Coming Soon! Historic Carriage House in Salem

By December 20, 2017 March 10th, 2020 Blog, First-Time Buyer, First-Time Investor, Resources

I love a good challenge, and a recent sale on Arthur St in Salem definitely kept me on my toes.

My past clients, the Hendersons, referred Seth and Deirdre to me because they were looking to get their feet wet in real estate investing. Off the bat, I noticed the couple’s impeccable organization and communication skills, which would serve them well in the months ahead.

After considering a wide variety of options in Dorchester, they changed directions and decided to look north of the city. They spent a weekend in Salem, Mass and fell in love with the area. The next week, a very unique place hit the market – a two-family main house complete with an unfinished carriage house out back. The additional structure had recently been approved by the city as a historic site. Located in close proximity to Salem State University, the property is well positioned to capture a solid rental stream of students and recent grads.

We all loved the opportunity and my clients put an offer in the next day. Once it was under agreement, the due diligence period began. The situation had many angles to consider. Not only were my clients first-time buyers, but they would also be stepping into landlording and taking on a massive renovation project to create a livable space out of the carriage house.

In these high risk/high reward situations, it’s important to eliminate as much gray area as possible and to get answers to as many questions as you can. While it may not be feasible to eliminate all risk, there are certain actions you can take so that you’re not leaving stones unturned. My clients worked hard over a two-week period to gather as much information as they could. For a project like this, there are numerous parties involved. Here are just a handful of the activities that were performed:

  • Extensive conversations with the building and zoning departments as well as a site tour
  • Back and forth consultations with the bank to nail down financing options for such a unique situation
  • Discussions with the historic society about the carriage house
  • Site-visits with several general contractors about the project scope and to obtain estimates
  • Walk-throughs with a variety of trade specialists including a handful of plumbers
  • Several call-ins with the Department of Public Works as well as National Grid to discuss options for connecting utilities
  • And, of course, the typical inspection with a licensed home inspector

After all the research, Seth and Deirdre wanted to move ahead and we began a second round of negotiation. The property was being sold directly by the owner which tends to create a challenging dynamic, but fortunately we were all able to work together to move the needle forward.

My clients became homeowners just in time for Thanksgiving, and were able to spend a good chunk of their days off moving, and, of course, painting!

The story for them is only just beginning. They can’t wait to bring their vision for the carriage house to life. I’m already counting down the months until I get to see the finished product. Stay tuned!


“Dana was the absolute best to work with. She went above and beyond with providing us resources and helped us in every aspect of deciding to purchase our first home. She was responsive, professional, and extremely knowledgeable about the purchasing process, renting, renovation projects, and has a specialty in multi-families which was particularly helpful for us. She understands the intricacies and issues to watch out for in older homes and has a really good grasp on large project costs vs small project costs. She was patient & present whenever we needed her.  Dana was not only a great real estate agent, but a huge resource to us. We can’t recommend her enough and would 100% work with her in the future.”

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