It’s old news that Americans are a long way from saving enough for retirement. How to fill the income gap in retirement is a never-ending quest. Is investing in a multifamily residence a viable alternative for generating an income stream?

It can be a very smart move to augment income in retirement, says Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM 180, an online financial planning service.

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She points to benefits in addition to an income stream. “If a rental property is also your primary residence, a portion of your home mortgage interest is tax-deductible — this is a benefit that doesn’t apply to a separate rental property.”

Also, putting some or all of the rental income into mortgage prepayments before retirement means having little or no mortgage to worry about when you do retire.

But for all the upsides, there are other considerations.

Expect to get your hands dirty. “I think it is only a good investment for retirees if they have a property manager of if they own as part of a group or REIT [real estate investment trust]. Owning a multifamily building is not for the faint of heart,” says Greta Pryor, a commercial real estate broker with Rutenberg in Manhattan.

Be clear about the benefits. Cautions Alan Rosenbaum, CEO and founder of GuardHill Financial Corp. in Manhattan, “Investing in a multifamily property makes more sense if you can use it advantageously to save on taxes. At retirement age, you don’t need a tax shelter. It is too risky for a retiree if the market heads south. Retirees are better off with the liquidity of cash to live off of.”