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How Do I Convert My Home Into an Assisted Living Home?

By January 24, 2015October 20th, 2023112 Comments

I received a question today about how to convert a single family home into an assisted living home.  It’s a question that I’ve received many times.  It’s a big question and this post will only touch on the answer, and point you in a few directions for more information.

Local Zoning

Some cities make it easy and others make it difficult.  Contact your local zoning department and ask about the zoning requirements for an assisted living home.  Is assisted living an acceptable use of a home in your neighborhood?

Fair Housing laws often limit a city’s ability to restrict where an assisted living facility can be located but only up to a certain size.  Usually a small size.  For example, we recently worked on a project that met zoning requirements as an 8 bed assisted living home but was out of compliance as a 10 bed.

Zoning is one thing.  Building codes are another.  Learn about any requirements that you local municipality has in their building codes.  Do you need a commercial kitchen?  How about fire protection?  Those are just some of the questions.  A small property we converted was able to use a residential stove and oven but the local fire code required a full restaurant style hood vent.  Overkill?  I thought so.

State Regulations

Most assisted living facilities of all sizes are regulated by your state.  State regulations will provide requirements for the property itself, how you operate it, and whether you even qualify for a license to do so.  Start by learning as much as you can about the specific regulations in your state. (A guide to state by state regulation of assisted living facilities is coming soon to this site – check back later.)

Regulations are always online.  Finding the regulations and reading the regulations are one thing.  Understanding their implementation is another.  To help sort out state regulations, attend classes, network with other assisted living providers (see below) and consider hiring a consultant.  Yes, hiring a consultant may cost some extra money but non-compliance with regulations usually costs more.

Is there a need?

Just because you can convert your home into an assisted living home doesn’t mean you should.  Many have spent thousands of dollars, sometimes their life savings to start an assisted living home while many others are already in their market that are half full.  A half full assisted living home normally won’t make you money, it will cost you money – sometimes a lot of it.

Confirm demand in your market by visiting other facilities, talking with local referral sources, and even obtaining a market feasibility study from a qualified consultant.


There are so many resources to help you learn how to convert a house into an assisted living home.  Many are local, or specific to your state.  There are many more than we an list here.  But you can find them by networking with other assisted living providers through trade associations and online communities.  Network with the people you meet to learn how to do it and – just as important – how not do it.

So how do you learn more?  Here’s a list of four resources:

1. ALFA.  The Assisted Living Federation of America is the national trade association of assisted living providers.  Visit their website for a wealth of information and connections to other resources.

2. State associations.  ALFA covers the country but its affiliate organizations in each state will have information applicable to your state.  For a list of those state organizations, following this link.  In my home state, Wisconsin, we have a wealth of information from the Wisconsin Assisted Living Association, much of it applicable to assisted living in any state.

3. Think about buying.  Conversions can be a great idea.  But sometimes, just buying an existing assisted living home will get you up and running right away, with the benefit of training from a prior owner to help reduce risk. (Of course, I’m in the business of helping owners buy and sell assisted living facilities so I’m a bit biased.)

4. Visit this site often.  I am asked questions about building, buying, converting, operating and selling assisted living facilities all the time.  And more answers will be posted here soon.  So come on back or put your name on the email list for the latest news as soon as it’s available.



This post is not intended to provide legal or tax advice, and the information provided is only a limited discussion of the issue.  Please consult with your attorney, CPA or other professional advisor before making business decisions.


  • Mia Boyd says:

    Thanks for the information. It seems like there are quite a few rules that fight turning a normal home into an assisted living center. I think it would be much easier to just take your loved ones to an assisted living apartment. I just want to make sure that my grandma is well taken care of.

  • I’ve really been considering starting an assisted living home. I took care of my dad for several years before he passed away, and it was surprisingly natural for me, and I actually enjoyed it. There are some great tips here that I will definitely use if I decide to go forward with it.

  • Tom Kolb says:

    Hello Mike
    I recently found your blog, i have been taking care of my dad for appx 3 years in my home while working and taking care of my 8 year old son as a single father, i have 2 older son’s off and married.
    i took care of my mom thru cancer until she passed at there home in San Diego.
    i have for a couple years wanted to convert there home into a 6 person facility.
    I have the personality for the Care business and a genuine personal influence.
    The plan is it will help take care of my father and be a business venture for me, and help me to free up some time, i have recently become unemployed from the automotive dealership service business of 25 years, so of course it sounds like the best time to get started.
    Question : Is there a company out there to hire who will assist from ground up in getting the business started?
    I will be hands on of course, however taking care of my son and father limits me at the time. the home is paid off and meets the state requirements in size for 6 person facility, i have taken the RCFE basic certification in state. However i just do not have the time/resources to pull the trigger

    Thanks, Tom.

