“Shared ownership and shared equity" represent an attractive option “to city residents struggling to afford a house." 

— World Economic Forum




Condo conversion is a cost-effective approach to homeownership, and investing in smaller, 2-4 unit residential buildings of previously occupied structures — sometimes called “middle housing” — is often the most affordable and efficient way to break into the market. These types of properties most often located in neighborhoods can serve as both a wise investment decision and personal residence.

As the volume and price of home sales increases as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for smaller, multi-unit residential buildings and individual condos is growing as well. 

Qualifying for a mortgage on a 2-4 unit building is similar to qualifying for a mortgage on a single-family home, both before and after converting to individual condos, but with the leverage power of a commercial property.

The traditional business model for multi-unit residential properties is to buy and hold, rent, or sell. Condo conversion or converting TIC buildings into condos; offers these combinations in a new, more market affordable homeownership options and provides more flexibility to position your property for optimal performance and leverage.


2-4 unit condominium conversions represent one of the most cost-effective and low-risk opportunities for creating additional value in San Francisco residential real estate." 

— Andy Sirkin, pioneering TIC attorney



The key to entry-level homes has always been affordability. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in demand for smaller, less expensive housing in both urban and suburban areas. This growing demand for market affordable housing is driven by several factors, including the skyrocketing cost of housing and other living expenses, stagnating income growth, and changing lifestyle choices by Millennials and other age groups.

There are several types of existing small-scale, multi-family buildings that qualify for condo conversion. These include:

Duplex stacked — A small- to medium-sized building consisting of two dwelling units, stacked one on top of the other, both of which face, and are entered from, the street.

Duplex side by side — A small- to medium-sized building consisting of two dwelling units, one next to the other, both of which face, and are entered from, the street. 

Triplex/Fourplex — A medium-sized building consisting of three or four units, typically one or two on the ground floor and one or two on the second floor, with a shared entry.

Multiplex (low rise) — A medium-sized building consisting of five to 15 side-by-side and/or stacked dwelling units, typically with one shared entry or individual entries along the front.

Townhouse — A small-to-medium-sized building, usually consisting of two to eight attached single-family homes placed side by side.

Live-Work — A small-to-medium-sized attached or detached structure consisting of one dwelling unit above or behind a flexible ground floor space for residential, service, or retail uses. Both the primary ground-floor flex space and the second unit are owned by one entity.

Cottage Court — A group of small detached structures arranged around a shared court visible from the street. 

Courtyard Apartments — A medium-to-large-sized structure consisting of multiple side-by-side and/or stacked dwelling units accessed from a courtyard or series of courtyards (some may have gardens). Each unit may have its own individual entry, or up to three units may share a common entry. 


Request your complimentary copy article by Jen Chan: "Reimagining Our Housing"



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