully acquire many properties to build the same revenue you can amass from one apartment building.

Multi-Family Investments


Instantly Build Your Portfolio – You can grow your portfolio quickly. Purchasing 30 single -family homes will take some time, whereas buying a property with 30 units can happen overnight.

Cheaper and Easier to Manage – Overall, it will cost you less money to maintain 1 location as opposed to 30. A property management company will charge less to take care of one building as opposed to a large portfolio of single-family properties.


More Expensive – Buying a multi-family property or apartment building is likely to have a higher upfront sale price. If you are just starting out, taking on many units at once can be overwhelming financially.

Higher Vacancy – Units can sit vacant longer and have a higher turnover.

Damage – Overall, multi-family units see more damage than single-family homes. This is partly because a single-family residence can create a sense of ownership for the tenant, whereas living in an apartment building will always remind you that you are in someone else’s space.

The pros and cons really balance themselves out when comparing these types of properties. What it really comes down to is personal preference and the amount of responsibility you wish to take on. While some people are ready to dive in full force with a number of units, others would rather get their feet wet by starting with one, solid, single-family property. No matter what you decide, run the numbers and plan accordingly. Don’t get in over your head by purchasing a property beyond your means!

Do you want to purchase an investment property in Orange County? We can help you find the one that is right for you! Send us a message, outlining what you are looking for, or give our team a call to discuss your goals further! 949-625-4533


Broker/Realtor/Investor/Mentor (41 years experience) Specialties: Buyer's Agent, Listing Agent, Foreclosure, Short-Sale, Property Management, Landlord I'm a Full Time Real Estate Professional, house flipper and mentor to many of my clients. I am here to help you get top dollar for your home or get you the best price for a home that you are going to live in. I have over 40 years of real estate experience for you to draw on and actively list and sell over 20 homes a year. I have sold over 600+ homes in the last ten years alone. I am a very skillful negotiator and will work diligently to help you realize the best possible price when buying or selling your home. With my Exclusive Home Acquisition & Sales System, I can find the Right Home for You! I have access to homes no other Realtor will show you. I can show you how to save an average of $10,000.00 on the purchase price. We will find a home that fits your needs, in a neighborhood that suits your style. If you are selling your home then I can bring all the professionals to you. I always include professional photos in ALL my listings. I have contractors standing by to assist with those upgrades if needed. I can also quickly get you ALL CASH offers for your home if you desire. My marketing surpasses all other agents. It begins with extensive internet advertising to hundreds of websites throughout the world. I do direct mail marketing for you home and also knock on doors in your neighborhood when I am holding an open house. I hold you home open to expose it to as many buyers as possible. My Exclusive program is designed to sell your home for Top Dollar in Any market. I am an experienced flipper here in Orange County and therefore can offer you my over 40 years of real estate experience. The information is available to you at no charge! If you like what you see, please call me and setup Your Free Consultation.

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