Don’t Forget Curb Appeal When You Fix Up a Duplex Rental..!

Some Before and After Pictures To Make My Case

I probably am preaching to the choir for those of you that read this blog on a regular basis.   However if you are new to this site and are thinking about Investing in Real Estate such as a Duplex, Four-Plex or a Single Family Home, don’t forget to invest in some “curb appeal”.

I’m talking not just the exterior paint.   No I’m talking about landscaping your rental almost like you would a single family home in a nice neighborhood.

Check out this Duplex purchased earlier this year at 9610 Knickers Court in the Rosemont area: 

 Knickers before - 1

Here’s the “before” picture of this property taken shortly before the new Owner started the “Fix Up”.  This is a corner lot and had a lot of over grown shrubs & trees.


The Owner did install new roll up garage doors, painted the trim only and put a few $$ in landscaping.  The 3 Bedroom unit on the right does have a Patio Slider off the Master Bedroom.   For a look at what he did see this slide show.    By the way it rented in just a couple of days.

Remember when you add some nice landscaping like the owner did above, you give a prospective tenant some “extra living” space with not only a patio outside the dining area, but also outside the Master Bedroom as well.


Now below here is a Duplex that I am a partner in on Lake Natoma Drive in Orangevale.  We had a tenant on the left side that lived there for almost 5 years after we purchased it. When she moved out, do you think it took me long to find a new tenant…?

 Front Page Lake Natoma Drive

Some of the things we did 5 years ago to this duplex were, to paint the exterior & install new roll up garage doors.   We also fixed the sprinkler system & spent a little extra & planted a “big box” Maple Tree. 



Do you think landscaping makes a difference here?     By the way, this is some what of a busy street, but it rented up after being vacant for only about 3 weeks in late June of this year.

Hey Take a look at this one.   I think you will get my point….

 trovita 1 before

Here is a “before” picture of a former Bank Owned Duplex on a street of large duplexes in Citrus Heights, purchased by a partnership




Click here for a web page that will also show you that if you fix these Duplexes up nicely, you will not have a difficult time finding tenants who will want to pay top dollar to live there. 

So Did I Make My Case Well Enough…?

You are the judge, but all of these units are rented up even though we are in a little bit of an unemployment situation here in the Sacramento Area.

Ask yourself the question, if you were a prospective tenant, do you think you would pick these units over some that weren’t as nicely fixed up when you first pull up to see them….?

I’d appreciate the feed back.

In the Mean Time…?


What To Do When You Buy An Investment with “Tenants in Place”.

When taking over a property be sure you know who the tenants are.

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I specialize in Residential Rental Real Estate and that we also provide Property Management Services.

REO/Bank Owned properties generally will give you possession at close of escrow without any existing tenants.   However, in many “short sale” situations,  you may inherit some existing tenants.

If you have just purchased your first investment with a “tenant in place”, you may or may not be lucky.    On the one hand, you won’t have the prospect of doing a “turn over” right away,  which can cost a couple thousand in painting, carpet replacement and clean up.  However, on the other hand,  you may wind up having problems with the existing tenants if you aren’t careful.

Ok then… what do you do to protect yourself…?

If you and your agent are using the California Association of Realtors Form, Residential Income Purchase Agreement (RIPA – revised on 4-10-2010), there are some great “due diligence clauses that pertain to “Rental/Investment” property.  Paragraphs 9. A. Rental/Service Agreements,  8. B. Income and Expense Statements and 8.C. Tenant/Estopple Certficates.

I am going to summarize them below.

Rental/Service Agreements – You won’t get these on a Bank Owned/REO in most cases because the property is vacant.   If the property is occupied, this paragraph requires that the Seller is to provide copies to you of all Rental and Service agreements.   These normally would not only include the Lease agreement, it would also include, the tenants’ payment history…   any rebates, the date of their tenancy, copies of service agreements,  such as a Landscaper’s Maintenance Agreement and copies of the water, sewer and garbage bills.

