Question about a first property

8 Replies

Hi. I'm fairly new to real estate investing- I've been doing my research and I'm looking to buy soon. For my first property I'm planning on buying a triplex, living in one unit and letting the other two pay the mortgage and eventually expanding from there. I've found a house I like in an area I really like and I've been preapproved for a mortgage. Except when I took a closer look at the history I realized the house has been sitting on the market for a long time- 18 months, it was actually de-listed and then relisted in that time frame. This is a very stable and competitive market- good houses sell within days of being listed.

I walked through the property once- needs some cosmetic updates, new carpeting, wall paper taken down, ideally redo the kitchen in the one unit. A few minor fixes like the hand railing on the front steps needs re-anchored. Yes, obviously I would get a home inspection done to look for major problems.

This property has a lot of good things going for it (like tons of off street parking!) and as of right now 2 out of 3 units are rented but I'm a little worried as to why it has been sitting so long. Should I walk away or use this to my advantage and try to negotiate a killer deal?

@Beth Blank Welcome to BP!  There's a wealth of information here and an incredible network that I'm sure you'll find useful. 

Since it's on the market it doesn't hurt to ask the listing agent - I'm sure they can start to tell you a little bit about why it's been on so long. In their eyes they just want to get rid of it at this point.

It could be price, location, some hidden major issue (foundation problem etc) but knowing what it is will definitely help to negotiate a good deal that the seller is willing to take. 

Are all triplexes selling quickly? You don't want to compare this house to a SFR. Most people aren't real estate investors and could be the reason it has sat.

hi beth, i agree with bruno. i wouldn't run away just because you think there may be an issue you are not seeing. there could be lots of reasons it has been on the market that long. first thing you need to do is ask the realtor why it has been on that long. who knows if you would get the right answer or not, but its better than no answer. i agree you need to have a home inspector look at it, if for no other reason, just to see if there is a hidden problem. if you are pre-approved, your bank will most likely want you to get a home inspection anyway. pittsburgh is not that far from me and i am a licensed home inspector here in the buffalo, ny area. although i am not licensed to work in  pittsburgh, i would be happy to look at it for you and give you a full report on what i have found. please contact me if you are interested. and again, i wouldn't write it off until you are absolutely sure that there is a huge reason it has sat so long

Great! Thanks for the welcome! I'm excited to learn from everyone's experiences and start this new adventure.

@Bruno C. Thank you for the advice, I think I will give the listing agent a call and see what she has to say. 

@Tracie Davis Actually I was referring to rental properties, good triplexes and duplexes are selling faster than SFR's because there is such a strong rental market in this area. It's going to be tough to fight my way in- I put an offer in on a triplex that had been on the market less than a week but the seller received a better offer and went with that. Then a gorgeous duplex popped up for a good price and it was sold in just a little over a week. There's been at least two other triplexes that I was interested in that sold quickly but I wasn't in a position to make an offer at the time. That's why I'm a little concerned as to why no one is jumping on this one- like maybe they know something I don't? But I guess the only way to find out is to investigate.

@Mark Elliott Thanks. I think I will take a closer second look. I'm hoping its just the cosmetic work that's scaring people away- since two of the units are already rented I could be working on the third right now, ripping down the wall paper, new carpet, etc. I appreciate your offer to help! I'll let you know. Thanks.

@Beth Blank welcome to BP. There are a wealth of reasons it could be on the market for so long, one I don't think people talk about much is the cascading effect of it being on for a week then 2 then people start to wonder why it's been for sale for so long so they don't look at it and then the cycele repeats. 

I would also tell the sellers agent you're getting an inpection so if they know of a glaring problem it would be great if they could just tell you up front and potentially save you the money. 

Good luck. 

@Jeb Brilliant I'm hoping its something like that, this property has a lot of good things going for it and I'm not quite ready to give up on it yet.

I must say its very refreshing to talk to people who are so positive and supportive. Pretty much all of my friends and family say the same thing "don't do it!" And then they proceed to tell me about all the horror stories they've ever heard about real estate investing and bad tenants!! 

I say you only regret the chances you DON'T take!!

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