    • Mike says:

      Tom – Many assisted living providers get their start by helping family members. A very good client of mine named her facility after her mother, who was a resident of the facility until she passed but remains an inspiration for the home today. There are consultants out there but I’m not familiar with any specifically in the San Diego area. With this post we may help find one for you. Or, I’ll let you know if we come across another consultant who can work with you in your area. Mike

  • Susan Jacobs says:

    I would like to learn more about the assisted living program. I found out about when I called about a house for sale and the owner stated that it was an assisted living residence I am going to have a meeting with him soon and would like to learn more before I do. Thank you

  • Imelda says:

    Hello Mike,
    Thank you for the information, I’m also thinking converting my home to RCFE.

    • Mike says:

      Imelda – Good luck using your home for an RCFE. Look into the rules for your state and city. Let us know if you decide to go ahead with the conversion. Mike

  • Stecy says:

    Hi Mike,
    I was thinking of purchasing a second home under the family mortgage opportunity so that my mom who is disabled can live there, but also be able to add 5 more seniors as an assisted living. I live in Colorado, and so far zoning is ok in that neighborhood. What I was asked was: is this a primary residence or an investment property?

    • Mike says:

      If you live in the home full-time and it’s your mailing address for your tax return, I think it will qualify as your primary residence. Most lenders will be fine with that, even if you have people living with you to whom you provide assisted living services. Talk to a banker that does this type of loan to make sure. If you need a lender, just reply and let me know what state you’re in – I should have someone you can talk with.

      • Mike – I have a very similar situation as described above (buying 2nd home ….well actually building it)…Do you have any lenders that would consider a construction-to-perm on a 2nd residence to be used specifically as an Adult Care facility? I live in the Tampa Florida area…Brandon to be exact. Thank you!

        • Mike says:

          Brian – While I haven’t worked with him directly, I’ve been in touch with a lender in Tampa who may be an option for you. I will send you a separate email with the contact info. I hope he can help you get the financing you need for your assisted living and adult care facility. Mike

      • Lindsey says:

        Hi, I’m located in FL and would greatly appreciate an idea of who to contact for loans?

  • Adriano Aschenbrenner says:

    Hey Mike!

    What are your recommendations/experience with turning commercial spaces (apartment buildings, condo complexes) into health-related facilities (assisted living, seniors centres, etc)?

    I’m in Alberta, Canada currently looking at an underperforming condo complex (90 units). Any thoughts on, IF we can buy at a price that the numbers work, what possibilities might we have in this size of space/location?

    Thanks for your time and attention,


    • Mike says:

      Adriano – Condo and other conversions can go very well and turn our extremely profitable, or they can go bust. It depends on several factors, the least of which is usually the low price of the original property. That may sound a bit harsh but I’ve seen a few conversions, including an older school and an older hospital, that both turned into foreclosures after the developer paid virtually $1 for the property. The costs of conversion can turn out to be more than new construction in some cases, and it all hinges on whether there is sufficient demand in the market along with an opportunity to compete effectively with current supply. If the conversion is an apartment building or condo complex that already has quality living spaces, the risk can be greatly reduced. And, in those cases, don’t hesitate giving up some units for common space to ensure that your property has the amenities it needs to compete. That’s my initial reaction, but happy to discuss further or come take a look at your property if you want more help. Mike

      • Adriano Aschenbrenner says:

        Wow, thank you, Mike. I appreciate the honest advice, and even more so the offer to help further. We will take the demand aspect into more urgent consideration, as this week we are comparing similar condo complex opportunities in this local market.

        My philosophy for our team on these larger projects is to have them set up as ‘turn key’ as possible for the end investor (whether individual investors and/or REIT’s). Am I right to assume that, similar to creative residential projects, if the numbers are attractive on several fronts (Cashflow, forced appreciation, existing equity, etc), that the exit strategy “risk” is lessened in the context of ‘investment opportunity demand’?

        Thanks again for your time and attention,


      • Adriano Aschenbrenner says:

        Wow, thank you, Mike. I appreciate the honest advice, and even more so the offer to help further. We will take the demand aspect into more urgent consideration, as this week we are comparing similar condo complex opportunities in this local market.

        My philosophy for our team on these larger projects is to have them set up as ‘turn key’ as possible for the end investor (whether individual investors and/or REIT’s). Am I right to assume that, similar to creative residential projects, if the numbers are attractive on several fronts (Cashflow, forced appreciation, existing equity, etc), that the exit strategy “risk” is lessened in the context of ‘investment opportunity demand’? This (turnkey numbers) is before considering the conversion to healthcare facility.