Income and Expense Statements You won’t get these on a Bank Owned/REO and rarely on a Short Sale.   They are either Bank Owned and they don’t have them anyway and on a Short Sale you won’t get much help from the Seller,  in most cases,  unless it’s been professionaly managed.

Tenant Estoppel Certificates –  These are important…!  These documents are filled out by the existing tenants and given to the Buyer.   These certificates will have information, according to records of the Tenant.  They will show what the rent is, what they said they paid for a deposit, if they were given any kind of “incentives” or “rebates”, who the original tenants were and who lives there now.   Any conflicts with the statements and records of the owner and the tenant should be resolved before the close of escrow.

Now while I’d love to have copies of the current tenant leases and service agrements, the income and expense statements, it’s  not a deal killer if you can’t get them.

Why…?   Because when we obtain “Tenant Estoppel Certificates”, these will sufice for a short time as enough information to allow you to take over the property until you get the tenants to sign a new lease/rental agreement,     Since we can’t get the Income and Expense statements, we’ll still get copies of all of the existing, water, sewer/storm drainage and garbage bills so we can have an idea of what our “fixed expenses” will be.   We will be able to figure out what the Real Estate Taxes will be (approximately 1.25% of the sales price) and we’ll obtain a quote from your Insurance Agent to find out what your annual Hazard Insurance will be.

What we won’t know will be the variable costs associated with maintenance and repairs.   To avoide unforseen issues, you should obtain a Termite Inspection, a Roof Inspection and Certification.  If the property is currently occupied the Tenants will tell us what doesn’t work.

With all that information, you should wind up with a good idea of what the condition of the property is.

Finally, I will say that even with all that information, something may come up that was unforseen inspite of your due diligence.  Hopefully, because you did exercise your “due diligence”, you will mitigate most problems so that they are small ones.

Make it a Great Day…!!!

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A Flip That Might Be a Win-Win….IF…?

A Win-Win Means There Must Be a Profit for Buyer & Seller.

I profiled this property back in May when it first hit the market..   Click here for the Cash Flow I projected back then.

I even have Video:

Right Side Video of 10414 South White Rock

Left Side Video of 10414 South White Rock

Now They Want to “Flip It”.

The folks that got this Ranchor Cordova Duplex put it back on the market on July 7th or so.  I watched this property because I knew they had made a “smokin buy” at $127,000.  But… their new “asking price” of $229,000 I thought they were really going over the “Hog Line”.

So after a couple of price changes, they’ve lowered the asking price south of $200,000 to $195,000…  still what I consider to be a little high.

Here’s what I think should be a “win-win” for the investor who only paid about $127,000 for this around  May 20th of this year.  Click Here for what I think the sales price and cash flow would be and then you tell me if the Seller makes money and the Buyer has a good deal too – A Win-Win….


Maket it a great day…!

There is a lot of Competition for Bank Owned Duplexes….!


“Fish where they ain’t” is a slogan I got from Ed Keller, another long time Real Estate Broker from one our Realty World offices in Amador County.   I have his link on my side bar if you want to check that area.

So with those words in mind I’ve been scouting out potential cash flow opportunities besides those that are Bank Owned/REO type of situations.

I came across two duplexes that are side by side on the corner of Gibbons and Walnut – 3852 through 3858 Walnut Avenue.  CLICK HERE FOR A CASH FLOW ANALYSIS

These properties have been on the market for over 90 days.  Rents vary from $700 to $900 per month.   I based my market analysis on $900 per month.  You can go and get a rent comparison to see that $900 is possible.

I think these could be a good deal if you can buy these right.   My cash flow figures were based upon sales prices of $200,000, but these should sell for a lower amount based upon the rents that they are getting now.

