How Much Does It Cost to Build a Fourplex?
$190,000 - $1,100,000
$190,000 - $1,100,000
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Updated April 1, 2022Reviewed by Ezra Laniado, Expert Contributor.
The average cost to build a fourplex is around $419,000. Depending on the location, materials, and square footage of the individual units, prices for a fourplex will typically range from $190,000 to $648,000.
If you live in an area with a high cost of living, it’s not uncommon to see fourplexes cost more than the $1 million mark. Most people will build a fourplex for a multigenerational family or an investment property.
As the name implies, a fourplex is one building separated into four separate living units. These units will range anywhere from 500 square feet to more than 1,200 square feet.
Whether it’s a single-family home, townhome, duplex, or fourplex, you’re going to use the same materials to build the structure. While the costs of foundations and walls may not increase too much compared to other home options, keep in mind you need to finish four separate kitchens and at least one bathroom in each unit.
Common materials and pricing for building a fourplex include:
Keep in mind that this estimate doesn’t include additional details, such as doors, lighting fixtures, and common area materials. You’re going to need to purchase and install features such as mailboxes, a flight of stairs to access the upper units, and fire exits. In some states, such as California, you may also have to install systems like fire sprinklers and solar panels.
Any housing project requires a wide range of professional teams to accomplish the building task. You’ll also likely need to hire an architect and a structural engineer to ensure your fourplex is up to safety standards.
Here’s a general list of the professionals you’re likely going to need to hire on a fourplex project:
|Type of Professional||General Cost|
|Architects||5% to 20% of the total project cost|
|General Contractor||10% to 20% of the total project cost|
|Electrician||$50 to $100 per hour|
|Plumber||$50 to $200 per hour|
|Structural Engineer||1% to 20% of the total project cost|
The cost of permits will vary based on location and local municipal codes. For example, one area may charge a flat fee of $2,000 for zoning and construction permits, while other areas may charge a percentage of the total cost of the project. This percentage may range anywhere from 0.01% to 1% of the project’s total cost.
When taking on a significant building project, you can expect to run into unexpected costs.
Depending on location and lot size, you may need to build a designated parking space for at least one vehicle for each unit. If you’re looking for a simple lot with no overhead coverage, you should expect to pay around $2.50 to $7 per square foot to pave a parking lot.
Other unexpected expenses may include fire escapes, roof access, and accessibility access to each unit (this may mean installing elevators).
The average cost to build a fourplex per unit is around $104,750. However, you may pay anywhere from $47,500 to $162,000 per unit, depending on location and what upgrades you choose to include in your units.
Realistically, you’re not going to be able to build the entire fourplex by yourself. But there are some tasks you can take on to help you save money, especially if you have several years of experience in housing construction.
While not easy, obtaining a general contractor's license is possible after passing the necessary exams. This may save you anywhere from 10% to 20% of the total cost of the project. Though you’ll need to form a business, pass a general contractor’s exam, as well as several years of experience to obtain this license. You’ll need to look into your individual state's requirements for detailed information about their process.
This plan will likely set back your fourplex plans by quite a bit, so it’s still recommended to hire a general contractor near you for a quick and seamless process.
Fourplexes are often two-story buildings with two units on each side and one unit on each floor. Although you may find single-story fourplexes with the units side-by-side to each other.
Two-story fourplexes will cost anywhere from $135 to $220 per square foot to build. You typically enter these units from the front or back of the building through the ground floor or by taking the stairs to the second level. However, there are fourplexes in which each unit has its own private entrance, and the stairs for each upper unit are located on the side of the building.
Single-story, side-by-side fourplexes will cost around $95 to $180 per square foot to build. While single-story fourplexes require fewer material costs, it’s often harder to accomplish this type of building because you’ll need a much larger lot than a two-story option, increasing the cost of land.
Beyond the home itself, there are individual choices you may want to make as a landlord to make the units more appealing, including shared amenities or a covered parking area.
Building a carport over the parking lot may help you attract tenants to your rental units. A covered parking lot offers protection from the weather and the sun, allowing for cool cars and potentially less damage from falling debris and hail. If you plan to provide every unit with a single carport, expect to pay $6,500 per unit.
If you’re looking to build a carport that covers the entire parking lot, you should contact a local carport builder to get exact quotes for your lot.
Many landlords are looking to stay on top of tech trends by installing smart home technology in their units. These smart amenities can include smart locks and smart thermostats, which allow tenants to control their front door and thermostat remotely. Adding smart home tech will cost around $1,600 per unit on average.
It’s not uncommon to see rental properties fully furnished as a way to increase the value of the home and decrease the amount of furniture a potential tenant needs to buy. The average cost to furnish an apartment is around $4,650 per unit.
Adding top-notch amenities like a shared gym or swimming pool is a great way to attract tenants and higher rent prices. To help your property stand out, you could pave past the parking lot and create a small basketball court or give tenants the ability to store items on site.
The cost of basketball hoop installation sits at around $500 on average. Building a single-story storage facility will cost around $50 per square foot.
You may want to opt for a security system for the property itself, as well as for the individual units. The cost of installing a home security system is around $700 on average, and you’ll need one for each unit. Though the installation cost may not be as pricey for individual units as the property itself, the cameras on the outside will act as cameras for every unit.
If you choose not to live on the property and have a property management company handle it instead, expect to see a portion of the tenant's rent taken out to cover the cost. The average monthly fee of a property management company is around 10% of the tenant's rent.
While it’s extremely rare, it’s possible to obtain an FHA loan to cover the cost of building a fourplex. However, the owner is required to live in one of the units if that’s the case.
One of the main reasons someone will build a fourplex is because of the investment potential. Fourplexes have the potential to generate more rental income than duplexes and triplexes, but it depends on the vitality of the location and the management. Before building a fourplex, keep in mind that you’ll need to keep the units occupied and avoid high turnover rates to turn a profit.
The number of rooms in a fourplex is dependent on how many you choose to build. Realistically, you can expect to have anywhere from 4 to 12 rooms, depending on the layouts.