Not all condos are buildings in the investment world

Jan 3, 2012

When most of us talk about condos, we’re usually referring to buildings with apartment units that are individually owned.  But as real estate appraiser Richard Hagar tells KPLU’s John Maynard, a condominium is technically a type of ownership.

So you can also "condominiumize" other types of property. Hagar says it's a hot trend for investors. 

Condo parking spaces

Imagine buying a parking space right next to a popular ferry terminal. Then imagine renting it out for a favorable rate. Sounds like a solid investment? You got that right, says real estate appraiser Richard Hagar. Buying a "condoized" parking space is truly the gift that keeps on giving,  if you have supply and demand working in your favor.

He offers up an example of a parking space for sale on Bainbridge Island that recently got away from him.

"We saw in the newspaper a listing for this condo parking spot on Bainbridge and so the first thing my wife and I did was say let's go over there and buy this! When we got to the island we bumped into a few of my (real estate investment) students and they were smiling from ear to ear and said, 'We just bought that condo parking space!' so they bought it out from under me."

Condo storage units

After parking, what else is usually in short supply? Well, storage units would be right up there on the list.  People have a lot of stuff and they need space to put it in. Buying a storage unit and then renting it out to people in need of space for their extra  possessions is also becoming a popular investment, says Hagar.

In fact, he says, folks are even buying these "condoized" storage units as party/play spaces...little getaways that can be turned into jolly caves for those who, er, want to hang out in jolly caves.

(In the video below is an ad that shows off this new "jolly cave" trend.)

Condo boat slips

And let's not forget about all the boats out there in search of moorage.  Yes, you guessed it. Boat slips are also being "condoized." Even with the rough economic waters we're in, Hagar says the demand for boat slips remains high.

" We're  still experiencing positive population growth here. And with Boeing announcing that they're going to be building the 737 MAX in Renton, I'd like to own a condominiumized boat slip at the south end of Lake Washington and an apartment behind that!"

If you have "condoized" some type of property other than an apartment unit in a building, let us know. The more surprising, the better! You can post a photo and comments in the discussion area below.

Street Cents” is a monthly feature exploring real estate trends in the Northwest. The feature is published here and airs on KPLU 88.5 on the first Tuesday of the month during Morning Edition, All Things Considered and on Weekend Saturday Edition.