Fix It, Get It Done

By Dave Fratello | November 8th, 2011
For 6 months last year, they couldn't get a nibble for a duplex at 860 MBB.

Last year's "marketing photo" for 860 MBB.
It was priced as low as $849k for 2 legal units, and the numbers could be made to work for using it as a straight-up investment property.

One reason we know the marketing was poor was that this cell-phone shot from across the street was all that appeared in the listing. (See "Crooked, Crooked Duplex.")

Note to sellers: If your agent can only muster a drive-by to snap a photo to market your home, there may be some unfortunate shortcuts being taken in other places as well.

Revised, retooled – and sold version of 860 MBB.
This year, things were different at 860 MBB.

First, a new agent helped the sellers blaze through a long to-do list for a long-overdue rehab job on the rear unit.

Once the work was done, they brought the listing out $130k higher.

That new price, $979k, reflected a bump up that was more than twice the cost of the remodel. It quickly sold for a sliver less, $970k.

Surely anyone could have seen the property in its doggish condition last year, recognized the opportunity to spiff it up themselves, and gone ahead with the work, right? Nope. People mostly need to see the completed product – probably more so with an investment property, where you don't want to worry about fixups and extra carrying costs before getting tenants in.

Not only was 860 MBB fixed up, it may have been marketed better. We're just guessing, but when the same property logs more than 6 months and fails one year, then lasts 8 days the next time out, it might be more than a coat of paint and new carpet that's making the difference.

From dog to show horse in a matter of months – nice work.

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