August 31, 2018

Unlisted, now sold: Three West End Portland properties

Courtesy / Maine Realty Advisors
Courtesy / Maine Realty Advisors
The multi-family residential building at 138-140 Pine St., a late 19th-century building whose features include bay windows, recently sold as part of a three-property West End Portland portfolio to a Massachusetts couple.
Courtesy / Maine Realty Advisors
21 Dow St. was bought Aug. 3 as part of a package and then sold on Aug. 13 at a higher per-unit price.
Courtesy / Maine Realty Advisors
A Massachusetts couple was able to purchase 11 Carleton St. and two other West End Portland properties even though they were never on the market.

The sellers of three historic residential buildings in Portland's West End didn't have the properties listed on the market. But they received an offer they didn't want to refuse.

Remington Street Properties purchased 138-140 Pine St., 21 Dow St. and 11 Carleton St., consisting of 23 multi-family units, from Venetians Inc. for $2.9 million.

Josh Soley and John Golden of Maine Realty Advisors and Craig Church of Magnusson and Balfour brokered the deal, which closed Aug. 3. Maine Realty Advisors specializes in off-market properties.

Remington Street Properties then turned around and sold 21 Dow St. for $900,000 to Ashby Team LLC, a local real estate firm in Portland, said Soley, who represented Remington Street Properties in the various transactions.

Immediate profit

The second 21 Dow St. transaction, which closed Aug. 13, was also accomplished off-market. It represented an immediate profit for Remington Street Properties: The original purchase came to about $126,000 per unit, and the subsequent sale of the six-unit property, came to $150,000 per unit.

"The market is strong," said Soley.

He added that while the 21 Dow St. property is in good condition and has parking, the other two properties "are two of the nicest properties on the peninsula" and so the buyer decided to hold them.

Soley said the Pine and Carleton street buildings were built in the late 1800s and the Dow Street property possibly in the early 1900s. The seller had owned the properties since the early 1960s, he said.

Remington Street Properties consists of a couple from Cambridge, Mass., who also have a house in Maine and are looking at additional multi-family properties in Portland, he said. In a transaction that closed June 7, Soley also sold a six-unit multi-family property at 52 Myrtle St. in Portland to the couple, for $770,000.

As is often the case, relationships between broker, buyer and seller were important to the transaction. Soley met the Massachusetts couple a few years ago when they looked at a building he was helping to broker.

Eyeing off-market properties

"After the showing, they were happy with my presentation and said, 'We''d like to work with you going forward,'" he recalled. "We're good friends now."

Soley said he had been eyeing the three West End properties for more than four years as potential opportunities for the right buyer. The properties weren't on the market, so he made a cold call to Venetians Inc. at that time to see if they would be interested in selling.

"They said, adamantly, 'No,'" he recalled. "I kept trying. Finally, they said, 'We'll sell them for $2.9 million. I had multiple offers in 24 hours."

Venetians Inc.'s primary concern, he said, was to find a buyer who would take care of and preserve the properties. Remington Street Properties promised to do just that, he said.

"They're in amazing shape," said Soley, adding that the sellers' son had looked after the properties regularly, doing minor repairs. "They're very solid, strong brick buildings."

Soley has made cold calling his modus operandi. He said it's an effective way to access properties in Portland's fast-paced market.

"My company, and I as a broker, have always only done off-market properties: I've done that on the peninsula and I've done that in the Old Port," he said. "I've spoken with every single building owner in the Old Port. It's fun. And with the market as competitive as it is now, everything on the market has already been combed through by every broker. So only opportunities I find to be feasible are the ones that are not on the market."

The $126,000-per-unit purchase price of the West End properties was excellent for the area, said Soley.

"Off-market, we're able to get a strong deal," he said.


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