In the summer of 2006, just as the real estate boom in southern Maine was reaching its pinnacle, Sue found a rehab project for us in a tough Biddeford neighborhood. It was a duplex, owned by an older man looking to sell and move into assisted living. The house was advertised “as is” for $115,000. Our plan: 6 months labor, $25,000 in rehab costs and we could turn this into two single-family homes worth $110,000 each.
After some research, it turned out the house wasn’t exactly a duplex — it actually had an illegal (and uninhabitable) apartment in the basement and was recognized by the city as a single family. We renegotiated a lower price and bought the place, figuring we could still make some money. As the ink on the mortgage documents was drying, the housing market had begun a downward trajectory that continues to this day (2011).