        Thanks again for your time and attention,


        • Mike says:

          No question that sound market/financial feasibility and anticipated cash flow will lower the exit risk. At the same time, until cash flow is proven, it’s always judged with a high degree of risk. I’ve seen too many projects that look good on paper but never reach expected potential for one reason or another. There is strong investor demand for proven properties, but limited demand from average investors for new developments. Please keep us posted on how it goes. Mike

  • Very good blog post. I definitely appreciate this website. Keep it up! We offer Independent and Assisted Living in surroundings that are elegant, comfortable, and affordable.

  • terry says:

    is this still an active web site

  • Tynesha says:

    Hello I recently brought a five bedroom for an rcfe, my concern is do the hallways and door entrance to all room have to accommodate wheelchairs.

  • Paul says:

    Great post!

    My wife is thinking of converting our 5 bedroom legal duplex (upper/ lower units) into an Independent or Assisted Living community. She has 15 years experience working in the industry. The home she works at is very poorly managed, the work floor is understaffed and the level of care the residents receive is far from what their government subsidies pay for. Working at this home for 9 years my wife has had enough and knows she can do a much better job on her own.

    In your experience is there an opportunity to be profitable with only 5 residents in an Independent or Assisted Living Community?

    We live in Ontario, Canada and she is the primary research stage but this would be an active lifestyle community with all the amenities, meals, activities etc. We anticipate needing 1 full time employee, 2 part-time employees and to utilize our local college for students needing placement hours.

    Any advice or direction to local resources in Ontario would be greatly appreciated.


    • Mike says:

      Paul – You asked if you can be profitable with only five residents. The answer is yes. But, and this is a big but, it’s very difficult to be profitable if you have to hire any staff to work with you, if you have any vacancies or if you put a reasonable price on your own labor. Sometimes the revenue from five residents seems like a lot but the costs add up and it’s not usually as profitable as some people expect. On the other hand, operating a small assisted living facility or home is sometimes a ‘labor of love’ that accepts a small profit or no profit beyond a salary similar to what you might make working for someone else. And then you have to wonder if the responsibility is worth that return on your time and financial resources. I don’t mean to be discouraging and I think you can make it work, but make sure you start with the right expectations. And good luck to you and your wife! Mike

      • Kit says:

        I just closed the 5-bed facility in our home after three years. We had planned on doing most the care ourselves. We learned that there is a much more administrative time required to meet and maintain the mountain of records required for state licensing (Colorado). We had to hire staff beyond our budget to do the care-giving and it ended up being cost prohibitive. We did not want to compromise the quality of individualized, one-on-one care that we wanted to provide.

        • Mike says:

          I’m sorry to hear that you decided to close. Your concern is a common one – that is, running the business side of things can take a lot of time and take you away from your main reason for getting started – caring for residents. We are always looking for ways to help our readers streamline their business, cut through the red tape, and both enjoy and profit from their business. If you have more stories to share from your experience, please comment again – we all appreciate real-world stories of the good and the bad. Thanks. Mike

  • aurora says:

    can me and myfamily live with the residents in a RCFe,? we have a baby

    • Mike says:

      You asked about an RCFE, so I assume you’re in California where assisted living comes in the form of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly. You can review the RCFE regulations at the following link. California RCFE Regulations. But be sure to check with the California Department of Social Services to confirm that you’re reviewing all the applicable regulations. In my experience, owners can live on site but everyone who lives on site with residents may need to qualify with background checks and more – although I’ve never heard about a child living in an RCFE with the owner. Let me know how that works. Mike

  • Nancy Kwan says:

    Hi Mike I live in Toronto and have a senior at home. Owing to her health conditions we need to convert this home to a senior access property. May I know if there is any course and training in U.S. where I can learn how I can technically convert a regular home to a senior accessible home, such as adding hand rails, replacement of a bath tub, install elevator on the stairs, etc.

    I am interested to know more as I can take the course and help other seniors in the community. May I know if any college offer this type of license courses ?

    Thank you.

    • Mike says:

      Nancy – I’m sorry but I don’t know about any specific class to take for converting homes. In part, that’s because every city and state (or province I suppose) have their own regulations and you want to make sure you build in compliance with those regs. I think you’re on to something – there is a need to help people learn the best practices surrounding converting houses into accessible homes for seniors. I’ll keep looking, and please let me know if you find anything. And check back here – this is a topic that I’ll try to address in the future. Mike

  • susan says:

    My idea… open my home to only family and friends to live with us in our golden years. hire help!

