Mary Tyler Moore Did Not Walk Past Every Minneapolis Duplex

Mary RichardsA bit of a rant…

Sometimes I get frustrated with neighborhood “reputations”.

There’s a lot of crap on the market right now.  It’s hard to believe, but finding a decent property at a good value is, even in this market, challenging.

I showed a duplex and a fourplex last night; both foreclosures, both in nice neighborhoods.

The first was in a “water hood”. Located near one of the lakes, it appeared to be a tremendous bargain; that was until I opened the door. Ugh. Two questions. Why do some people think it’s a great idea to convert a duplex to a fourplex? And, perhaps more importantly, why are people willing to pay exorbitant amounts of rent for them? This property is priced $150,000 below what it last sold for, and needs at least that much in cash to make it the property the neighborhood’s reputation implies.

While not within a block of a lake, the second property was nonetheless also in a sought-after neighborhood.

I knew it was dated before I opened the door (photos of paneling on the MLS gave it away). And the buyer was OK with that. After all, this duplex was over 3500 square feet, the worst house on the block (which for investment is always the best house to buy), and priced below $250,000. While it had a shared boiler, the number of bedrooms on the property suggested it would be a tremendous value for my client.

Over all, the property was in reasonable condition. Except for one thing. I think there was a total of one heat source that hadn’t been blown due to frozen pipes over the winter. It will require thousands and thousands of dollars to re-plumb!

Meanwhile, there are properties in neighborhoods without the hype of Mary Richards  having lived there, with equivalent amenities (walking trails, coffee shops, etc.) that linger on the market because they haven’t had the hype.

(For the record, the property that served as the exterior for Mary, Rhoda and Phyllis’ house sold for $2.8 million last year.)

If you’re looking for the right property for your needs and you’re frustrated because you’re not finding it, be willing to think outside the box. Ask a Realtor who works in the area for some suggestions. He or she might be spotting a trend.

After all, history is filled with examples of property owners making a fortune when because of media exposure, their neighborhood suddenly became “the next big thing”.