Rentals in Lents neighborhood of Portland?

25 Replies

I recently bought and rehabbed a 50's ranch (SFR) right near Eastport Plaza / Marshall High. Currently living there since that's what the bank wants, but the plan is to turn it into a rental after my year-long tenure is up. Also plan to rent space to a tiny house or two in the back. (Lot is double sized.)

Are you planning on buying in Lents @Tara Ballenger ? I feel like in the triangle closer to Foster in the 70's is a more happening spot than where I am, south of Powell between 82nd and the freeway.  Lots of development on Foster.  It's not going to be the same in 2-5 years.  

Account Closed it's time we have another happy hour and catch up. I'll email you :) 

I am keeping my eye on Lents. I'm looking to buy new primary, convert legal max sqft (800 of an 1900+ sqft home) to legal ADU, live in the adu for awhile, then buy a new primary and rent both units. Then rinse/repeat. Lents is one neighborhood I have my eye on... wondering about finding quality renters in that neighborhood. $/sqft is pretty good there, once you exceed 2,000 sqft.

Also interested in Powellhurst Gilbert and Glendoveer - they are quaint and serene, but they will never be walkable. Commercial zones aren't really there. 

I'm not in that area but nearby-ish in Centennial and Rockwood. Value add with inherited tenants can be rough due to the new ordinance, (makes it difficult and/or expensive to get the bad ones out) but once they are out there are still good people to rent to. We've found a pool of renters moving out of the higher priced areas into more affordable homes in locations they wouldn't have considered a few years ago. Values are still relatively low in those areas and rents are still increasing, so the numbers make sense if you buy right. 

@Zach Davis You bring up a good point in getting bad tenants out. I think more people need to add the cost of relocation fees into their upfront budget and immediately rip the bandaid. 

The housing stock in Lents is quite poor, not to mention half the neighborhood is in a historic flood plain. The PDC has spent enough money in the neighborhood that hopefully things pan out for the better. Seems like the neighborhood has quite the fight on their hands with transients and mobile home squatters. I don't know of any other neighborhood in Portland that has an organized local militia.

I would not buy a property with tenants in place, in Oregon but in Portland especially. It's not worth the headache and risks. I advise my clients (buyers and sellers) of the same thing. The flood plain is something to consider, but not all of Lents is in it. I'm definitely seeing a lot of construction and renovation going on in Lents. There are many rundown homes, but I wouldn't describe it as a place where progress isn't happening. Not sure of how the new mid-rise buildings at foster and 205 will affect the foster commercial strip. People have been waiting decades for Lents to take off. It seems inevitable that it eventually will. So it's  a risk tolerance issue, in my mind. 

I used to own a property on 130th SE Powell next to Lent neighborhood. I would stay away from the East side if I could due to my 2 yrs of experience before I sold it. From 2013 June to Aug 2015, there were drive by shooting, thieves, murders etc . The 50 units property on 125th is packed with tenants on parole where cops visiting from time to time every day. The quality of tenants you can find within the 5 miles perimeter are not easy to handle. My management company advised me to stay away or they will drop me if I happened to buy another property in the vicinity.

You can't win the game when your property surrounded by group of slum lord who barely spends time and money taking care of the asset. Lent is an upcoming neighborhood but things is not going to turn around quick with the problematic neighborhood next to it. 

Buying properties with tenants in place can get you into trouble but it can also be a good way to get a deal. I do value add, buy slums and rehab them and in my experience, the slumlords are lazy and don't want to deal with the evictions. I've been able to get the last 2 properties at a discount just by not making it a requirement. I'm not advising this but it is an option IF you factor in the cost of the relocation fees in the case of a no cause or are willing to put in the time and likely expense of a with cause. 

@Tara Ballenger

I have some insight into the new building at Foster and 205. The building will be the new community center for the Asian Health and Service Center. It will have event space, health clinics and office space for the AHSC. If you have any questions let me know and I will try to answer if I can.

PDC is making a pretty big commitment to that area right around the freeway so I would expect the immediate area to get quite the lift and gentrification to follow.

@Jacob Szeto fantastic info - thank you. Hard to imagine it wouldn't be a gain for the community and property values. Lents hasn't followed the same narrative as other neighborhood that have rapidly gentrified, but by my math, it's had steady appreciation in its existing housing stock, as well as steady investment in renovation of individual properties. I see Lents as one of the last "oh, I wish I would have bought there when i could still afford it!" neighborhoods. But that kind of investing is always part speculation, and it's not for everyone. 

