How come rental houses in the suburbs with a few apartments in them usually always cost much way less than if these houses were just a one-family houses?

How come rental houses in the suburbs with a few apartments in them usually always cost much much much less to buy than if these houses were just a one-family houses?
In some areas I am pondering moving to (and ones that years ago that I used to ponder moving to), the houses for the price that I want to spend are either too big for me or too small. It's difficult to impossible to find one that's inbetween.

turning it into my own private house.
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Chris Tsao wrote:

Because they _are_ rental property in areas zoned for rental, not single-dwelling. In areas w/ rentals, one typically can not count on property values remaining stationary or rising to the extent of most residential neighborhoods simply because rental property is subject to the vagaries of bad tenants and being managed by poor landlords (either for indifference and/or incompetence or actual design). This is, of course, a generalization that to which there can be found exceptions, but as you've noted, it is typical.

???? This makes absolutely no sense to me--you're letting purchase price control the property selection first? Your first statement says you want to spend enough to buy properties that are too big--so spend less would seem a workable alternative. Then, otoh, you say the same dollars don't buy a large enough house. That then sounds as though you must be comparing one very expensive area to another of much less. That's the proverbial "apples and oranges" -- doesn't work that way. Real estate is "location, location, location" -- simple mantra, but very important.
The idea of buying a commercial property with thinking to convert it to single-family dwelling is probably _not_ a good one---first of all, you may not be able to effect a zoning change to prevent it from continuing to be classified as commercial and if so, the taxes and other ancillary costs are likely to make it an expensive proposition. It will also undoubtedly suffer from the same problem you've noted above--a residence in a commercial area is simply not going to have a very high resale value so you would be quite unlikely to be able to recoup any investment made in the remodeling. OTOH, if it were a reasonable neighborhood and not too terribly rundown, one _might_ be able to renovate and convert to apartments and make a go of something that way--but it would certainly take a good analysis of the area and renovation costs, likelihood of rental at decent rate of return, etc., etc., etc., before one would want to make such an investment.
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dpb wrote:

Now it all makes sense to me.

I want three bedrooms, a living room, dining room and a kitchen, but I am pondering a house with more bedrooms so I can do stuff that nobody else but me cares about. Like gating off part of the house so two African Grey parrots can have lots of room and hardly have to be in a bird cage, or so I can keep a mountain lion indoors (as well as outdoors), or I'd have the widest projection screen TV they make (the kind with the screen that you pull down). Or I'd have a house with an apartment so when I inherit money and thus buy antiques and replica antiques, I can still keep my furniture that I have now. Not counting colonial and victorian houses, I think that bigger houses look nicer because there's more that the architect can do with it, but I cannot make up my mind what sized house to get. I like colonial and victorian the best, so maybe I can get one that's a combination of both, if there's such thing (and if it's official).

Oh. :-( My hopes are now dashed. I couldn't rest wondering whether a tenenent would accidentally burn the house I was living in down. I've noticed that a lot of hotels in towns have been ruined due to fires.
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Look for an ex-church, grange-hall, or masonic temple. Those are generally in areas where zoning would be less of an issue. Have spare money available, because those sorts of building get sold when the organization goes under, which means you can expect a great deal of deferred maintenance.
When in doubt, go for more land and less building. You can always add more building.
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Chris Tsao wrote: ...

Well, you had best count on being unable to recoup much of your investment if you ever try to sell the property after such an escapade then, or budget to completely renovate such a portion as has had such use down to the bare studs kind of restoration. Animal scents and damage is amongst the worst of what will detract from potential buyers.
As far as keeping a mountain lion (or any large cat) as a pet or in a residential neighborhood, I suspect by now there is no municipality that would allow it and it simply isn't a good idea. I know there are those who do such stupid things, but that doesn't excuse it or change the fact that wild cats don't make house pets.
We had a high school senior girl on a field trip in this area mauled and killed by a supposedly tame white leopard while having picture taken just last spring. You don't need the grief those folks are now going through from the legal system (quite justifiably in my view) even though there was (in this case literal) also a case of terminal stupid on the part of anybody standing next to a large, supposedly tame, cat not somehow restrained. Near as I can tell from the accounts, nothing really happened to precipitate the attack and "it never happened before" -- well, gee! That's comforting! :(
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