    We have 4 bedrooms.. so… four couples or singles… do not want Government intervention. Is this possible.?

    • Mike says:

      Great question. You’ll need to check with your state and local governments to find what is allowed. Some states may regulate that type of arrangement, while some may simply require registration and others may not do anything if it’s also your primary residence. Reply back to this comment with the state where you’re located and we may be able to help more.

      • TANISHA FIZER says:

        Hello Mike,
        My name is Tanisha…. I AM in the process of opening an assisted living home in Baltimore….. I took care of my son for 22 years until he passed away on January 7th of last year. I was wondering could I buy the home with grant money or do I need to buy the home with loans…. This would be my first time buying….

        • Mike says:

          Tanisha – I’m not familiar with any grant programs that you could use to buy an assisted living home. If you find some – please let me know! There are SBA loans and other resources to help finance a high percentage of the cost of an assisted living home but most will require some equity from the borrower and/or proof of some working capital to help get the home started. Talk to some local SBA lenders to find what they can offer. If you have expertise in this area but lack capital, you might also want to team up with someone who has capital but lacks experience. By networking with other assisted living providers informally or through local associations, you may gets some leads on who may be a good ‘partner’. I put that in quotes because there are many ways to work with someone who brings the money, and it’s not always a traditional partnership. If you get to that point and you have questions about arrangements with financial partners, check back here and we’ll try to cover that topic. Good luck! Mike

  • Mercy says:

    I’m a caregiver and I’m considering to start assisted living home. Thanks for the information.

  • M Smith says:

    Great information! Just started thinking in turning my mother’s house into an assistant living but only for 4 residents, that including my mother. Trying to figure out what are the steps to follow and if it will be difficult to find 3 residents to live in the house and be able to fund the overhead.

    • Mike says:

      I’m not sure where you’re located but, in most areas, there are groups of people who operate small and large assisted living facilities. They share information and sometimes help others with the first steps. There are many steps that are common to all facilities, no matter where you’re located. That’s what we talk about here. Your own city may have specific rules that you should look into before taking next steps – does zoning allow this? is a license required? can you qualify for a license? is there demand from other residents? All important questions that depend on where you’re located. Feel free to reply again with your location and we may be able to help some more. Mike

  • Thank for the information. As a real estate investor is good to learn about possibilities on functionality of a rental properties. I’ll have to dig deeper with the state of Florida. But, if you have any more information you could forward I would really appreciate it. Thank you!!!

  • Mildred frederic says:

    hi my name is Mildred and I have A 6 bedroom house I would love to do care in my home can you please help me with that I am in Paulding County.

    • Mike says:

      Hey Mildred – What state? Requirements vary state to state and, to a lesser extent, county to county or city to city within states. We are trying to get guides written for each state and we’re first working on the states our readers are asking about, so please let us know. Thanks. Mike

  • Tim Dowling says:

    What I see on most homes in my area in the convenants and deeds is this statement – All lots within the subdivision are hereby restricted to exclusively single-family use. No lot shall ever be used for a business or commercial purposes. Is this something you see in your area? If so or know of this challenge, how does one get around it beyond getting every resident in a neighbor signing off on the variance?

    • Mike says:

      Hey Tim – You’re right. Zoning restrictions can impose some limits on what you do with a single family home. And, of course, zoning is mostly a local thing so it will vary greatly depending on where you live. However, something you may want to look into is the protection you have from certain Fair Housing laws, federal laws that may come into play and limit what local zoning can actually restrict. Now, please remember, I’m not an attorney and you should check with a qualified local attorney for help on this (that’s an important disclaimer) but for smaller assisted living homes for up to 3 or 4 residents that occupy single family homes with the owner also living on site, the local restrictions may not be applicable because it could be a violation of federal fair housing laws to limit a person’s right to have others live in their home. I’m sure there are well written local zoning ordinances that may still limit this opportunity regardless of federal housing laws, but check with an experienced housing attorney in your area to confirm what you can do. Hope that helps. Mike

  • Cory says:


    I’m in Colorado and my wife and I want to buy a home and turn it into an ALR. We have tons of questions, but first and foremost will be financing. Do you have any recommendations in the Denver, CO area (more specifically Douglas County).

    Also, as far as licensing goes. When do we apply for this? I’d hate to buy a home, remodel it, and furnish it just to get turned down for licensing. But how do they license a home that’s not finished?


  • kadaiza barnes says:

    Please call me I need more info for the Cleveland area

  • Karen McCormick says:

    I want to turn my mom’s five bedroom single family split level home into an elder home.

