Remodel & Renovate in 02145>Question Details

Llorelai, Home Buyer in 02145

how do you convert a two-family into three-family house, if you have space but would require work to put a new kitchen and all? what are the rules?

Asked by Llorelai, 02145 Mon Mar 29, 2010

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Hi Llorelai - You are in Somerville--it looks like Winter Hill--and for starters you would need to put in a sprinkler system in order to convert from a two to a three-family. There are other changes you would have to make but you might find that a sprinkler system alone would make it cost prohibitive. You should go over to inspectional services to see what other changes you would have to make. If you need some realtor help give me a ring--I am in Somerville.

Ellen G. Friedman, Keller Williams Realty, 617-448-1542 or
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
Without a doubt, you always -- ALWAYS -- want to visit your local building and/or inspectional services department and ask them these questions. Every town is different, so you want to know the local regs and guidelines so you don't get hammered for doing something the wrong way. Some towns are more strict, some are more lax. But make friends there, emphasize that you're there because you want to do it the RIGHT WAY -- they love to hear that! -- and you'll surely be in their good graces, all the while making invaluable contacts in the process for your next project!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 5, 2013
before you do any work go to the building dept. or inspectional services usually in the town hall of the city/town where the property is located. talk to them. it is not easy to get the zoning change. good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 21, 2010
Hello- Good answers below. Check on all of that first.
I didn't know that Somerville new(er) 3- families needed a sprinkler system. That would probably be a $15k- $18k cost for you right there. Definitely check on that....

Also, the layout of the building itself with have a lot to do with how and how much it will cost to convert to a 3 family. You have to deal with lining up the plumbing/ drainage lines, and also you need to have 2 means of egress for each unit. Many times that can mean a back stairway, or an emergency spiral stairwell, etc.
What is the electrical system like currently? That could be a pandora's box if you are adding a unit.
If you'd like any help on figuring this out, let me know.
Ken L.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 19, 2010
Contact a Somerville based real estate attorney. Somerville has a very clear path that must be followed in changing condo units (adding or subtracting). The process does take some time, so be patient!

Bill P.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 17, 2010
Definitely run it past the zoning commission. They will say if you can do this. Then the code enforcement office will tell you just how it has to be done.

All a local issue. All depends on what the local authorities say you can or can not do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
The first thing you need to do is check with the town. You may not be zoned to convert your home into a 3 family. If you are allowed to do this, then make sure it is worth it to put the unit it. Figure out what your payback is in terms of the work you have to put in and the rent you can get and determine whether it is worth while. Also, does the value of your home increase (or decrease) with the extra unit.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
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