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Look Out For This Term in Listings: Multi-Family Homes

Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a home or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to our tipline.

So you’re driving through Woodbridge and you spot a for sale sign in the lawn of a gorgeous old home. It’s perfect: big, old trees, and two floors—just what you wanted. No more worrying about the dance parties your neighbors throw on Sunday nights. Huzzah!

As it turns out, that second floor of the house you spotted is a flat. The house is a multi-family home. The difference between a multi-family home and a single family home is just that. If you buy a single family home, it’s just you and your family, ostensibly. A multi-family home, on the other hand, can mean different things. It can mean a duplex or it can mean that the building is outfitted for apartments.

The bonus that comes from owning a multi-family home is, of course, revenue. Renting out that flat to the right Wayne State grad student can help pay for the home you just bought. Of course, the same headaches your current landlord has to deal with will quickly become your own.