Owning multi-family property is a great way to boost your income.
However, finding apartment buildings for sale can be tricky if you don’t know where to look. Read on to learn the best places to find properties and how to maximize these resources.
Types of Apartment Buildings
Apartment buildings come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from six-unit, two-story garden complexes to high-rise luxury buildings with hundreds of apartments.
To help you find just the right one with the least trouble, consider what you’re looking for before starting your search.
Many new apartment investors start with smaller buildings of 20 units or less. Larger buildings may require more financial resources and management expertise.
You probably want a building in an area where appreciation is a possibility. But you may also want to buy it not too far from where you live, so you can keep an eye on it.
Price is obviously a factor. But the listed sale price isn’t the only consideration. Property class also matters, as this determines quality and condition.
Buildings are generally grouped into four categories: A, B, C, and D.
- A-class buildings are the newest and most luxurious, with the most amenities and the highest cost.
- B-class buildings are somewhat less fancy and less recently built, with lower price tags to match.
- C-class buildings may be older and need maintenance. Consider those costs along with the sale price.
- D-class buildings cost less but usually need costly repairs and updates.
If you think first about what and where you want to buy, you can find a suitable apartment building faster and with less effort.
Where to Buy Apartment Buildings
There are a number of ways to find apartment buildings for sale, and each has pros and cons. Public listings are a good place to start.
But they are often the leftover scraps that industrial investors don’t want. The cold, hard truth is that many commercial properties are sold via private offerings.
The reasoning is simple: if a seller can get his target price, he won’t go through the headache of a bidding war or a buyer backing out at the last minute.
Off-market deals also save commission costs, as the agent has less work to do and can charge less. We mention this because it’s important to understand the importance of building your brand and establishing relationships.
Sure, you may be able to get a good deal on a public listing, but you can get even better deals by building a network. That said, it’s still important to explore all options so no stone is left unturned.
We’ve listed the most common approaches for buying properties, and you may want to use more than one approach as you look for the perfect apartment building for sale.
As we mentioned, the best deals are often buildings that have not yet gone on the market. Once you determine the type, size, and location of the building you are interested in, contact the owners of matching properties.
Don’t restrict yourself to properties listed for sale. Your objective is to see if they’re interested in selling. And you want them to think of you later on if they do sell.
What is the best way to reach building owners? The trusty old mailer: by searching the county assessor’s website, you’ll find owners whose mailing addresses don’t match the property address.
This usually means these are rental properties. One interesting fact? Out-of-state absentee landlords are the most likely to entertain an off-market sale.
Commercial Real Estate Agent or Broker
A real estate agent or broker who specializes in commercial property can use the local Multiple Listing Service to help you find an apartment building for sale.
This is a powerful tool and a good reason to consider using a real estate professional. Start by checking advertisements, including for sale signs on properties similar to ones you might buy. Make a list of at least three candidates.
Look for someone who does sales transactions, not just leases.
Visit each one and see which you think you can work with the best. At this point, you’re not looking for a property to buy. You’re starting a relationship you can build on to help you make a good buying decision down the road.
Online Property Listings
Depending on your level of tech savvy, you may want to do your search online. If so, there are several good listing websites. Check these out to find the one that fits your needs.
This is the go-to web platform for many commercial real estate investors. Along with office buildings, retail centers, and other commercial properties, the site lists hundreds of apartment buildings in many markets across the country.
To find apartment buildings, choose multifamily properties in LoopNet’s drop-down menu. You can narrow the search by state, city, or ZIP code. Sort results by price, number of units, and other important features.
If you see a property on LoopNet that interests you, click the contact button on the listing. You’ll be able to send a message directly to the listing agent to find out more.
This multifamily-only real estate site has listings for Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, and New York. You can search by state, country, city, and ZIP code to narrow in on your preferred location.
You can also filter results by price, building size, lot size, and number of units. If you like, ApartmentBuildings.com will show you only distressed properties or properties being auctioned.
If you are looking to buy in a state not covered by ApartmentBuildings.com, just wait. The site has plans to roll out nationwide.
This site is used by millions of homebuyers looking for single-family properties. You can use it to search for apartment buildings to buy by selecting the multifamily choice as the property type.
Realtor.com lets you use a large number of filters to zero in on the perfect building. You can look for properties in specific neighborhoods or on certain streets.
You can find only those of a certain age, or those with views or on-site pools. Multi-family searches on Realtor.com turn up plenty of duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes.
If you want a larger building, have the site search only for properties with five or more bedrooms.
Last but not least, Trulia is another website mostly devoted to single-family homes. If you’re looking in a market that has 1,000 single-family homes listed, it may list only a couple of dozen apartment buildings.
But this site has an easy-to-use interface and offers some search tools that others don’t. You’ll start by clicking the multifamily option under property types.
Then you can filter results by number of bedrooms, square feet, and year built. You can also search by length of time on the market or whether a property is in foreclosure.
Also, see if it has an upcoming open house and whether the price has been recently reduced. Anyone can list a property on Trulia.com. So you’ll find For Sale By Owner listings here as well as those listed with agents.
Buying directly from the owner can cut transaction costs by up to 10 percent by eliminating the broker’s commission. You’ll see duplicate listings on these sites, but they’re not all the same.
To get a better idea of what’s for sale, do similar searches at two or more sites. Most apartment building listings syndicate to multiple websites, but sometimes one gets missed.
What Is the Best Place to Find Apartments for Sale?
Finding an apartment building to buy is, for many, the first step in becoming a commercial real estate investor.
There are plenty of tools to help you with your search, and we suggest using all of them. After all, casting a wide net means you’ll have the best chance of finding the perfect property.