However when you are a landlord that prices your units below the market, you will then make it difficult to sell at top dollar, which I think is the case here.   But… these duplexes have a good location in my opinion.  They do need some curb appeal updates and probably will need some interior work as well to get that top dollar income.

In other words, since no one else is bidding on these as far as I know, maybe if you “fish where they ain’t” you might get a decent catch.

Make it a Great Day….

Bank Owned Four-Plex – Carmichael, Ca


If you have known me a while, you know I am not a big fan of Four-plexes in this area.

The reasons are as follows:

  • Most are flats – 2 units down and 2 units up
  • Most have no covered parking
  • No private patios or yards
  • No Firepaces
  • No Dishwashers
  • No Washer/Dryer Hookups – although they might have a coin-op Laundry Room
  • Located in a high density area of other rental units

However – Check this one out at 5720 Engle, Carmichael – These Four  Plexes  were built in the late 80’s.  They have just about all the amenities of a single family home or a duplex,  that are excluded in the list above.   Those missing amenities are pretty typical of most of the Four-Plexes in the Sacramento Region.

Click here for a Palm Treo video of the exterior taken this past Saturday, July 25th.  This property is located on the corner of Engle and Sareco Court.   If you go to google maps you can get the “street view” of this property.

You will notice in the slide show above that this is a nice area that is not all apartments another “plus”…!

Hot on the Market – Fair Oaks Duplex – Rare Pride of Ownership


I get excited when I see a Duplex like this on the market.

This is one of those rare duplexes that has a 3 bedroom 2 bath on one side and a 2 bedroom 2 bath on the other.  Both sides have 2 car garages.   This looks like a single family neighborhood and across the street are new single family homes.

When you have a duplex that is in decent condition, almost rent ready, it’s not going to be on the market long.

Click here for some pictures and a “proforma cash flow analysis”

Here’s a YouTube Video I took with my Palm Pilot… This is of the interior of the 3 bedroom unit.

Click here to view  

Hey if you want more information on this or any other residential investment property in the Sacramento Region, just drop me a note.



In the mean time…?

Make it a great day….

Tips for Maintaining your Property

Good Morning Folks…   

It’s another great day in paradise….!!!  Why do I say this… ?   It’s because any day I wake up “north of terra firma” is another great day to celebrate…   you never know when it’s your turn to “check out” as they say.

While the focus of this blog is to help folks invest in real estate… especially multi-family homes like Duplexes, Four-Plexes and Apartment complexes.. I do like to give you information that comes my way time to time from other sources…

I’ve posted some links below regarding the Maintenance of Decks, Patios and a link about Kitchen counter tops.  I hope you find them useful and informative because improving and maintaining a piece of real estate is something an investor or homeowner should never over look or defer.


Maintaining Your Deck  – great article – I’ve got a Court Yard deck in front of my own place that is 5 years old, but doesn’t show it when it’s maintained right.

Concrete Patio or Driveway Maintenance

Kitchen Counter Tops

If you have any questions or would like me to refer some professionals to assist you in any kind of a project drop a note my way or just call me…   916-203-1260

In the Mean Time…?



Some Interesting Deals If Cash Flow is Your Goal

June 17, 2009

Rancho Cordova – The Sleeper Area for Investors :


While out and about I came across a couple of what I call “suspects” that could be potential money makers.  I drove by both of these properties on June 15th and I think one of them has just been reported sold before I could post it here.


Check them out and you’ll see why I like these.  Click on the addresses for a couple of pictures and an attached “pro-forma” cash flow analysis.


10413 White Rock Road, Rancho Cordova – Great numbers only on the market a couple of days – Shows Pending sale as of today.


10754 56 Capana Rancho Cordova– Located in an area of Pride of Ownership single family homes on a large corner lot.  Click here for a VIDEO of the area around it.


One of these is what I call a “bread and butter” type investment and the other one is what I call a “coupon clipper”.


Let me ask you…   Are these numbers pretty decent…?   They include taxes, insurance, management, some repairs along with the water sewer and garbage.


