I was a new investor excited and eager to make a deal and earn a little extra cash. While looking for potential investment properties in a small, South Carolina town, I noticed a large lot with an old, run-down house for sale on a busy city street.
The house was a total loss, but I thought the lot might have commercial potential. I contacted the real estate agent who had the property listed to get the details on the property.
The agent told me the property had been on the market for several months and was owned by two brothers who had inherited it. After speaking with the agent I called the city zoning office.
I was disappointed when the city planner told me the property could not be zoned for commercial use. Then he told me that the church across the street had a severe parking problem and had no more room to expand. He said that cars were parking on the street and blocking driveways and slowing traffic whenever services were held.
On Monday mornings, his voice mail was filled with complaints. He told me current zoning would allow the church to use the property for parking and building expansion.
I called my partner, Lisa, and asked her if she thought there was any opportunity here. Since the property had been on the market for a long time we made an offer well below the original asking price and were thrilled when the brothers immediately accepted. Lisa and I secured the property with a 30-day Option to Purchase contract for $100.
Next we made an appointment to meet the bishop of the church. The bishop had looked into the property but thought the asking price was too high. He had made an offer on the property a few months earlier and was rejected.
We had negotiated a much lower price than the bishop’s original offer. The bishop had given up on buying the property at a price his church could afford, but time had motivated the sellers to take an even lower offer. The bishop agreed to purchase our option for $4,500
This was truly a win-win-win-win deal. The bishop finally got his parking lot for much less than he had expected to pay; the neighbors no longer had their driveways blocked on Sunday mornings; the city planner was happy; the real estate agent got her commission; the sellers finally earned a profit–and Lisa and I went shopping!
Not a bad start for a “newbie” with a hundred bucks.