New Orleans Doubles…Double the Profit, Double the Fun!
Due to the generous increases in New Orleans property values over the last few years, Bobby and I suddenly find ourselves with a ridiculous amount of equity in our Cotton Mill corporate rentals – and a line of credit on that equity to purchase more real estate. I feel like a kid in a candy store! An artist with a blank canvas! We’ve decided to find just the right double, and do our thing again.
Our “thing” is working together to create a little masterpiece. He with his beautiful renovations, me with my own twist on furnishing and decorating the perfect corporate rental. And a New Orleans double seems exactly the right venue for the new project.
We are in the (very) early phases of researching just the right property, but we’ve learned a few things already. Doubles can be found throughout ALL areas of the city in various states of repair, but a surprising number are really affordable due to transitioning neighborhoods around them. Some of them are an investors dream. Many already have rental income, even with lots of repair work still needed. Some are gutted, re-wired and re-plumbed, ready for a “flipper” or investor to come along and work his magic.
Others are already nicely renovated. The problem is, will the neighborhoods catch up to the new standards being showcased in these homes? Some will, some will not. It’s the investor’s job to figure out which are which.
In our particular situation, we have decided that we can’t move ahead in an area that is still considered “blighted” or “in transition.” Our corporate clients are new to the city and wary of buildings that look vacant and blocks of homes that are being remodeled. We will look for a more “polished” surface for our purposes.
Still, every time I cruise another street in Broadmoor, the Ninth Ward, Central City… everywhere we look… saws are screaming, hammers and banging, shingles are flying. Good for us, New Orleans. We’re coming back so strong!
So back to our personal search for the perfect double. I ran an MLS search with prices on multi-family units from $0 – $325,000. I got 72 results. Of them, I narrowed the search down to about 12 and did some drive-bys. Eliminated all but five. What I’m really hoping to do is take a raised basement double and convert to a four-plex. I’m not sure how hard it will be to get a zoning variance, but I’m looking into it. I’m also finding a few in Broadmoor that can be perfect upscale furnished rentals.
So far, we’ve made no offers, but we’ll find the right one soon. There are ample doubles on the market, and I’ve honed our goals down to a simple list of criteria. For those who want a vacation or second home, these are good guidelines for you, too. With these things in mind, you can create your own haven in New Orleans, and enjoy great income on the second side of the double, plus rent your own unit while you’re away.
We are seeking:
1. A double that is NOT shot-gun style, has high ceilings and historic features (New Orleans charm), possibly has a raised foundation with basement below. (The lower units could be finished out to double the square footage of the home, thereby creating equity by creating more square footage).
2. A property with a very small (or no) yard, for courtyard-like landscaping and no need for lawn maintenance.
3. A property in an area with little to no construction or blighting, that gives an appearance of stability and safety to our guests. We’re not afraid of a complete renovation, as long as it’s just our property in need of work.
4. A property that needs less than $100k in improvements to be ready-to-rent.
So… I’ll update the blog as things progress and let you know what we’ve found and how the project is going.
Meanwhile, I’ve been glued to my notebooks for landscaping and furnishing/decorating ideas. This is my favorite part of acquiring a new property. Bobby loves to find one he can fix and sell- I like to find one I can love like my own for a while, create a beautiful space, then invite people in to stay for a while… hopefully, our “double-to-keep” will be another success story.
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