Home Buying in West Allis>Question Details

Jeff, Home Buyer in Milwaukee, WI

Need to turn a duplex into a single family home for tax reasons. House was remodeled before I bought it. Is this something I can do?

Asked by Jeff, Milwaukee, WI Wed Jan 6, 2010

OK so I bought a duplex that was just turned into single family home. The house was converted and remodeled into a single family before I bought it. I want to convert it to a single family for tax reasons. Is this easy to do? can I do it? or was this a bad investment? I get two electric bills a month. Would I have to bring in a electrician to fix this first before trying to convert it?

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Hi Jeff,

I'm a little confused. You wrote that it was already turned into a single family but you want to "convert it into a single family". so ... is it still a duplex or is it a single family? What is the current zoning applied by your town - multifamily 2 unit or single family? Ultimately, the Town determines if it's a single famly or multifamily and a variance need to be applied for (and changes made) to convert from one to the other.

On the electrical bit. IF it's already a single family and you simply want ONE bill, then you can just do this by getting an electrician to do the work, applying for a permit with your town and notifying your electric company that you'll be doing it. They'll want to take their extra meter back afterwards. They also might possibly want you to use a different meter box than you have now (one rated for the new combined service.

Let's say that you are combining two 100 amp services into a single 200 amp service - the outside service box might need to be replaced with a larger one rated accordingly. And your current main panel in one unit- that will become THE main panel for both units - this may need to be changed from whatever it is now to 200 amp, etc. The the other main panel will become a sub panel, and connect back to the main by a brand new and expensive cable. These are MUCH cheaper at electrical supply places than home depot.

You might also be able to keep all your current breakers if you buy a panel that is compatible with them (DQ, Siemens, etc).

Please be aware that you may not "HAVE TO" combine your electrical services, merely because you take a duplex and make it a single family. I DID recently combine services in my place so I am intimately familiar with how it works here in my county and my state. It may be a bit different in Milwaukee WI.

For me, I did combine my services to basically save the extra "customer service charge" of $5.50 each month. I was already doing a lot of electrical upgrades anyway so it made sense for me to do the extra work to combine the two together.

So ... assuming that you do not "have to" combine electric services (and I think that the town won't require this), you may wish to work up what it will cost you to do this. If you can do your own electrical, then it will be reasonable.

Please feel free to provide more info and ask more questions!!! I know "one or two" things about electrical, having done a TON of it in the last 6 months.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 6, 2010
Contact the city assessor at city hall. As for converting the electric, they shouldn't require that and WE Energies should be able to combined them on to one bill to make it easier to keep track of yet avoid the expense of doing electrical work.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
You might want to start with finding out what the difference in the property taxes would be. Right now it is very difficult to sell multi-family housing including duplexes due to the fact that they are very difficult to get financed and there are many on the market. Therefore, the value of it this dwelling as a duplex might fall below what it would be for a single family. Just a thought you may want to check into.

If you decide to move forward, you will need to follow the advice of the previous posts and do your research before you make any moves. Sounds like it may be quite an undertaking.
Let us know how it turns out for you.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 29, 2010
I guess evaluating the investment depends on what you paid for it. If the electric was not changed when the property was converted from a duplex to a single family I wounder what other issues you may have. What happened to the second kitchen and the plumbing? Where there permits pulled to change the zoning and complete the work for the conversion?

What tax issues are you talking about for making the changes?

There are a log more questions than answers. This first thing that needs to be done is understanding what your goal is? If it is focused on the taxes, have you discussed the issue with an accountant? Find out what the accountant tells you and see in any changes need to be made.

If the issue is more a convience issue with the electric then a electrician would need to evaluate what needs to be done to convert you meter from two to one. But the first thing I would do is check what permits were pulled to do the rehab on your property before you owned it.

Good Luck

Keith Manson
First Weber Group
Certified Distressed Property Expert
Metro Milwaukee

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 8, 2010
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