Written by Chris Doucet
Given that I have been a Seattle resident since 1969 and practicing real estate for 3 decades, I like to think that I am ahead of the curve on predicting up and coming neighborhoods. And I am--except to my husband.
Opportunity comes from areas in transition and I help my clients take advantage of it. Sometimes, I do it for me too.
Almost exactly four years ago, I saw an opportunity in Columbia City. It was a rundown mid century duplex across from Genessee Park. Those of you who know me understand that I love mid century dwellings for their simplicity and lack of pretension. I don’t seem to be alone as Millennials have discovered them too.
It was in bad shape. Long term renters had occupied the property—or shall I say long term hoarders. It needed almost everything replaced ,but the two units, a top and ground floor were over 1000 square feet each, captured tons of light and had parking. Best of all was the price-under $400,000. Perfect, I thought. I will use my design and real estate abilities and transform it.
What I didn’t plan on was the skepticism of my husband. We had renovated multiple other homes and our combined skills (he is in a contracting related field and VERY handy) are a good match. CC Duplex (as we would call it) would make a wonderful investment located between 2 Light Rail stations and a long block across the park to the burgeoning shops and restaurants of lively Columbia City. It was an area with great upside potential. But he did not like the neighborhood and it was a struggle to convince him to proceed.
I will spare you the saga of our construction hiccups (or, Hubby calls disasters) but 6 months later, and a total rehab, we welcomed our new renters. The place was darling and we ended up doing much of the work ourselves which did give us a lot of satisfaction.
What I didn’t expect is that the opinion of my Hubby did not change once the project was complete. He still did not see the value in Columbia City despite new townhomes being constructed around us and the neighborhood amenities improving. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Seattle Magazine comes out with a cover story on the 21 hottest neighborhoods in the greater Seattle area. What is on the first double page feature? Columbia City and the Light Rail that has transformed the south of I-90 area.