March 10, 2019 by: Laurie Bunker
Motel Revitalization 101
That photo is how we first saw our dream property. Not lookin' too dreamy, huh?
Jason and I both have an eye for potential, so we dived right in and made an offer. We also have a tendency to way underestimate how much work a project will be, which might not sound like a useful quality but it keeps us racking up more projects. That leads to more places and vehicles and objects and things getting saved, which means it's a plus, right? Sure, let's call it a plus.
We didn't know it when we bought the place, but there is a name for what we're doing. We call it a solution to hoarding, but the official moniker is motel revitalization. We weren't the first people to do it, and it's turned into a bit of a trend. If you're in a hip place like Austin TX or Tucson AZ, it's going on in a few locations at once.
Of course we're not in a hip place, we're in little ol' Raton NM, which we fell in love with due to the fact that it is in a beautiful area, and also cheap. We're cheap, too, so that works!
I'm thinking that some of you might be interested in doing something similar and bringing back an old motel from the dead, or near dead. Ours was only nearly dead, and not in terrible shape, which made the transition not as strenuous or expensive as it could have been.
If you are interested in a motel of your own, there are tons of options around the country, so pick a region that you like and start looking! We found ours on a site for commercial real estate, loopnet.com. Many that are for sale are not listed, and are just sitting on the side of the road with a For Sale by Owner sign stuck next to 'em.
In any case, it's a good excuse to take a for real road trip down the highways and byways until you find your own gem.
Find a place and a property that speaks to you (or maybe is calling you for HELP!!!). You'll probably want to make an honest assessment of what you can afford and how much work you can do yourself. You might not. You might be like us and basically just fly by the seat of your pants and figure out what you are doing as you go along. I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THIS. Or only a little, since it works for us.
Don't be afraid to sell everything you've got and move across the country to follow your dream. So what if you don't know anybody where you're going? We didn't. Now we have a whole wonderful community of friends, and our family and old friends can come see us and we always have room to put 'em up, plus they don't have to stay in our house, so that right there is a BONUS!
Do be excited about all the cool stuff you're gonna do! Finally, all that wonderful, eclectic crap...er...all your treasures will be able to find places to shine. Sharing your love of whatever it is you love is part of the joy of this business.
Indulge all your crazy ideas! People might not get you at first, but as you go along, you start building your tribe of ideal guests. Whether you're like us and just love vintage stuff and old cars and pinups, or you want to showcase art, or movies, or comics or whatever...there are other people out there who will be amazed and thrilled to find you!
If all you have is the seed of a dream, grow it! This idea must have percolated in my head for years, until I retired from my Postal job and realized that hey, I could really do it! I was lucky enough to have a guy who is not only handy but also was ready to pack up for parts unknown and join this nutty adventure. Oh yeah, that's a good point, if you have a significant other, make sure you're both on board with this, or else you just need to run away on your own. I mean, priorities.
Hit us up if you've got a dream and want to throw it around! We might not be the #1 experts in the field, but every day is a leaning experience, and we're happy to share what we know.