Buy Craftsman Illegal Split in 'historic neighborhood'?

7 Replies

Hi there, I'm looking to buy a 'triplex' in a trendy part of LA that I otherwise would NEVER be able to afford. I'm curious, is it because the agents are incompetent? Or because it's a 'Historic Neighborhood' with a Craftsman home that's been split down the backside to make an illegal studio out of part of the main house. The other 2 legal units are horribly laid out and it'd need more reno $$ than I have to get market rates right away, but it'd at least be able to cover piti and SOME fix/contingency costs in the meantime.

My question is, is the fact that it's a 'Historic Neighborhood' and a Craftsman home scaring people away? Should it scare me away? For my program I have to live in a unit, and I plan to live in the illegal one until I save enough money to be able to convert it back and renovate, and get enough rent to re-fimove out - or preferably sell if that area goes up as much as predicted.

Help! This would be my first 'deal', and I feel like I know just enough to potentially get myself into a bad first buy =/

Never invest in a "historic" property. It is not conducive to investing due to the restrains placed on the property by the community. Every thing you do will be controlled by the rules and will be very costly. You can expect the cost to be twice that of a standard investment. 

Do not invest in "historic". This would not be a bad first buy it would be terrible.

How you planning on dealing with the appraisal when I'm assuming will come back with repairs needed that probably won't be cheap. I'm also assuming the owners probably don't care to make them and the quality of work in house is probably questionable at best.

Hi both, that is my fear, that I don't know what 'historic' entails, however, that ENTIRE area is 'historic', so if I want to invest there (and it's already gentrifying like crazy) that's what's required. Are you saying the 'historic' is more costly than the 'craftsman' aspect?

You need to know if there are historic area regulations with which you need to comply. If there are, it can be extremely difficult and costly to do so.

The bottomline is the figures, “costly” is just a rehab number. I don’t see it as a problem. If there are regulations, then just follow them. This is where separation of real contractors vs “handyman with a license” in the residential sector. This also separates an investor from the others. Normally the city will just require you to keep the outside looks the same, they don’t really care about the inside, and I said “normally”.