  • Leon Pelare says:

    Hi Mike,
    we are looking for a house that we will convert it as Carehome RCFE , but my realtor says The minimum property size has to be 1,700 square foot , is that true??? Because the one that im interested is 1,400 square foot house property,
    Thank you and More Power

    • Mike says:

      Leon – Maybe and maybe not. Rules like that vary from state to state and city to city. You are in California? You may want to check with the California Assisted Living Association for information in your state. Also, ask your realtor the source for his or her comment about the minimum size. There may be a local zoning ordinance that is unique to your community. Please reply back and let us know what you find and we will let you know if we come up with something for you. Mike

  • Frank Giarritta says:

    Hi we have an RCFE in California owners are carring our loan ballon payment due now can’t find financing for 300,000 we are Lic. For 3 seniors from 2013 have good credit .what to do

    • Mike says:

      Frank – have you checked with lenders that I work with SBA? That may be a good source to refinance a property where you are already doing business. If that doesn’t work, please check back here with me and I may have some other ideas. Mike

  • Eddie says:

    I would like to start the business by helping elderly. How can I find the existing homes in NJ or NY area?

    • Mike says:

      Eddie – One way is to visit senior care another is to contact local and state trade associations that work with assisted-living providers and ask them if they know of homes for sale. I hope to load another post to this blog soon with a more complete answer to your question. Mike

  • Treneza says:

    Hello I am thinking ok enrolling in a nursing program to become an LPN, then I saw ALF. I was wondering if it was necessary or should I just take the ALF classes. I really want to open a ALF but don’t want to take out student loans if I don’t have to.

    • Mike says:

      Treneza – There are many paths to owning an assisted living facility (ALF). Many come from a healthcare background as LPNs, RNs, CNAs, social workers and related training. Others come from the real estate, hospitality or other industries. All backgrounds and educations can contribute to your success as an owner of an assisted living facility, but I think the most important ingredient is practical experience working in an assisted living facility. I needed to start with that statement, even though it doesn’t directly answer your question about whether to pursue a nursing program or some other ALF training. My answer to that one is — it depends. Having the education necessary to by a LPN is helpful for operating an ALF and, in my opinion, is a good way to give yourself options in the future. It also depends on what type of ALF training or program you are considering – is it something offered by a tech college, a university or some other credible source? Is it a training program with a narrow emphasis on assisted living to help you with the specific issues related to ALFs? All of those might be good but some may provide more value to you personally for the long-run and to you as a soon-to-be owner of an ALF in the short term. One other piece of personal advice – I’d be careful about student loans for anything at this stage if you want to own an ALF in the near future – debt will limit your flexibility when working on a start up ALF. Feel free to reply back to this comment with more details about your training. Others might chime in to share from their own advice, too. Thanks and stay in touch Treneza – Mike

      • Treneza says:

        Thank you so much! That offered so much clarity for me? I live in Pompano Beach do you have any recommendations in my area of good ALF programs. I want to start small with maybe 5 clients preferably Veterans. I also attend the city meetings and the are giving monies for small businesses who work with the youth and elderly. Do you think this is a good source of funding?

        • Mike says:

          Treneza – I would be very interested in learning more about city programs that are giving money to small businesses who work with youth and elderly. That could be a great option for you! Just check to find if there are strings attached – there usually is. Mike

  • Kathy Hanlin says:

    Hi Mike, I live in California and I’ve been a caregiver for over 20 years. I would like to take that next step and open an Rcfe. I have my Administrator license already. I’m thinking about starting it in my own home and taking 4 residents. Once I learn all the ins and outs, purchase another home. Who would you recommend to help me step by step to get my home licensed? I’ve heard hiring a consultant is a waste of money, or could be. I want to do it right the first time and not waste money.

    • Mike says:

      Kathy – Some consultants are probably a waste of money. But others might be worth their fee and more. There have been so many times in my business life that a bit of paid training early in the process could have saved me thousands of dollars in “tuition” from the school of hard knocks. I would check with the California Assisted Living Association (link below) for referrals to consultants who help with licensing. Make sure you connect with a consultant who has experience with your specific situation, and not one who is learning along with you. I know some great consultants who can help with licensing but those I know are in other states. If I get a good referral from you for licensing assisted living facilities in California, I’ll pass it along. For now, start with CALA. Mike

      • Lu says:

        I have a home in Texarkana that was an assisted living home. All the bells and whistles for fire code, handicap accessible, etc. I would love to sell the home for around 200k. Four bedrooms, 3 baths, three living areas , on large acre

        • Lu says:

          The house is in a nice quiet neighborhood and a beautiful yard like a park. Handicapped roll in shower in large bathroom.

