How to Start an Apartment Complex

There's nothing simple about constructing an apartment building. Nor is it easy to convert that charming, old brick factory into a contemporary collection of lofts. But if owning a rental complex is your goal, you can make it happen. Whether your long-term goal is to become the next Donald Trump or you're just seeking year-round income from rentals, owning an apartment complex will satisfy either desire. This article will help get you started, whether you're refurbishing existing architecture or building from the ground up. You might be so delighted with the results once you're done, you'll start scouting additional properties to expand your real estate empire.

Step 1

Work with a realtor to purchase an existing building or find a location zoned for multifamily dwellings that suits the type of apartment building you plan to construct. Negotiate the selling price with the owner. Hire an architect to handle the design or redesign of the project.

Step 2

Commission a mortgage broker to compare rates and terms to recommend the best deal for your financial circumstances. Contact an insurance agent to obtain quotes for insuring the building during the construction or remodeling phase as well as quotes for a policy to insure the structure against damage and liability issues once the building is occupied.

Step 3

Hire a building inspector to do a thorough examination before you close on the property to ascertain structural flaws if the property you are purchasing already exists. Find a contractor with a substantive portfolio of apartment build-outs or ground-up construction methods. Obtain permits and break ground for the new complex.

Step 4

Supervise construction and work closely with the contractor through the final inspection. Hire a decorator to put the finishing touches on the new or refurbished apartment building, including carpet and window treatments.

Step 5

Attend the closing with your attorney. Have your legal representative draw up a standard lease for new tenants or use a rental contract template found at office supply stores as your example. Draw up a list of rules and regulations for tenants to cover such issues as late-night noise, moving hour parameters and the limits to which a renter can make interior alterations.

Gail Cohen

Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.