The Secret to Successful Multi-Family Unit Investments in Seattle

Posted by Shannon Browning   |   August 24, 2022

Buying an apartment complex can be an exciting and savvy investment. Whether this comprises one element or the lion’s share of your portfolio, sound advice and good management can maximize the return on your investment in multi-family real estate.

The Secret to Successful Multi-Family Unit Investments in Seattle

Powell Property Management is a family-owned King county property management company with more than a century of experience in the area. We owned and operated our own complexes for fifty years before branching out to manage others’ property with our expertise. Our longevity provides unique insight and perspective in managing multi-dwelling units


Types of Multi-Family Units

Multi-family or multi-dwelling units have one mortgage, but more than one living space. Each unit has a separate entrance, utility meter, kitchen, and at least one bathroom. Though smaller units are technically multi-family units according to this definition, federal laws regarding multi-family units sometimes apply only to units of five or more dwellings on one site.


  • Duplex/Triplex- A duplex is a two-family unit with separate entrances. Duplexes usually share a common wall, or each occupies a story of a two-story home. A triplex is the same principle, but with three units. Duplexes for rent are attractive options for tenants who desire more privacy.

  • Rowhouse- Rowhouses are individually built homes with a shared wall that connects them. They are generally tall, skinny houses that make use of vertical space. When lot space is at a premium, rowhouses are the best use of space. Rowhouses can be individually owned, or purchased in a block from existing investors who capitalize on the proximity of high-value individual units.

  • Apartment complexes- Apartment complexes are larger multi-dwelling units owned by a single entity, usually one person or a group of investors. Units are rented individually.

  • Condominium- A condominium is often purchased individually, although many families live together in the complex. Common space is communal, and owners pool their resources to provide maintenance and amenities. Therefore, condos are not always considered multi-family units.


Successful Multi-Family Unit Investments in Seattle

Are Apartment Complexes Good Investments?

Whether you’re pooling resources with other investors or buying a multi-family unit on your own, multi-family complexes present a unique profile of risks and benefits. The difference between single-family and multi-family real estate investment begins with the price tag and financing and doesn’t end until resale.

One main advantage of multi-family units, as opposed to single-family homes for rent, is their multiple revenue streams. A tenant moving out and leaving your property unoccupied drastically impacts the year’s net operating income (NOI) for that property. If your investment property includes multiple units, they are unlikely to be empty simultaneously as tenants move in and out. This provides a continuous cash flow, despite the inevitable ebbs and flows of occupancy, making multi-family investment properties an attractive element to your retirement portfolio.


Choose the Right Moment to Invest

Now is a great time to invest in multi-family homes in Seattle and the surrounding areas. Puget Sound real estate is steadily accruing value. However, low inventory means that properties are bought and sold quickly, requiring that investors move quickly and decisively. That doesn’t mean you should act impulsively. Analyze your prospective multi-family investment carefully

Often, multi-family unit investment opportunities don’t hit the market. That does not mean they are unavailable to the public. There are plenty of ways to find off-market multi-family properties, and partnering with an area expert like a property management company can help you make important connections.


Choose the Right Property Management Company

Changing property management companies can change your entire landlord experience. Experienced residential property management makes a world of difference. Like any industry, not every property management company operates at the same level. Don’t let a bad experience with one company sour your perspective. Good property managers make money by being the best possible stewards of your investment. 


Should I Hire a Property Manager for my Apartment Complex? 

Your time is extremely valuable. Your attention and sweat equity might not be the most efficient path to success. Property managers are experts who already know how to do the things you are attempting to figure out. 

Many real estate investors hire an apartment complex manager but find this solution insufficient. An apartment complex manager is just one person who is sometimes unavailable or ill-equipped for the problem at hand, requiring your involvement or leaving you liable. Hiring a property management company to manage your multi-family unit investment ensures consistent, professional responses without owner involvement. 


Powell Property Management is the Best Residential Property Management Company in the South Sound Area

Our full-service property management expertise helps us anticipate problems and proactively address them so that your real estate investment stays profitable. We made our rookie mistakes when your grandma was a kid.

Time has proven that prompt response to tenant maintenance requests decreases overall costs. Powell Property Management employs a 24/7 in-house maintenance team for around-the-clock emergency maintenance and next-business-day response for less urgent repair needs. 

If you’re unsatisfied with your current property management services or are interested in hiring a property manager for the first time, Powell Property Management would be delighted to speak to you about our full-service multi-family property management services.

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Topics: Tips for Landlords