  • Kit says:

    I have converted my home into a licensed, 5-bed assisted living residence. We maintain a small apartment (800 square feet) with it’s own entrance in the basement. The entire upstairs (2000 sq ft) is used strictly for business. We separate all expenses except utilities, property insurance, mortgage, depreciation. How can I best file taxes to be able to deduct all our business expenses. I feel my tax man is being too conservative and only allowing a percentage of our massive expenses to be claimed. There are exceptions for business use of a home for daycare so why not assisted living that is 24/7? Can you advise or put me in touch with an accountant familiar with our situation?

    • Mike says:

      My first question is whether you’re claiming the income you receive from residents. I am familiar with some small facilities where the owner also lives in the facility not claiming the income from the facility. If you don’t claim the business income, you can’t really claim the business expenses either. So, check with your tax preparer to find if they’re claiming the income. If you find that they are, then you should be able to deduct the related expenses. You might need to find a new tax preparer with experience with your type of property. Go to the trade association in your state to find a good one. For more on this topic, read one of my past posts here: Mike

  • Fernando says:

    Hi, Mike, I have a three bedroom that I want to convert into a assisted living home , can you please let me know if you can help me on this?
    Thank you

    • Mike says:

      Fernando – I can’t help much besides replying to your questions here – for now anyhow. Please reply back with any specific questions and I’ll do my best to reply. Thanks. Mike

  • Shunta Orange says:

    Interested in converting my home into an Assisted Living Facility email please feel free to contact my with more info I love in Texas thanks

  • Rachel Robertson says:

    Thank you for the interesting article Mike! I have been running my assisted living home of 10 residents in Colorado for 10 years. We have private pay and, in the state of Colorado it is, Medicaid residents. Having a state approved program like Medicaid has been a saving grace for the bad financial times and when you have residents pass away. Depending on private pay is not always the answer. I know a lot about the business if anyone would like to contact me. My name is Rachel Robertson and can be reached at 970-692-3850.

    • Mike says:

      Thanks Rachel. Great comment. I’m thinking about creating a private Facebook group for the many people who visit this site so that everyone can ask questions and share answers from their own experience. Would you be up for that? Anyone else besides Rachel? Please let me know. Mike

  • Jody says:

    I have recently purchased a 5 bedroom 3 full bath home. The floor plan is perfect for a ALF and as we already care for our elderly grandmother with dementia we though let’s start a ALF. My wife is a RN MSN and I’m a LVN so the education is in place. My question boils done to this. At what point do you break even or make a profit in relation to census of you facility. Does three clitents pay the bills or is it more like 5.

    • Mike says:

      Jody – Great question! Break-even census is dependent on many factors. For smaller facilities, the profit is only in the last 10% to 20% of revenue/census. So we often find that it takes 4 or 5 to cover the bills and most of the revenue from the fifth resident may turn into profit. Now that assumes that you’re paying staff to work with you and several other assumptions. Just remember – the bills add up, so create a budget with as much detail as possible so that you go into it with your eyes wide open about the finances. Mike

  • Cecelia Severado says:

    Do you have to own your home for assisted living for elderly.

  • Venessa Campbell says:

    Looking forward for more information turning a home into a assistant living facility.

    • Mike says:

      Me too Venessa! We’re working on it and thanks for the comment – it’s encouraging and keeps up pushing forward to get that out to you all. Mike

  • Joelle L Dodd says:

    I have been a CNA-CHHA and i have worked in all different situations according to my license.
    I live in CAlifornia and want to know if there is a program here in California I can work in my home for a patient

  • stephanie harris says:

    Good Morning,

    we have a 72 unit apartment complex that we want to turn into assist living homes can you tell me the steps i have to take to achieve this.

    • Mike says:

      Stephanie – That’s a big question. There are many steps but I think the first step is confirming the market and financial feasibility of the project. Have you engaged a consultant to provide a feasibility study? For projects of this size, it can be very beneficial. Assuming that you’re comfortable with the market demand and need, that you’ve confirmed the rates you can charge residents and run projections to make sure you have a viable project, then the next step may be considering the physical changes that are needed to your building. There are at least two reasons why the physical structure may need to change: 1) to serve your market better – is there enough common space, is there a commercial kitchen and dining area, etc., and, 2) to comply with regulations – is the fire protection adequate for assisted living regs, is the ADA compliance appropriate, etc. There is a lot more to consider, such as staffing, marketing, operating procedures, but the steps above are probably where you need to start. Keep us posted on how it goes. Mike

  • Vonda Thayn says:

    I’m thinking about turning my home into assist living. I’m caring for my Mother right now. Am I going to have to get certified to care for her.

