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Old 06-15-2009, 10:29 AM
 
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
6,866 posts, read 12,628,723 times
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Default Galveston - East End Historic District Rehab?

There are a couple of listings in Galveston right now that are just...well, they seem to be killer deals. They also seem to be quite a bit of work. Some have water damage (one home got about 3 feet of water). Are these homes able to be saved? I ask because I am heartbroken about Galveston and want to be a part of its renaissance, eventually. We are talking to my sister about investing some money to help us purchase two properties to fix up and rent out as vacation homes in the East End district...both had water (they are only up about 4 feet off the ground), roof, and foundation damage. Does anyone have any experience with this? Advice? Should we run the other way? I am thinking about what Galveston might be like in the next 20 or so years (obviously thinking of another hurricane, as well)...am I way off?

Are there grants or funding of any kind in order to rehab these properties that might give us a leg up on getting things started?

It's a dream of ours to do something like this, and we may never have this kind of opportunity again. On the other hand, something like this scares the dickens out of us, we have a tiny nest egg and we want it to grow with this, not disappear. We're def. thinking long-term...and we understand everything comes with risk. We just want to hear from others who might have experience with real estate investing like this.

Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:05 AM
 
Location: H-town, TX.
1,984 posts, read 2,341,358 times
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First thought is that if you are looking to invest, don't expect a return out of it.

If this idea involves pouring all your savings into it, well, you best sprint the other way.

Of course, if you can handle the possibility that this becomes a financial black hole for you, hey, go ahead.
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:59 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
867 posts, read 1,836,623 times
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You might consider going to the galveston.com site and posting this question on their message boards - it is very active with locals/former locals and they might be able to give you some pointers as well.

Do you know if they are registered as historic homes? The Galveston Historical Foundation might be of some assistance with information - not sure.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:11 PM
 
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
6,866 posts, read 12,628,723 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffy888 View Post
You might consider going to the galveston.com site and posting this question on their message boards - it is very active with locals/former locals and they might be able to give you some pointers as well.

Do you know if they are registered as historic homes? The Galveston Historical Foundation might be of some assistance with information - not sure.
Thank you, Buffy, that was just the kind of response I was looking for. I will check Galveston.com's board and see if I can get any further information.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,427 posts, read 29,115,574 times
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Yes Mom2 the Galveston.com boards are pretty good. But I can tell you those who chat on it are cautious about anyone with questions about making a profit from their greif. I talk to these people every day. I am in their homes every day. I hear the stories from born and raised Galveston people as well as new comers and just plain investors.

The general feeling is that there is bad karma there now. I have stories of those who lived through a dozen named hurricanes but IKE changed their mind and they ran away. Some are using insurance checks to fix up their homes to the bare minimum just to sell it and run. Some have no insurance so just abandoned their home. Some collected a check and then abandoned their home. Then some will never leave and are laying out of their own pockets to return their homes to better then they were before IKE.

There are many homes on the island that have been in the family for a dozen generations. Old old people who took the house from their mother who took the house from their mother. Many of these are unsalvageable yet they stay and live in them which is the slums we see. The Community Block Grant program is there but few take advantage of it. Home values have dropped big compared to any other mainland homes.....even non damaged IKE homes. People are snapping them up. 62% of Galveston's 60,000 residents are renters. Unemployment is not real high but poverty is.

Galveston owns 4 public housing complexes giving real low rents but they became so bad that the residents were all chased out and the buildings went to vandals and drug dealers. Approvals are all in place to rebuild all 4 and build more and work has already begun.

What needs to happen is the govt buy a whole city block at a time. Pay a fair price by condemnation, demolish the whole block, clear it then sell it to developers. Block by block Galveston would in time be the most desirable place to live anywhere in Texas. Start with the streets nearest Alder Circle which is the wealthiest street on the island where the Moodys live along with the other 3 families who control the local govt and what gets approved or not. Once there is a nice area then more people will want to live there. Prices will go up. More people will buy the dumps and rehab them and the govt will no longer have to be involved.

