Here’s an Idea to Save the Real Estate Market: Voisinage Condos
Here’s my unsought input for you today. I live on a street with a lot of duplexes. It’s a nice neighborhood, the houses are in good shape, and generally speaking it looks like the sort of place you would like to live.
But not all the houses are owner-occupied like ours, and some owners are out-of-state investors who maybe care a little less about upkeep. Some of the residents are elderly and have a hard time with gardening and yard work. And with the huge subprime mortgage problem looming over the country, houses here and there are going into default and sitting neglected.
You’ve probably seen all the dramatic headlines about the Dow decline today, in part because of the weak housing market. Well, I’ve got an idea that will get the market up and running again. Okay, probably not, because I’m not a financial genius and I know relatively little about real estate. Still, I have an idea and thought I would share.
What if I started buying the duplexes next door to my house and then, instead of just renting out all the units individually, I created a condo association and sold the units as condos? I doubt it would make sense to do this with just one house, but if I had a whole street full of duplexes, that could add up to a considerable number of condos and a decent amount of property to be managed by the association.
This would have some of the benefits of buying a house, since these are houses with their own basements, parking, etc., with some of the benefits of buying a condo like not having to mow the lawn yourself. It might be especially good in large cities and old, inner-ring suburbs that are fighting to keep neighborhoods from decline, since it would guarantee a certain level of maintenance across a wider area and condo owners might be more invested in the community than renters in the same units.
The concept just needs a catchy name. Condohood? Neighborminium? I’m not sure those work. Maybe something French–after all, people like to live on cul-de-sacs but I don’t think they would like to live on bottom-of-bags. Perhaps voisinage condos?
Now, I don’t really know if this is a new idea, and I haven’t really looked, so don’t get mad if this is old news. I admit it sounds a bit like buying up Baltic Avenue and putting four houses on it so you can turn them in for a hotel. On the other hand if it is a brand new idea, don’t even think about running out and getting a business method patent because this simple blog post is prior art, and they are starting to care about prior art again.
If you have a few hundred thousand sitting around and you’d like to help me follow my vision, or if you want to fill me in on the laws and regulations I’m ignoring, please post a comment below.Written by Jason
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