BUILDING WEALTH THROUGH REAL ESTATE
With Greta Pryor, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson from our West Side Office
Several years ago, while visiting my brother in Baltimore, we were driving around looking at houses and I found out that you could buy an entire house for as little as $2500. I was “intrigued” since I knew that I’d never be able to buy anything in New York City for that amount of money. Since I had renovated apartments before, I thought how hard could it be to renovate an entire house?
A few months later, my brother saw a foreclosed house in his neighborhood that he thought would be a good “starter project” for me. He sent me some photos, and even though the house needed a great deal of TLC, it didn’t scare me away. I bought the little 900sf two bedroom townhome for $21K. (Disclosure: I did research comps in the area first in order to recognize that this was a deal, in spite of the problems.)
Two weeks later, I finally went to see my purchase. My brother, as he so often does, “forgot to mention” that the house had NO ROOF AT ALL, just blue sky above (and occasionally rain and the other elements). My first thought was “what have I done?”
To make a long story short, the house was my personal money pit during the 22 months that I owned it. It needed everything, and it taught me a lot about owning and renovating a building. But after many cuts, bruises, three sets of contractors, and a near gas explosion, I finished it myself, made a respectable profit, and set a new comp in the neighborhood. I loved that little house despite all the pain it caused and I fell in love with real estate in the process.
I’m now working on my third property, a multi-family in a historic district that is a migraine headache compared to the first house. But that first house gave me the seed money to do the second house, and the rest is history.
Maybe you are not in a position to buy that $2 million dollar condo that you saw on the upper west side just yet. But you might be able to afford that $35K studio in an up-and-coming area of Queens, or that $45K one bedroom co-op in the Bronx that you can fix up and sell at a profit, or keep and earn rental income. Real estate can be the gift that keeps on giving.
Don’t be afraid of a property with a few problems, but know your limitations. While I wouldn’t recommend that you buy a house with no roof, dirty carpeting can be thrown away, and a fresh coat of paint can be transformative. If you are purchasing a property to live in, don’t be afraid of “the ugly”! I’ve made money by taking on renovations that other people ran away from.
Lastly, like playing the stock market, don’t invest money that you cannot afford to lose. Evaluate a prospective property carefully; research what similar properties are going for in the area, and how much they can command in rental income or on a resale. The worse thing you can do is over improve a property and have to sell at a loss later, or over price it and it sits on the market, costing you more money every month.
I enjoy working with first time buyers as well as seasoned investors that own multiple residential and commercial properties. Please feel free to contact me via the email address on my agent profile if you’d like to discuss the future purchase of home, a building, or even vacant land. Let me find that “diamond in the rough” for you!
To work with Greta or learn more about her click here.
Thoughts of Building Wealth Through Real Estate are those of Greta Pryor and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC