BiggerPockets Podcast 215: Condo Conversions, Student Rentals, and Profiting in a Hot Market with Ricky Beliveau

by | BiggerPockets.com

Boston is a tough market. Prices are high, but even high rents aren’t enough to make it profitable to invest. Ricky Beliveau makes money by renting to students, converting small multifamily buildings into condos (it’s easier than you think!), and transitioning unused space into more bedrooms to add massive value.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Ricky started by borrowing money from his mom
  • Thoughts on buying an expensive property in an expensive market
  • How he got 4 signers and co-signers per unit
  • Tips for finding a property manager
  • The upsides to having a college rental
  • How he achieves next to zero vacancies
  • How he tenant-proofs his rentals
  • The value of his property today
  • The details of his next deals
  • How to find these gems of properties
  • What a condo conversion is
  • The average cost for condo conversion with an attorney
  • How he sets the HOA up
  • How to tell if a property is good for conversion
  • Thoughts on keeping a day job while investing
  • How to find reliable contractors
  • What’s next for Ricky
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Let the experts do what they do well, and you can do what you do well.” (Tweet This!)
  • “If a property has a major foundation issue, your profits can just disappear.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Don’t say ‘I can’t.’ Instead, figure out a way to do it.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Ricky

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About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners -- without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry. With over 1500,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!

7 Comments

  1. Alex Hamilton

    Was into your Pod Cast about 15 min. and you are discussing a Million Dollar property with 4 partners plus, buying properties with relatives investing over $150,000 in the Boston Market. Based on a College rental market. You are talking about one property, this would be a 2 million housing community or 30 to 40 housing units in Louisiana.

    With 75 Million Baby Boomers headed to retirement. You should be doing a ” Condo Conversion, retire down South in Louisiana” with us.

    You guys are talking way above our head, taking about a 3 property vs what we can do 30 in Louisiana.

  2. David Krulac

    Great subject, thanks Ricky. We have done condo conversions in multiple states, one was a Victorian building from 1902. Different municipalities and states have different regulations on condo conversions.

    In one of the states that we worked, a condo conversion was the same as a subdivision plan, which we also have done many times, as briefly touched on in Bigger Pockets Podcast #82. In those cases municipal and county approvals can take as long as a year or more. Usually don’t need state approvals unless fronting a state road or using on lot septics or on lot wells.

    In another state the plan, and docs; and present plan to municipality before recordation.

    In one state the plan and docs have to be presented but approval can’t be denied, however most that we have done require full blown approvals, and engineering approvals. Here condo conversions are not as popular as in larger metro areas where there is more housing demand and higher prices.

    The usual stumbling blocks are meeting current zoning and building codes with an old building. The first knockout is usually off street parking. Most codes require minimum of 2 off street parking per unit, so a 4 unit would require 8 off street parking spaces. Sometimes in addition there must be a certain number of visitor spaces, handicap spaces, and space for a dumpster. Many of the codes also have fire codes including fire escapes, interconnected fire & smoke alarms, and that all windows must be egress type windows, which excludes picture windows, glass block windows, below grade windows and undersized windows. Fire breaks, and fire walls are often required which can also exclude some conversions in old buildings. Fire stands and fire hydrants are sometimes required and at one conversion the requirement was to reconstruct adjoining streets to the weight capacity of the largest fire apparatus in town. Some requirements included two exits from the parking lot, each units needed two exists and fire sprinklers.

    I wish it was as easy everywhere as it in in Boston, you have it good there, Ricky, easy approvals and high priced properties.

  3. Matt Dunn

    Ricky, thanks so much for taking the time to speak on BP! The wife and I really enjoyed it and learned quite a bit. Always good to hear from someone who got started early as I am hoping to do with a duplex soon.

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