    • Mike says:

      Vonda – I can’t say for sure but it’s hard to imagine you would need to be certified to care for your own mother. If you started to care for multiple residents or non-family members or you accepted some form of public funding, then you may need to be certified. Mike

  • David says:

    Thank you for the great post.
    We are thinking of moving in to a larger home in our town and turning it in to a 5-6 unit residential care home as extra income. We would like to hire a care giver for daytime hours and we will be there during all other hours. Do you suggest going to the zoning department in the city and asking whether it is allowed? We’re afraid of that ‘no’ answer. If it is, is their something more that we can do about it?

    • Mike says:

      David – I have a few thoughts for you on this. I realize that you don’t want to find that you can’t locate an assisted living home in your location but you’re much better off knowing sooner than later and after you’ve made a large investment to get started at that location. With that said, I’m familiar with some reports that indicate you can’t be prohibited because of local zoning because such a prohibition may be a violation of federal fair housing laws. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know about the specific details for your location but I would guess that you should be fine with a smaller residential care home. Just make sure by checking with local officials first! Good luck and let us know how it turns out. Mike

  • Resa McLaughlin says:

    Question::::In Mn.are you allowed to have a two person assisted living program in one unit of a duplex be it side by side or up n down?

    • Mike says:

      Resa – Maybe. It depends on where you’re located and what the local or state regulations say in your area. It looks like you’re in Minnesota. Leading Age Minnesota is the trade association that works with assisted living providers in your state. They might be the best source of information to answer your question. If they can’t help you, check back here and we will try to find some other resources or ask our audience here. Here’s a link: Mike

  • sudhir bharij says:

    Hi Mike
    I would like to know if I convert my four bedrooms detach home 3200 SFT in Brampton Ontario into retirement group home for my income and I have one bedroom finished basement for my stay.We are only two persons me and my wife it is a big house for us and we are close to our retirement.I need to know,Is government is going to help us for renovation according to their need. please inform me how much I will get the income after all expenses. thanks sudhir bharij

    • Mike says:

      Sudhir – You asked some very good questions. First, will government help with the cost of renovation? I’m not certain about your community in Canada but I would be very surprised if they provide direct funding for renovating your home to use for assisted living. If you find they do, please report back here to let us know. Second, you asked how much income to expect after paying expenses. It’s hard to say specifically in your case. But here is how I would help find out in your market – 1) look for similar homes in your area and find out how much residents normally pay per month – your income will likely be similar; 2) with a four bedroom assisted living home, you can project your expenses almost in the same way a family of 5 or 6 prepares their budget – look at things like utilities, insurance, food, maintenance and similar items, along with payroll and related taxes and costs for any additional help you plan to hire; 3) consider your income minus your expenses to come to some conclustion about how much net income you should expect going forward. One more piece of advice, I would build in a vacancy factor of at least 10% on your income and a contingency for unbudgeted (and unexpected) expenses of about 10% of revenue, too. I hope that helps you answer your questions. Mike

  • Lisa says:

    Hi my name is Lisa. I have a 5 possible 6 bedroom house pending I put in an egress window in the “bedroom” down stairs. I would like to possibly turn it into a assisted living and or independent living home for the elderly and or disabled. I live in Missouri in the Kansas City metropolitan area… I am currently a home owner don’t want to sell my home but I do want to possibly go over the road and do some truck driving. I am a parent of a special needs child and would be taking him with me if I do so. I’m not worried about making money much at all but making sure the mortgage is paid and the clients are given the best care or assistance possible… I just need help with ideas and some guidance if this is a doable thing for me.

    • Mike says:

      Lisa – It sounds like you would like to use your home for assisted living but not stay involved in the day to day operations. It may be helpful for you to connect with some other local assisted living facilities that want to expand and talk with them about leasing your home. There are many local trade associations that connect assisted living providers – that may be a good place to start looking for an operator who wants to help you turn your house into an assisted living home. Mike

  • I am interested in buying a living home facility in Los Angeles ca.

    • Mike says:

      Reyna – We’ll make a note of your interest in buying an assisted living facility in LA. And others who visit this site might have some ideas for you too. Mike

  • nick shreli says:

    Hey Mike-
    Hope youre well…Great site. Kudos on all the hard work. Im based in Metro Detroit- Anything or anyone here in the region you could direct me to? I have the capital-financing just want to start small get some points on the board before taking on to big of a project.

