Wollaston Wednesday #27: Going in to December with 53 Units

This week I wanted to share an update as our position as investors heading in to December. Over the last eight months, we've learned a significant amount about what we need to do better and where we want to go as developers. We took the initiative to start learning the multifamily apartment space so we could diversify our income and cashflow stream.

 

In the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, the author discusses having businesses that create more income than expenses repeatedly. That obviously sounds like common sense but in the development space, it's not always the case. Our developments projects require enormous amounts of cash over a 9-12 month time frame before they ever see a profit. That can be very challenging to manage and maintain. It's even more challenging if a project doesn't make money. And as you may know, we had a rough 2017/2018 going through that learning curve. So we decided 2019 would be different. We're putting in the work in to create a more sustainable business model with hedged investments for 2020. 

 

We're currently refinancing three, two family apartment homes which will be our first ever buy-and-hold investments. We've secured quality tenants and have worked to manage them so the properties produce more income than expenses on a monthly basis. Once we had a proof of concept, we decided to work furiously and scale that model. So far this year, we have purchased a ten unit and a three unit apartment building in Holyoke, MA, a six family apartment building in Brockton, MA, and a six family apartment building in Lowell, MA. Between the 7 buildings, we have 31 units under management across separate entities. 

 

All of these buildings are generally dilapidated, have poor or no property management, and have significantly below market rents. We tend to purchase the projects that scare off other investors. We tell everyone we have energy while we're young and can handle the headaches. We're working to renovate and stabilize these apartments over the next few months. Once they're all fixed up with good tenants, we'll refinance them to get cheaper long term loans. They should all be healthy investments that create strong, positive cashflow. 

 

 

There are multiple benefits to having this model. We can comfortably live off the recurring income these properties create. We can leverage them as equity for larger loans and projects in the future. And these properties can fund certain aspects of the projects so we don't have to raise as much outside capital from investors.

 

We're still developing projects with the intent to sell them as condos. We have two, three family condo conversion projects in Chelsea, MA and we're about to break ground on a new construction three family condo project there as well. But as we continue to work in this extremely competitive market, buyers become competitive as well. The dynamic of condo projects has changed somewhat over the last 2 years. Here's what we're doing to minimize our risk working in the luxury markets of Boston. 

 

 

We are continuing to work in emerging markets like East Boston, Chelsea, Dorchester and the surrounding suburbs. Those markets tend to get first time home buyers that can't afford the more expensive zip codes of Boston. First time home buyers are usually in the $525,000 and under club. I know that's absurd to anyone outside of MA but that's our reality. We're also now only working on buildings where we can budget to completely renovate the building entirely. When you're working with a buyer pool that expects a certain level of quality, it can be very dangerous to not renovate a building to their expectations, especially in this climate. 

 

Here is an interesting stat, there are 106 condos for sale in East Boston. Only 6 of them have parking. I don't know about you but if I was developing in Eastie, that stat would scare me. So we've decided to start working on projects that include parking. Because of this market were to take a dip, the units with parking would be far more valuable because of the scarcity of them. We've began permitting 16-19 units of new construction condo projects in Dorchester MA. These buildings will be in the first time home buyer pool, will have the level of quality buyers expect, and will all include parking. It's the name of the game for us moving forward. 

 

 

If you have any questions about specifics or just want to talk shop. Drop us a line. Thanks for reading. Please like, comment, and share. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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