Eastside Property: Boyle Heights fourplex in need of a real estate rescue

Photo from Redfin.com

This Spanish Colonial-style fourplex is obviously in need of a lot work. Where to start? Vandals have knocked giant holes in the walls, ripped out cabinets and have tagged up the interior of the 82-year-old building. Trash and debris fill the basement and balconies. And that yellowed banana tree out front could use a trim. “Investors delight,” says the Redfin listing. “This classic 4plex needs to be completely rehabbed.” Despite all the damage, the Dobinson Street building still retains, from the street, an imposing,castle-like presence and the historic charm that is common in parts of Boyle Heights and neighboring City Terrace.

There are are still many vintage elements that should be preserved when and if an investor does show up with a contractor. The bathrooms are trashed but there is still mint and lilac tile work, a popular combination during the 1930s. The walls are tagged up but there are still large, arched wood windows overlooking south-facing balconies. But anyone who wants to rescue this fourplex, priced at $335,0000, better have a lot of cash in addition to love for classic L.A. architecture.


  1. Totally trashed but, yeah, some great bones and historical details.

  2. You gotta love how the agent termed this property, “Investors Delight”. I guess this is real estate agent code for completely trashed ghetto rat box…which is not very delightful for anyone, even investors.

  3. Additions $283,745,
    Such as kicked in sheet rock graffiti and deification but that just adds to the patina of this old gem.

  4. I predict that this property will sell for close to the asking price within two or three weeks. Let’s say that it costs $100,000 to rehab the property, so altogether the buyer invests $435,000. Since all units are vacant, the new owner can rent the units at market rate (obviously, these are just estimates):
    3 bdrms, 1.5 bathrooms: $ 1250
    2 bdrms, 1 bathroom: $ 1000
    2 bdrms, 1 bathroom: $ 1000
    1 bdrm, 1 bathroom: $750
    Total rent: $4000 a month
    Subtract 30% for maintenance and other expenses: – $1200
    Subtract for fire insurance: $80
    Subtract property taxes ($335,000 x 1.25% = $4200 divided by 12) = $350.00
    Net rental income: $ 2370.00/month or $28,440 annual rent
    $28,440 / $435,000 (total investment) = 7% return on equity.
    This might not seem like a great deal, but if the repairs cost less than $100,000, if maintenance and expenses are less than $1200/month, or if actual rents are higher, then the return on equity could be closer to 10% or higher. This also doesn’t take into account the tax benefits (i.e., depreciation, deducting the rehab and other expenses) and potential appreciation. Aside from all that, the lot size is decent. This place will sell for around the asking price.

    • What an awesome, measured, well thought-out comment. So refreshing to read such a comment as opposed to “it’s a filthy ghetto rat-box, let it rot” or some such nonsense. Time and again, from NYC to LA, worn out out buildings have been bought, restored and are now revenue making (and tax generating) properties. Somebody will buy this old gem up and make it work. Mozel Tov to them!

      • Thank you for the kind words. It took me some time to crunch the numbers, but I was also curious about whether purchasing this property would “pencil out.” I think it probably will.

    • That is pretty good. My business partner was finding fourplex’s in Vegas that were able to return about 20% after everything including management fees. I would think the upside here is that if Boyle Heights were to ever gentrify, these properties could be worth something in 30 years.

  5. Why was this property abandoned for so long?

  6. It would be great if someone took the time and money to really restore it — but from an investor’s point of view, it probably doesn’t make financial sense.

    • Lisa – Sure it does. See above.

      • I suspect a thorough rehab of four units in an older building — with nice materials, some attention to period details, etc — would cost a good bit more than $100K. Even if you’re lucky and some original fixtures and windows are still in place, wood floors are in half-way decent shape, etc, rehab and repair can cost a fortune. And the higher cost isn’t likely to pencil out in significantly higher rent.

        • An average Boyle Heights tenant probably won’t be as picky and demanding of “period details” as a Silver Lake tenant might be – and at the rents that I estimated, I don’t think the owner will have a hard time renting the units. Look at the square-footage of the building; the units are not small.

          The photos seem to show lots of graffiti and damage to drywall, but the windows are still intact; seems the place was the victim of local tagging crews and partying kids rather than malicious property-destroyers. Time will tell what it’ll sell for. I wouldn’t consider it because of the heavy gang presence in Boyle Heights, but I think it’ll sell for around the asking price, give or take $20,000.

  7. This place looks like the building in Colors that gets shot up during the party scene.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *