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Kingfield Lovers, in a Duplex

Kingfield Lovers, in a Duplex

img_9172 Neil & Sidney are live on Pillsbury in Kingfield!   Doing what all young couples should do:  LOVE IN A DUPLEX!   Earning rental income, while Ruby their newborn, the little future operator is just begginning to get her bearings.

Sid and Neil fell in love at U-W-Madison, and relocated to Minneapolis after college.  Multi-units in Madison, condos in Chicago, an urban row-home in Kingfield,  density was no stranger to their style of living since college. Their rental in Minneapolis was a modern townhome at 35th and 1st Ave, just steps from the Hola/Pats/Rare Form corner.

This urban life, enriched with local business, young energy and great walkability, became the top of their criteria when looking for their first home.


Having no prior notions of investment property, we met at Pats Tap to discuss, and quickly realized that we share a love of bourbon and vinyl.

Neil and Sidney arrived with form organization of pre-printed MLS listings to discuss, we used them as talking points, and quickly transitioned to actual market conditions and strategy for investment.


A cohesion of planning, fiscal goal setting, and risk aversion is needed when buying a duplex with your loved one.  Neil and Sid below reflect on how quickly it happened, and how little you can "plan" when competing in the south mpls landscape.  They made the conscious decision to decide on multi-units, and within days the Pillsbury building came live.  img_9463


The financials on their FHA purchase allowed much flexibility over the single family route.   Total payment on this duplex landed at 2700, rental market supporting 1600 for their lower unit.  This left them with a housing expense of 1100 per month, in the heart of Kingfield.

The course of action for their stay includes updating both units starting with bathroom remodels, updating to the condition of the paint and wall coatings and woodwork.  This winter they have their in-laws moving in below them, creating a lovely built-in sitter for Ruby and no concerns on the rental side of things.


Our first tour encompassed four to five classic homes east of Lake Harriet to 35.   I always enjoy applying a "button-hook" to the end of the home tour, to offset the planner mindset and keeping things flowing naturally breaking the hyper focused mindset.

This surprise property to end the tour ended up being a large unkept duplex on Grand Ave.   We were running late, as many home tours do, this allowed us to meet the current main floor tenants.  It was this walk through, along with a thorough break-down of the fiscal benefits by Paris, that forever turned the focus to owner occupant duplex.


One immediate item untaken was the celebration of the american radiators, and wall vents throughout the upper unit.   Industrial enamel was applied with a HVLP sprayer in multiple light coats.

Lighting was replaced throughout their upper unit prior to move-in, including complete wall restoration, millwork and enamel to the radiators.   They are following the model of investing heavily in the front end, to ensure the management side of things down the road runs proficiently.

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Duplexes in this condition always require an aggressive stance to win first position.   We knew multiple offers would arrive in short order, the pole-position was achieved by writing the offer clean without any inspection contingency.   This did secure victory, and the thorough condition of the building made it easier to grasp the as-is finality of our offer.

Following the signing of the agreement we scheduled Gary Brown at Inspection Solutions to complete a thorough 6 hour assessment of the structure and all systems.  The resulting items were commonplace amongst vintage homes:  lack of modern attic insulation, ancient boilers that will run as long as you maintain them, and poorly installed shower windows that should be removed when tile surrounds are updated.


In our post purchase recap, advice given to the rare form community was quiet interesting.   First off- a key to multi-units is removing all emotion Neil said.  Secondly it is possible to make a sound investment in a property that also serves the needs of a future family.

Neil and Sid did have extremely great experiences with our trade referrals:  Ben at Rare Form Paint completed a majority of their upper unit facelift and was OCD in his scope of finish per usual :)

Paris Alves did a remarkable job talking them through the outward returns on a duplex, over the course of 5-10 years, giving them piece of mind on the strategy with investing in the property prior to positioning their equity for refinance.


Some of the adjustments Neil and Sid have made since the move-in include becoming accustom to sharing common areas including the deck, green-space and laundry.

Their course moving forward includes climbing the ladder of equity one rent check at a time, and awaiting the continued market improvements in Kingfield, allowing them to complete a refinance and move forward to a stately classic foursquare somewhere around the creek and lakes area of Minneapolis.img_9449 img_9433

The Lexington, a 1912 Victorian Three Flat

The Lexington, a 1912 Victorian Three Flat

1928 Kingfield Craftsman Duplex

1928 Kingfield Craftsman Duplex