View Full Version : Local Investor helps revitalize inner city!

08-29-2007, 07:43 AM
Investor takes chance on old neighborhood

August 29, 2007

OKLAHOMA CITY – Anyone wondering why someone who was new to residential real estate would buy several houses in a blighted Oklahoma City neighborhood with plans to fix them up and make a profit hasn’t met Zach Martin. Martin, whose day job is as an associate with Sperry Van Ness in Oklahoma City, has been an entrepreneur since he was in his teens. Now 27, Martin has started, run and eventually sold a successful lawn care business, started working in commercial real estate, and is already seeing a return on a trio of formerly rundown homes and a duplex he purchased in a central Oklahoma City neighborhood.

In December 2005, Martin still owned Martin Lawns Inc. when he rounded up a bank loan for about $175,000 to purchase three houses, two vacant lots and a duplex a block west of Classen Boulevard between NW 28th and NW 29th streets.“I always wanted to get in and start buying and selling houses,” Martin said. “It had been a dream of mine forever and I found this deal and I jumped in headfirst.”But the deal was not without its headaches.

Martin was new to real estate and the houses were in great need of repair. Martin hired his lawn crews to begin clearing overgrown trees and brush as well as helping with some of the rehab. For the really tough stuff Martin hired professionals to do the work.

Martin didn’t scrimp on the costs; he ended up sinking about $50,000 into the homes. “The renovations are done and we did it right,” he said.Then there was the question of what to do with the houses when they were renovated. Martin said he considered putting them on long-term financing and keeping them as rental property as a backup plan. What he really hoped to do, however, was sell the homes and walk away with a tidy profit.

Martin found out quickly that the idea of flipping the homes in 30 days proved a little harder than he first thought.“My thought was I’d take one house, focus on that, fix it up and it would sell,” he said. “It took a little longer to get the first one sold.”After the first house did sell, another quickly followed. Then there was the sale of the double lot, where another investor built a spec house, which has since sold. Martin has one property left at 1442 NW 29th St., which holds one single-family home and the duplex. When all is said and done, Martin said he hopes to make about a $100,000 profit, then consider another project.

Darren Currin, vice president and research director for OKC Property Research LLC, said Martin is not alone in investors looking for untapped areas of Oklahoma City ripe for renovation and renewal. Currin cited investors such as Greg Banta and Rick Dowell who have bought up blighted property in the Midtown area and worked to put the buildings to new use.“Everyone’s trying to find that next big redevelopment area where there’s commercial or residential,” Currin said. “I think they definitely have a desire to improve the area but at the same time they’re looking for a good business opportunity as well.”

Martin said with the success of developers who improved other areas of the city, he sees potential in some of Oklahoma City’s older neighborhoods.“I really see that neighborhood as an area that’s coming up,” he said.

The Journal Record All Rights Reserved
Real estate entrepreneur Zach Martin bought and renovated several properties, including this one near Oklahoma City University, aiming for a total profit of around $100,000. (Photo by Jennifer Pitts)

08-30-2007, 09:49 AM
I don't understand why some people provide a summary of an article they read in the journal record, then they provide a link, then someone else replies with a pasting of the article. Fill me in.

08-30-2007, 10:31 AM
I'm sure it was just a mistake.

08-30-2007, 11:14 AM
Bravo! I'm glad to see anyone renovating homes in older neighborhoods, even if it is a profit generating project. We've got some fabulous older houses in Oklahoma City (when we moved here from Denver, we called Edgemere and similar neighborhoods the "pointy house neighborhoods") that are architecturally unique and appealing. It's a terrible shame to see them rundown and in disrepair.

08-30-2007, 06:48 PM
I don't understand why some people provide a summary of an article they read in the journal record, then they provide a link, then someone else replies with a pasting of the article. Fill me in.

I'm not following you Turanacus. I posted the article just as it appeared in the JR. I honestly personally prefer the exact articles posted for several reasons.

1.) Articles/Links to websites often are deleted after a few weeks/months. Furthermore, often important details are left out by "summaries"
2.) Accuracy and point of reference. Often on this site and others for that matter old threads get resurrected. Then, no original point of reference can be found if a link was posted that is no longer valid, and someone's summary or opinion is obviously biased. At least posting the full article correctly gives a frame of reference.