I think the Sacramento area is the “place to invest”…  Am I wrong…?


Make it a great day…!


Bank Owned Duplex out of the “Shadows”…..

This One Has Been “Sandbagged” until now

Here’s a Duplex that has been in the Bank’s hands for a while now that has finally come on the market.  Our team has represented a Bay Area partnership in the purchase of two duplexes in this great neighborhood within the last couple of months.

In addition,  after they purchased their duplexes our property management company was hired to “lease up” and manage them, so we know the area here well.

In addition another Bay Area Investor purchased a duplex close by and hired our Property Management team to handle the “lease up” only of her vacant units.

I have provided for you a “proforma” cash flow analysis of this Duplex located at 7937 Tangors Way, Citrus Heights, Ca.

See Below here for videos.

Click here for a Video of the “Street Scene”

Click here for a Video of the 3 Bedroom 2 Bath side

Click here for a Video of the 2 Bedroom 2 Bath side

I don’t think this one will last long.

Make it a great day

Bank Owned Duplexes – Come & Get ’em….

Some of the best I’ve seen in a while !!

Hey you investors…    I’ve found some decent Bank Owned Duplexes that are all unique and very much worth the time to pick up – one maybe even a “flipper”

I’ve got two Bank Owned Duplexes have just come on the market and one that has been for sale for quite some time.

I have previewed all of them and have put together some information including pictures.   Click the links below and you’ll pull up a PDF file with my projected income and expenses.

10414 South White Rock Rd, Rancho Cordova, Ca 95670 – 3 Bedrooms 2 Bath on each side – Court Yard entries and each unit has recent updates in the kitchens and bathrooms.   Mirrored Closet Doors in the Master Bedrooms and Sliding Glass doors to the rear yards.  Listed at $124,839 – I know this is going to sell for much more.  These units are just about “rent ready”…  The Bank knows this and this will have “multiple offers” for sure….

Other than maybe some painting and general cleanup, the only major problem I see is part of the roof system.  The area over the bedrooms is a “flat top” type that is leaking in one of the back bedrooms.  I estimate it can be fixed for about $7,000.   I’m a part owner of a duplex with a configuration like this and that is what it cost us about 2 years ago for the same problem.

I like Rancho Cordova…It’s a sleeper area with a commitment to community preservation.  Lots of new construction going on around this area.  Elementary school is just down the street.

Here’s my attempt to do a “video”.. Click the links below to see video of each side.

10414 South White Rock Road, Rancho Cordova – “left side”

10414 South White Rock Road, Rancho Cordova – “right side”

6335 Sorrell Court, Citrus Heights, Ca 95621 – This is a nicely located Duplex on a Cul-de-Sac street that is right off of Zenith and Antelope Roads.  Neighborhood shopping is very close by along with access to Hwy 80.  Great commute location for either Roseville/Rocklin or Sacramento.  I’ve run the comparables and they go for about $175,000 in this area.

The back yards are huge with little or no landscaping…  I think this is one area many investors put a low priority on.  Some landscaping here would be a great inhancement for this property.  Inside…?  They aren’t bad.. paint.. carpet.. cleanup.. = Rent Ready…   Roof is good shape…

Here’s an old favorite below here that has been on the market for a long time… it’s been in and out of escrow I think a couple of times.  It has my special “designation”…. a “Beater”… in other words… a Fixer upper…  Check it out…!!

5006 Sunshine Lane, Sacramento, Ca 95841 – I’ve seen this one inside and it’s in need of some TLC as they say.  It’s Listed at $134,900 but I have the cash flow analysis at $115,000.  That’s what it should and probably would go for if some one came in with an all cash offer.   I estimate it would take about $20,000 to really fix this up nicely.  It’s in a great location.. kind of unique.. and it’s just around the corner from American River College.

I’ve got more coming.. come back later…

In the mean time…?