Need help analyzing this duplex deal

2 Replies

I'm in escrow for a cute little duplex in Tacoma. This is officially my FIRST real estate transaction. Its a 2 bedroom on top and a studio on the bottom. I think I have opportunity for forced appreciation because the lower studio unit has tons of underutilized space and I can possibly create two bedrooms down there. Also the rent for both units was way too low for that area. They were charging $450 for the studio and I charge $783 for studios at the building I manage and that is a 60% low income tax credit property. The 2 bedroom unit is currently rented for $750 and that included utilities which are $484 per month. In my building we charge $929 for 2 bedrooms and they don't get a yard, washer & drier in the unit or a parking spot. Also I checked craigslist for 2 bedroom houses for rent in that zip code and found that they range from $1200-$2000. This house has a huge fenced yard with a vegetable garden. When looking at the layout of the neighboring homes I see that the land I'm getting with this house actually could be split into two lots. All the adjacent properties have two homes on that same amount of land. This means someday if I wanted to I could potentially build a second duplex.

I have an FHA loan so I need to owner occupy until I can refinance. I think I'm going to take the studio and while I live there build out the under used space and rent the upstairs for $1200.00. I have an apartment at the building I manage so for 7 days out of the month I could stay there and rent out the studio on airbnb to bring in some extra cash. That is why I'm figuring on $2040 monthly income. I didn't factor this into the deal analysis but I am also going to rent out one of the bedrooms of my apartment (in the building I manage) which will get me to the househacking goal.

Apartment rent (after roommate pays) ($177)
Apt utilities -30
House 2 bd rental income $1,200
House studio airbnb potential ([email protected]$120) 840
House utilities 1/3 of $484 -161.32
mortgage -1450
Potential profit: $222 

Here is the deal analysis on the Bigger Pockets calculator for buy and hold:

I already had the inspections done. Sewer scope came up perfect. Home inspection only had minor things which my realtor has just asked the seller to handle (pending response):

Items To Be Addressed:

1. There are several areas of moisture damaged wood on the exterior siding/trim that need to be repaired/replaced. This will prevent further damage or attracting wood destroying organisms. 2. Carbon monoxide alarms are missing. As of January 1, 2013 state law requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in all residences when they are sold. They are required within 10 feet of all bedrooms, and one per habitable floor. 3. Recommend installing proper rain caps/spark arrestor's over all exposed chimney flue's. 4. The TPR valve drain line should terminate no more than 4 to 6 inches off of a concrete floor, or terminate to the exterior when surrounding materials could be damaged if failure occurred. The TPR valve drain line may also be missing, and the wrong size pipe is used in the drain line. (water heater)  5. Recommend maintenance painting on all exterior trim and siding where it is peeling, or there is no paint present. 6. Recommend a licensed contractor further evaluate the drywall on the south basement living room wall for moisture damage, and insect damage. The wall cavity may need to be opened, and their main be repairs needed on the wall framing. 7. Although not required when the house was built, it is recommended that outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, garage is, and on the exterior of the house be GFCI protected. Recommend upgrading outlets to GFCI outlets in these areas. 8. There are several ungrounded three prong outlets in the home. They need to be changed back to two prong outlets, or upgraded to GFCI outlet. 9. Recommend installing a working bathroom exhaust fan in both units. 10. The house is equipped with a federal Pacific electrical panel (FPE). These panels have had several safety issues in the past and need to be further evaluated by a licensed electrician. They will recommend repair or replacement if needed. 11. Recommend repairing loose toilet on the second floor, and repairing the plumbing leaks on the basement bathroom sink valve stems. 12. Recommend repairing the cracks in the shower wall and caulking maintenance in the shower.

13. The basement shower stall and plumbing fixtures were in in poor condition and should be replaced. 

Here are my questions: 

1) Do I have a deal? 
2) What advice do you have based on what I've told you I plan to do? 
3) What potential problems am I possibly not seeing? 
4) How difficult would it be to have the utilities separately metered? 
5) How much would it cost and how difficult would it be to have an old oil furnace removed? It's not being used at all and just taking up space. I want to keep the duct-work in case I need it later. 

Thanks for reading all of that!! 

This post has been removed.

@Angela Jossy

I cannot believe no one else has posted a reply.  This is quite unusual for BP.  I see a couple red flags on this.  But first things first.

1) You see potential value adds.  That is a huge, awesome thing to find in  real estate deals.  I congratulate you on good analysis.

2) The utilities for this building are outrageous.  It is a small house, and should not be going through $484.00 in heat, electric, and water.  Something is very wrong.  I have a 2700 square foot house in Minnesota that bills much less than 1/2 of that.

Red Flags

1) This property has a lot of deferred maintenance.  The low rents are usually a sign that this is occurring.  

2) Three prong ungrounded outlets.  This is another indication that the previous owner was doing 'home brew' maintenance.  I've been working with my electrician for a couple years, and I know how to legally ground three prong outlets.  While it is not difficult to do, it would take time.

3)  Your trying to comp to 2 bedroom houses that are not duplexes.  Cannot do that.  Those are entire houses, and have a higher rent premium.  Your house has a tenant neighbor that the renter cannot be separated from.

4)  You assume you can subdivide your lot.  Check local zoning codes.  If this property is zoned as residential, SFDU only, then the duplex could be illegal.  If it is zoned for max of two units, you cannot build a second duplex.

5)  A $222.00 cash flow will be hindered by all the required cap ex maintenance.  You haven't factored in any ongoing maintenance, or maintenance you need to do just to bring this up to code.

6) It appears you haven't factored vacancy.  I would factor 5% of gross receipts for vacancy.

I would pass, and look for a better deal.  Your analysis and attention to detail is good.  Give yourself a pat on the back, and find a better one.  

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