337 Allston St Condo Conversion Revisited


So my first condo conversion was a horrible disastrous success that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy…. I loved it. My contact person at the bank that held the construction loan either quit or was fired right around the time I needed my first draw.  More change orders than I can count with my socks on, turned up. An internal fued between the city’s fire inspector and housing inspector, as well as a fire alarm sub which had to try 4 times to get the the necessary decibels in the bedrooms from a failure to account for the heavy insulation in the walls, both helped delay my certificate of occupancy (which in turn delayed a closing).  And of course the work took longer than originally planned. 

But for all the things that went wrong, there were still some sucesses.  I put the properties on the market before they were finished on July 1st and had the last one under agreement by October 2nd, roughly 30 days per unit.  The average Days On Market for all 2 bedrooms in Cambridge is closer to 100.  And while I did negotiate the final sales prices, I never had to drop my asking price.  And all in all we came up with a very nice finished product.  All in all, I can’t wait to do it again.

Cambridge Condo Conversion - The Closing

Finally, we’ve officially closed on the triple decker, but of course not without the necessary roller coaster prior to closing.  So the closing package (and certified check) had to make it out of Chicago and be overnighted to my attorney.  Seeing as how god has it out for me, serious storms delayed all flights out of Chicago, and while I should have been signing closing documents, they were waiting for me in Louisville.

It gets better…

So it turns out the sellers niece is an attorney for the treasury department, keep in mind, not a real estate attorney.  She wasn’t too happy that her Aunt was already driving up to go to the closing.  I don’t know if she actually threatened it, but I heard the words “default” and “deposit” from my attorney.   I flipped…

Force majeure!!” I cried.  “The downstairs tenant left some belongings!!  It wasn’t delivered in broom clean condition (the whole time I was telling them don’t worry about cleaning, we’re gutting the place)!! I wrote the offer ‘including all fixtures and appliances’, and the tenant took the fridge!!”

Fortunately for all, cooler heads prevailed.  The seller didn’t waste her trip, package eventually came, and the closing has occured.  I finally got the architect into the property gave him the scope of work and my horrible drawings (he didn’t laugh at them).  He seemed pretty excited about it, I am too…

And here’s the first video to our blog…..the first floor:

Cambridge Condo Conversion - Part 4 - the pictures

The wait is finally over, we got the subcontractors into the property and I got to take my pictures.  Unfortunately, we were only able to get into the second floor unit and the basement, and the second floor is in the best shape out of the three.  So without further ado - the pictures



Enclosed front Porchbedroombathroomkitchen1kitchen2Second BedroomPantryUseless hallwayFuture walkin closet for master bedroomdiningroom into living room

So I didn’t get pictures of the basement, and I forgot the back porch as well.  But the basement’s a basement.

The floors in the living room and dining room are actually beautiful, hopefully we’ll be able to restore them all. They did a pretty good job in the second floor unit (seen above).  I don’t suspect we’re going to try to restore the linoleum though. 

Now I pray that the contractors budget exceeds the bids from the subs.

What is a bathroom worth?

Nothing super original, seeing as I’d like to add a half bath to my 3 family conversion I thought this was applicable… and a great article overall for anyone. 

What is a bathroom worth

Cambridge Condo Conversion Chronicle - Part 3

So not too much has really happened this week.  The home inspection went fine, the purchase and sale has been drafted, and reviewed, soon to be signed, the check for the additional deposit has been written, and I’m sitting here waiting to get moving with the property.  So what better to do than…..  BUG MY CONTRACTOR!!!!

I’m sure I’ve already done that enough.  He’s already informed me that I can’t add another three floors or turn it into 6 units thanks to things called “zoning laws.”  But I was figuring that there’s probably enough space to add a half bath in there (take that zoning laws!).  So I made a rough sketch of what the layout is now, and what I’d like for it to look like and sent it to him.  I figured I’d share my architectural talents with my readers as well (note: I have zero architectural talents).

So the top is as it is now (minus the interior front porches). So ideally I’d like to open up the kitchen (with breakfast bar), living room, and dining room,and do away with that middle hallway and the pantry. 

*When we were in the basement the supports were clearly underneath the wall to the left side of the dining room, that’s usually a pretty good indicator that the wall is load bearing, that wall’s not going anywhere.

So if we can take away the hallway and the pantry, I can turn the smaller bedroom into the bigger bedroom, make the full bath a little wider and connect the two bedrooms, and hopefully fit a half bath off the dining room.  My theory is that since we’re already budgeted to redo all the plumbing anyway, as long as we can back it up to the other bath (so the plumbing is all in line) how much more could it actually cost to add a half bath?  Right now I’m assuming that the answer is more tiles, another vanity, another toilet, a little more electrical, and a little more drywall… and another door.. crap, and I need three of everything. 

Oh well, if he says we can’t do it, I think I’m going to ask him to dig a moat around the house… you don’t really see people using moats anymore….