Why I Love Buying At Duplex Estate Sales

estate_saleI love duplex estate sales.

Not the kind where there’s a bunch of stuff displayed in the driveway and if you’re lucky, you’ll find something you can buy for a dollar and score big with later on Antiques Roadshow.

I’m talking about duplexes that were owned by people who have passed away, and their heirs are now trying to sell the place.

I don’t mean to sound morbid.

Really, I don’t.

But here are three great reasons to buy duplexes from dead people:

  1. America’s Greatest Generation Took Care Of Things – Having survived the Great Depression, there was a generation of people who grew up knowing the importance of maintaining what they had rather than buying more of something new. For example, while their 1950’s-installed linoleum may not be the latest product featured on HGTV, it often looks like it was installed yesterday. The roof, the furnace, the windows– all of the expensive items– however, are likely to be new or in perfect working order.
  2. Rents Are Usually Low – If a seller has owned a property for a long time, odds are he or she no longer has a mortgage payment, and has become friendly with the tenants. And if they’re good tenants who have always paid on time, odds are the owner didn’t increase rent for fear of them leaving – for years.  The good news with income property is that banks lend on the current revenue a property generates (unless it’s vacant, when market rents are projected) vs. the revenue the property could or should bring in.
  3. Rehabbing Is Easy- Because the big things, like furnaces and roofs, have been maintained, most improvements these duplexes need are cosmetic. The carpet might need to be removed (revealing pristine hardwood floors), or the wallpaper. You may find the kitchen cabinets are so old they’re actually wood and can be painted or stained rather than replaced.

There’s only one problem with duplex estate sales. You can’t predict where or how you’re going to find them!