Originally posted by @Tara Ballenger :

@Kelvin Lee curious - do you mean you stay away from the entire east side? As in, you don't cross the Willamette? 

East side would be an area beyond SE 122nd. 2 years ago I went to the SE stark and 178th neighborhood for a due diligence trip before making an offer. I happened talking with two cops who were on duty patrolling the hood and their advice to me was staying away as a new buyer. Only if you don't feel intimidated, cops could be your good resource sometimes.  My practice is to drive by the neighborhood at different time even at 10 pm to see and feel the hood yourself. Keeping in mind that rehab project is for the experienced investor who has good cash in hand and mental toughness handling difficult situations. I was on that pave before as a rookie and that's how I learned my lesson in a hard way.

I bought a foreclosure January of 2016 in Lents on 88th about a half block off Woodstock, it took 4-5 months to rehab. and is now rented. Hasn't really been a problem any more then any other house so far.

I would have to disagree with staying away from the Outer East Side. A lot of it may be full of troublemakers, and I would never buy a class C/D property in a class C/D area but the reality is there still decent sized pockets of good hard-working middle-income people. The trick for me has been finding a class C/D property within those class A/B pockets and bringing it up to or just above the standard within that area. Then charge slightly less than market and over screen. There is plenty of money to be made in that type of value add game. 

The last set I bought increased in value over 50% in one year and market rents are up 20-30% in under 18 months. Thats not including the under market rents I bought it with, which is what my offer was based on. A portion of those increases are simply market factors, but its also being driven by people moving out further after being priced out of the "more desireable" areas.

On second thought, I agree, stay west of 122nd, its nothing but trouble out here. 

@Zach Davis Agreed. The good (A/B) pockets are expanding. East side is where it's at, in my opinion, even without the possibility of sharp appreciation in future years. And yes to overscreening. Put the in the work on the front end, to save yourself headaches later. I think going slightly under market is a good strategy when your goal is to attract and maintain quality tenants that won't give you headaches... 

@Steve B. is it right off 82nd? Lents really is big. It doesn't have a consistent feel and can vary street to street. And 82nd can vary block to block, as well - it has some really dumpy looking stretches, then other stretches that are decent. Do you regret buying your lesser performing Lents rental? Any words of wisdom for choosing property in Lents? 

I bought the place of 82nd because it was zoned R2A and thus had a value add down the road.  It has been my most difficult rental and doesn't tend to attract many people I'd like to rent to.  

The money the city has used to subsidize Lents development has been a complete waste of funds.  However if the Portland economy as a whole keeps improving that will raise the prices of Lents, and even Centennial and Rockwood.  I've lost two good renting couples to Centennial so that tells you the demographic will improve with sustained economic prosperity and incoming migration.   I would stay away from any apartment heavy neighborhoods as that will repress higher values due to subsidized lower competing rents and attendant crime.

@Tara Ballenger  

Mine is single family, fully remodeled and landscaped single family home, 1 car garage in the back corner with a long drive along the side for lots of off street parking

1450ish sq ft 3 bed 1 bad (1 bath sucks and it's a 1910 home so a little wonky on the floor plan in regards to the stairs to get upstairs) As for the good tenants part, I had lots and lots of people apply, we waited for what appeared to be the right one's.

I'd rather have no tenants then bad one's

This was my first property with some speculation component in regards to the area improving

I made sure all the math worked for me regardless of the hope for a lot of appreciation

We'll see how all the new building plays out, in 5-10 years it should be a whole different area

The new copper penny was the linchpin to unlock a better future for that area, even with all the current construction if you look up what the pdc owns there's still a lot of land around already bought and waiting for development. The new development should build more and more confidence in the area. Money being invested in a large scale should draw more money in. There's a lot of houses bought and rehabbed and flipped in the last year in that area for example. Probably 4 or more on my street alone ( good signs =)

Time will tell, for me currently worst case is I have a cash flowing property with a decent cash/cash return, with a lot of potential upside

Sorry I type so crappy, thanks for struggling through =)

I know this post is old, but was curious how people feel about this area now? We own two places near Lents Park and have been really happy here. Getting $1600/mo for 2br/1ba 720sq ft (remodeled), and are looking to buy another place close by. Did you ever find a place here?

How are people dealing with the homeless camps that proliferate the SE Portland area? Especially down off power by the 205. I’ve located a few deals but the current political and homeless landscape make me a bit skittish. Thoughts?

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