Coming Along...

Wondering what we're working on lately? Currently we are working on creating a strong financial foundation, preparing for a move to North Carolina (goal date: summer 2013), slowly building up a collection of spooky items, and starting our foray into miniature models.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Looking At Properties, Part Two

The view from one of the front windows.
Our second property on our scouting trip was an old bank building in downtown Mount Carroll. The last business it housed was a pet store; it is currently empty. There are five small apartment units upstairs that are currently not rented, and a small space downstairs that is being rented to a local pet shelter. It is listed at $99,000 and says it has 7900 square feet.

"This brick cornerstone building offers a prime location in the historic downtown business district of Mt. Carroll. On street parking is available on three sides of the building as well as a municipal parking lot to the rear. The main level storefront has over 3000 sq. ft with a large lobby area, 3 offices & a vault. The lower level area offers office or retail space. The second story has 5 apartments. There are three 1 bedroom units, one 2 bedroom unit and one studio apartment. This is a great multi-use investment property. There is an elevator to all three floors. The elevator is being transferred in "as is" "

We went in the downstairs back section first, to look at the heater. I think. (This part is definitely more up my husband's alley, lol.) All I got out of looking at the mess of pipes is that while there are sections of the building that have their own controls, it's not split off into anything cohesive (like, say, by apartment unit), so we would be paying all the utilities and would have to consider that in the rent we would charge potential tenants in the apartment units.

back door

back view and fire escape
mess o' pipes
Then we walked around to the front and looked at the storefront. It was pretty neat, with a lot of space, an old bank vault, a scary elevator (the realtors have never used it, no one knows if it works or what condition its in), and great views of the downtown from the big front windows. There was a small kitchen-like space but definitely not anything that was set up for commercial cooking, so that would be something we would have to build out. The layout was a little awkward in terms of setting up a bar/restaurant too, but it could be done.

one of the rooms inside

the old bank vault

the kitchen space

they used this room for pet grooming
shelves off the kitchen

going down to the bathrooms / basement

another of the front rooms

view from the front windows

inside one of the bank rooms
The downstairs section (from the inside stairway) had two bathrooms, a good amount of storage space, and another old vault.

maybe this could be a wine cellar?

another old vault

basement space
one of the bathrooms

The upstairs apartments were in various states of disrepair; they'd been rented fairly recently but they definitely would have needed heavy cleaning and remodeling before we moved in, at the very least. For us to live there, we would need to combine several of the apartments, and then decide if we wanted to combine the others into a larger unit or have a couple smaller units.

a living room
a bathroom
a living room
a bedroom
a kitchen

a bathroom
I'm pretty sure this place hasn't been remodeled since the '70s
these layouts could sure use some work
Overall the layout and amount of buildout wasn't ideal for us. It wasn't the worst we saw by far, and the location was perfect, but it isn't the best either. It gave us another good reference point for property prices based on the size of the building we want in the town we like though.


  1. The location on this one look really promising. Walking traffic is so good for people checking your business out!

  2. The location on this one is GREAT. It's right across from the courthouse (Mount Carroll is the county seat), and it's on like the ONE intersection in the downtown area, lol.

    The bar we love is right down the street though so it would still get decent visibility and walking traffic. The front windows aren't as prominent but I already have some ideas to make us stand out and entice walking traffic a little more :)