    • Mike says:

      Hey Nick – You want to buy in the Detroit area? Yes, we may have something for you. I’ll ask someone from my team to get in touch with you. Mike

  • ruben salazar says:

    this idea has been on my mine too. I live in texas could you help on how to tell this to a realtor.or how to go about it.i,ve been a caregiver for over 20 years.thanks.

    • Mike says:

      Ruben – If you’re interested in purchasing an assisted living facility and want a local realtor to help you find one, we may be able to help connect you with someone who has experience with that type of property. Please reply back and let us know what city or market area you’re in and we’ll try to help you get connected. Mike

      • melissa mcintosh says:

        I would be interested as well in finding a realtor that’s familiar with this process. I reside in Baltimore Md.

  • N says:

    I want to convert my home into assisted living for my mother

  • andrea fields says:

    Thanks for the wealth of information you provide please keep me informed on getting and starting a facility.

  • Kevin Sabatino says:

    Good info here. I’m trying to figure out how to make my house in zone to convert it to a small 6 person ALF. I live in Florida and I called my local city zoning department and they explained to me my house is not in zone. Any way of pushing to make my house in zone?? Thanks for any help!

    • Kevin Sabatino says:

      By the way I’d like to join a Facebook group if you start one!

    • Mike says:

      Kevin – Every city is a bit different and some are more flexible than others. You may want to consider getting in touch with a real estate attorney with experience in this area. Requesting a conditional use permit or similar authorization is normally possible but it’s tricky – I’d seek out local, professional help as the best course of action. If you want to save some money, you might also want to connect with others in your area who have converted a single family home to an ALF and simply ask who they worked with to get approval. Obviously, it may be better to ask someone who isn’t going to become too much of a competitor if you want some help but many in assisted living are very helpful with others in the same business. That’s a reason to look into joining a state or local assisted living trade association as a great resource for networking and finding those who may have answers to your local questions. If I were to consult with you, that’s probably where I would begin my own research to help you find a solution. Good luck – and please reply back to let us all know how it’s going. Mike

  • melissa mcintosh says:

    Hi Mike

    Your website has been very insightful. I am following up to see if you have posted the state by state regulations for facilities, particularly pertaining to the purchase of SFHs? I’ve contacted the zoning office here in Maryland, both city and county, who stated zoning permits are for 4-bed occupancy. My other question is regarding a commercial loan or residential. I’ve done some reading and that is a very thin line. What are your thoughts on this matter? Finally, any recommendations on consultants in my state? Thank you.

    • Mike says:

      Melissa – Residential loans are probably easier to work with and will generally give you lower cost and longer terms. But, as you may have found, the residential loan application process may ask if you will occupy the house and if you will use it for non-residential or business purposes. Your intended use may disqualify you from some residential loans but talk to a knowledgeable local mortgage broker who can help you navigate the process. Or, turn to a small business banker that will work with you on a commercial loan. The costs may not be much more and could be the best (or only) path forward to finance your home. Mike

  • Mayra hernandez says:

    I have a home in Arleta 3 bd /2bath,
    I’m interested in turning it into an assist living home.
    I got this idea years ago, and after caring for my father, I decided I wanted to do it. But I have no idea where to start

  • Carlos Pelaez says:

    I bought a home that was an Alf for veterans, I went to the city to find out if the location was still avail to start a new Alf…city said they would only tell me if a paid a 507.00 fee just to tell me…is there another way to find out with paying that fee???…thks Carlos

    • Mike says:

      Carlos – That sounds really strange. I would understand if you were making an application for a rezoning or a permit to allow an assisted living facility but it sounds like you just want to know if assisted living is an approved use at a certain location. Perhaps you need to ask them another question and that is ‘what is the zoning at 123 Main Street (your location) and what are allowed uses of properties with that zoning?’. They will probably refer you to something online or some other written materials at their office but that may help with your answer. My guess is that your location requires a conditional use permit and the process with your city includes an application fee of $507, which makes sense because the city will need to do some work to make that change for the location. Another question for you is whether you need to get permission at all – in some cases, a smaller home for assisted living is just another residential home. As long as you don’t exceed a certain number of unrelated adults in the home and don’t put up a sign or do anything that changes the character of the home to the neighbors, then you may not need to do anything at all. Please note – I said you “MAY NOT” need to do anything. Just to be clear, I’m not sure and only guessing about your situation. You still need to confirm the rules in your city and possibly talk with a local real estate professional for some help since I don’t know where you’re located or the specifics of your situation – sorry, I need to throw in that disclosure once in a while on free advice that I provide here. Good luck Carlos and please reply back to let us know how your situation turns out. Mike

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