[Tools & Resources]

Site Search: Renovation

Not just any building can be converted into a community residence, and finding the right one can be a challenge. We asked Senior Real Estate Developer Peter Benvie to share what he looks for when searching for an existing property to redevelop into a community residence.


What information do you need to know from the agency before you start site selection for a renovation project?


We need to know all of the house design requirements and special licensing requirements, such as the special needs or requirements of the clients moving in, whether or not they need an accessible kitchen, a separate Med room, a staff office, or egress doors off the bedrooms. It is also helpful to know the necessary width of doorways, the desired location of the laundry room, bathroom requirements, and type of basement so we can look for a home that can accommodate all of these needs.


What are the challenges of finding and purchasing a home to convert into a community residence?


For purchasing existing homes for renovations, the age of the property, especially mechanicals and the roof, is important and sometimes difficult to meet. The floor plan has to be conducive to renovation to meet needs of clients at a reasonable cost. For rehabs lately, we have spent anywhere from $300,000 to over $600,000. The lower-end houses typically require more work, and higher require less. An added challenge of purchasing an existing home is that the property must meet appraisal value.


What makes a ‘perfect’ site for a group home?


An ideal house to renovate would be on a lot that meets all our requirements (flat, city water and sewer, around 1 acre, etc.), be near local services, and far enough away from neighbors and other group homes. It would also be in good condition overall and have no history of water or mold issues. If the house itself isn’t perfect, we can make renovations to make it as close to perfect as possible.


What is a deal breaker in a property you are looking to renovate?

Deal breakers for a rehab are if the neighboring homes are extremely close or, more likely, if the house needs a huge amount of work. We have purchased homes to rehab and ultimately decided it was more cost-effective to tear them down.


Do you know of a site that fits the bill? Let us know at [email protected]