Oh yea currently there are 17,000 permit applications just sitting in city hall and not enough help to get the permits issued. This is just as big a delay to rebuilding then the insurance companies are guilty of. How stupid is that?

Rentals are still hot and over priced. Realtors tell me they are doing very well selling homes that were gutted and listed with just a framed interior. The new Beach Town development will raise real estate to whole new levels. These beautiful beach homes on the far east end are beautiful and designed by the most famous architect in the world. Yours truely puts his kitchens in them.

You mentioned a home you saw with 3' of water. Homes near Harborside Dr and the Strand got from 6 to 11' in homes. Inside the Star Drug Store they put up a brass plaque with a line saying Hurricane IKE high tide mark. It was 7' off the floor.

As far as the most popular getaway rentals, most have been torn up like Seascape (rated #1) and Maravella #2 which is the one that burned up last week. They are all rebuilding and will be bigger and better. I have my mits into many of those kitchens too. I know what was torn out and I know what is being put in and I can tell you most of those condo owners are rebuilding to a higher level then they were before. Maybe they have lots of confidence?

I better shut the hell up...it's getting too long........
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:56 PM
 
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
6,866 posts, read 12,628,723 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertsun41 View Post
Yes Mom2 the Galveston.com boards are pretty good. But I can tell you those who chat on it are cautious about anyone with questions about making a profit from their greif. I talk to these people every day. I am in their homes every day. I hear the stories from born and raised Galveston people as well as new comers and just plain investors.
I don't want to make a profit from anyone's grief. I want to invest in the rebuilding of Galveston. I believe it has a future akin to Charleston, SC.

Quote:
The general feeling is that there is bad karma there now. I have stories of those who lived through a dozen named hurricanes but IKE changed their mind and they ran away. Some are using insurance checks to fix up their homes to the bare minimum just to sell it and run. Some have no insurance so just abandoned their home. Some collected a check and then abandoned their home. Then some will never leave and are laying out of their own pockets to return their homes to better then they were before IKE.
I can't help it if people are wanting to leave or had no insurance. The bad karma will go away eventually. Galveston has a destiny, IMHO, to be great again.

Quote:
Rentals are still hot and over priced. Realtors tell me they are doing very well selling homes that were gutted and listed with just a framed interior. The new Beach Town development will raise real estate to whole new levels. These beautiful beach homes on the far east end are beautiful and designed by the most famous architect in the world. Yours truely puts his kitchens in them.

You mentioned a home you saw with 3' of water. Homes near Harborside Dr and the Strand got from 6 to 11' in homes. Inside the Star Drug Store they put up a brass plaque with a line saying Hurricane IKE high tide mark. It was 7' off the floor.
I am very aware of the water damage on the island, and have read about Star Drug Store and what it went through. What I am not aware of is what needs to be done to a kitchen that has had 3' of water. I realize there are more homes that got it a lot worse. Very sad.


Quote:
As far as the most popular getaway rentals, most have been torn up like Seascape (rated #1) and Maravella #2 which is the one that burned up last week. They are all rebuilding and will be bigger and better. I have my mits into many of those kitchens too. I know what was torn out and I know what is being put in and I can tell you most of those condo owners are rebuilding to a higher level then they were before. Maybe they have lots of confidence?
I think they do have lots of confidence, and for good reason, at least IMHO. It seems that the city has big plans for Galveston for the next 10 years, bringing it to a level never attained again after 1900. I'd like to be a part of that, for more reasons than just money--but money has to play into it somehow!
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,427 posts, read 29,115,574 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Feebs View Post
I don't want to make a profit from anyone's grief. I want to invest in the rebuilding of Galveston. I believe it has a future akin to Charleston, SC.



I can't help it if people are wanting to leave or had no insurance. The bad karma will go away eventually. Galveston has a destiny, IMHO, to be great again.



I am very aware of the water damage on the island, and have read about Star Drug Store and what it went through. What I am not aware of is what needs to be done to a kitchen that has had 3' of water. I realize there are more homes that got it a lot worse. Very sad.




I think they do have lots of confidence, and for good reason, at least IMHO. It seems that the city has big plans for Galveston for the next 10 years, bringing it to a level never attained again after 1900. I'd like to be a part of that, for more reasons than just money--but money has to play into it somehow!
I know what you meant and you know what you mean but the residents still see you as a storm chaser. It does indeed have a future and those bad feelings and karma will fade and vanish in time.

I dont really believe Galveston has big plans. Whenever a proposal comes up the big 4 family that contol everything vote it down. They dont want growth. I poll everyone who walks into my store who lived there for a long long time if they would like to see a Casino. I never got a yes to date. Some people just do not like change. I think I remember you saying no when we discussed this some time ago getting casinos in the state of Texas. I'm in the middle with no opinion. Living 46 of my over 50 years in NJ and NV I know the goods and bads and the lies told by casinos to get their way.

Hey I'd like to be part of it too. That is why I sincerly love the island. I do believe it will grow to a level better then before IKE.

Go for it. Some one may call you a storm chaser but you know you are doing a good thing and also investing in your future. I would keep a close eye on the Strand area. That will come back better then ever too and retail commerce is coming hard and fast. It may be a expensive swanky retail corridor if this economy ever comes around. Sidewalk cafes and hip fashionable clothing stores are all on their way. Consider buying an abandanded store with apartments above it.

I have insider information on some of the major beach rental condos. Would you believe the nicer ones gross $40,000 a year in rental income? That coming from a $240,000 2 bedroom condo!!!!!! That is some serious money. Right now Seascape and Casa Del Mar have several forclosures. Even the back units which you can purchase for $99,000 are grossing $21,000 a year. Now that is what I call a ROI !!!

Whatever you do, keep in mind that homeowners insurance is very high on the island.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
28 posts, read 42,716 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Feebs View Post
I am very aware of the water damage on the island, and have read about Star Drug Store and what it went through. What I am not aware of is what needs to be done to a kitchen that has had 3' of water. I realize there are more homes that got it a lot worse. Very sad.
Mom2, I think it's really noble of you to want to help out. I give you a huge thumbs up for your efforts.

I spent part of 2006 working on some Katrina homes that were water damaged like that. It's very labor intensive and, depending on the damage, often result in a full gutting and renovation. In terms of structure, IIRC usually the framing studs are intact and useable but everything in between (drywall, carpet/tile, subflooring) may need to be replaced - of course this is again always dependent on the amount of damage. You also will have to spend for mold treatment and replace any cabinets or other fixtures that were not water damaged but aged a little too much from their time in the humid, non air-conditioned summer.

Speaking in a general sense of a generic water-damaged home: From the get-go, plan on using all new material and interior fittings; anything reusable from the old house is a bonus. Again, make sure to get someone to check all the walls for mold.

Recovering a home from serious water damage is a real chore and a real investment, especially with the mold and insect problems that crop up from water and disuse.

IMO it will be a tough task, but nothing some money and determination can't fix. Just be prepared to be overbudget and behind schedule, and to run into things that you didn't prepare for. Good luck!
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Old 05-06-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
6,866 posts, read 12,628,723 times
Reputation: 4948
I just wanted to let everyone know that we finally decided it was the right time to find a place. We found a beautiful little 100-year old raised cottage down in the East End; and now we close in June.

We'll be renting it out for weekly/weekends as well as using it ourselves. We are just tickled pink over our decision, especially after finding out about Princess and Disney placing ships alongside Carnival and Royal Caribbean down there. Fantastic news! So happy. Can't wait to begin to enjoy some long weekends at our little cottage.
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:54 PM
 
183 posts, read 461,179 times
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Congratulations! Hope you enjoy your cottage. Galveston is wonderful. You'll have plenty of rental business between the summer crowd, conventions, cruises lines, Dickens on the Strand, Mardi Gras, etc.
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