Art Institute Duplex Manifesto

rich jessieWhittier is at the top of our list of 'best places to collect rent checks.'  Rich and Jessie agree as they approach their 1900 built MCAD neighboring victorian duplex: this one is the college fund, the forever hold, update, and live vicariously through your artistic and hipster tenants in the famed "art ghetto" as designer, Jennifer Jorgensen so fondly refers to Whittier. Roger Pare, the former eclectic owner, did exactly that.  Purchasing the building in 1987, he enjoyed 27 years of operating this historic home nestled within Eat Street and art academia.  An initial investment of $67,000 is now free and clear thanks to his management and 27 years of rent collection.

Rich and Jessie are fired up to step into this Victorian Wanderlust and tighten her up a little, ok maybe a lot!   Rich has already started pre closing:  exterior trim restoration, window sill replacement and interior wall repair, all in the name of satisfying those discerning FHA appraisers in the coming week.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.48.24 PMWhile terrific overall and in photos, 1900 duplex was passed upon by many, likely for its exterior needs with trim restoration, the original maple flooring is badly in need of a full revival spa treatment, and lastly the paint scheme in the upper unit is nothing short of the 'electric Koolaid acid test.'

The marketplace for multi-units is thick with investment demand, so, we strive to find wrinkles in the inventory that will deter investor demand.   The most common deterrent is below market rents, which tends to occur to most long time building owners.   As length of ownership and age increase, a shift occurs from cash flow to time.   The trade off of less management time for elder landlords equates to below market rents, and often a building in need of an abundance of cosmetic attention including hardwoods, millwork, lighting, kitchen and baths.  Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.48.50 PMThe Front porch is a strikingly peaceful space to rock, read and enjoy the constant action of Whittier and its community garden across First Avenue.  Roger the seller, elected to leave the porch furniture which is a statement of their emotional tie to the building and its history.  Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.48.58 PMVictorian era pillars divide the common areas: formal living room, sitting room off the entry, and the dining room.   The expansive tall radiators are asking for a re-coat in gloss enamel, while the two inch maple floors will gleam with a bright refinish of 'waterborne traffic.'   The relocation of drapery rods will complete the facelift, as millwork from this era should never host the screws of a rod from any retailer!

Once the surfaces are refinished and the design scheme is simplified, the charisma of the building will become the focal point of the space, which is our approach to every early century restoration.  Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.49.19 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.49.28 PMThe impressive scale of the units in Whittier will be apparent once Rich and Jessie complete their revival.   The return on their sweat equity and design panache will be received within the first 36 months of ownership.   The true redeeming feeling is securing that first tenant that comprehends and appreciates the pride in workmanship that you place into your investment.  Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.49.41 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.49.50 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.49.59 PMThe kitchens in Whittier offer a huge canvas for updating.   This is likely something that will occur once the balance of other building improvements are completed.   Kitchen and bath remodels have a direct correlation to income potential, however they are second to structure necissities in this case.  (gutters, grading, attic insulation, trim replacement) Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.50.15 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.50.29 PMWe will continue to update the 'after' photos of Rich and Jessie's Whittier revival as they work toward a Fall closing and the first Winter of rental income!

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