Turn Old House into Two New Homes
Duplex Conversion Provides Upgrade at Little or No Cost to Owner
"This is more and more of a common thing for people who have inherited a property or have an older single-family home to which they are emotionally attached and requires a lot of upkeep or just does not fit their present needs or lifestyle. You supply the ground, we build you a brand new home that conforms to that lot, and we get the other floor," Duncan said. "This is the future of building in Ocean City. The main thing they are able to get out of this is a brand new home in a location that has a lot of memories for them," Duncan said. "It works for both of us because I can fund the building of a duplex and guide them through the process, and they are able to get a new home out of it and can stay in the same spot." Duncan said he spends a couple of months with a client looking at buildings and trying to agree on what exactly will be built. "A joint venture is really like a marriage. We have to date first before we get married. Going out and looking at different buildings and agreeing on what we are going to build is the dating part," Duncan said. Duncan said no upfront money from the owner is required. Depending on the value of the lot compared with the building costs, the owner may even get some cash at settlement. "The owner is contributing the lot, and we are paying for the demolition and construction," he said. "90 percent of the time, the owner is not putting in any money."
Duncan serves as the developer, while Derrickson's Surfside Construction is the general contractor. Derrickson has been in the construction business for 25 years as a carpenter and then as a builder. He said once a client decides to partner with him and Duncan, he coordinates the demolition of the existing home with a contractor, the utility companies and the city so the homeowner does not have to worry about any of the details. They then meet with an architect and get plans together for construction of the new home. In the end, the property owner has a new home with which they are pleased.
Here is one home owner's story...
The homeowner said her parents had owned the 60-year-old duplex since she was a little girl. "I grew up there, which is why it was important for me to maintain part of it, to keep something from my childhood," she said. But the home was starting to fall into disrepair as her parents - and the home - aged, and was constantly requiring expensive upgrades. "This was going wrong, and this was gone wrong," she said. "It was really showing its age." She said she had talked with Duncan previously about his development projects and reached out to him to find out about what to expect. "I thought it would be really nice to have one floor and keep the property in the family," she said. So she met with Duncan and Derrickson and agreed to move forward after talking about size and amenities. "There were a couple things we wanted to do, and we learned what we could do and couldn't do," she said. They eventually settled on five bedrooms and three bathrooms on each floor; with her getting the top floor. "I had a contract that listed everything that was provided, knew what would be an upcharge. I had allowances and knew what would be upgrades. Mick made it really easy," she said. She said it took six months from demolition to completion, which is rather faster than usual. She said she was going to rent her portion of the building but now may relocate because she is so pleased with it. It was important to her to keep the property in the family and now, she said, she has something that she can leave to her son when she passes that has been in the family now for generations. She said her only regret is that she didn't do it sooner: "It was so easy. I was afraid to let go, and about the uncertainty of how this is going to work, but it turned out better than I thought it would," she said. And the best part? "It is bright and sunny and new. I am thrilled beyond belief," she said.