After building hundreds of homes throughout St. Charles Parish over the course of his career, local builder and real estate investor Sidney Stabile’s accomplishments have left an indelible mark on the local community.
Reflecting on his journey, Stabile reminisced on his early days in the real estate industry.
Stabile grew up working summer jobs as a teenager in construction and real estate, work he said he always enjoyed and would later circle back to as an adult. He first began his adult career employed at the local Waterford Three plant in the early 1980s, but later decided the timing was right to strike out with his own construction firm.
“I just took a leap of faith, while I wasn’t married, and didn’t have a lot of bills,” Stabile said. “I resigned from that [Waterford plant] position and started a painting and roofing company in 1987.”
His painting and roofing contracting company later led Stabile to enter into new construction and remodeling work. From 1987 until a few years ago, Stabile and his company Touch of Class Homes built hundreds of homes throughout St. Charles Parish, with his last two projects in Livingston Parish.
In the last five years, Stabile said he has made a significant shift in his focus, transitioning to property management of the various residential and commercial properties in his real estate portfolio.
“Everything I own is in St. Charles Parish, and I rent them all locally,” Stabile mentioned, utilizing local agent Regina Allemand to help keep his units fully leased.
When asked about his motivation for working in real estate, Stabile attributed it to his passion and general enjoyment of the work.
“I just enjoy doing it,” he said. “My biggest asset was timing. In the early nineties, the real estate market took off. The interest rates were right, the materials were the right price – it’s all in timing.”
Stabile’s impeccable timing allowed him to seize opportunities and build a thriving business.
However, Stabile acknowledged that his journey has not been without challenges. Hurricane Ida and skyrocketing insurance rates have since posed significant hurdles for the local area’s rental market.
“We’ve been trying to hold the market for rentals down as long as we could, but the insurance industry has really hurt us,” he lamented.
Rising insurance costs have made it difficult to maintain affordable rental rates, Stabile said, and change in the insurance industry is needed in order for real estate to become more affordable.
He emphasized that the pricing of materials and insurance has made homeownership difficult to achieve for many families seeking to own a home for the first time.
For new real estate developers and investors just entering into the real estate industry, Stabile offered valuable advice following his own experiences as a real estate investor after Hurricane Ida.
“Check your numbers carefully and make sure you allow for the fluctuation of insurance,” he advised. “I think the insurance market is more of a problem for a newcomer than interest rates, because you can make a plan with what your interest rate is…you can’t make a plan for the difference in insurance [when the insurance company] is going up $30,000 in one year on one complex.”
Stabile praised St. Charles Parish as a great place to live, crediting the exceptional school system for attracting new residents.
“I think I’ll credit a lot of my success in the building industry to the St. Charles Parish School system,” he acknowledged. “It seems everybody wants to be here, and I’ve had so many people come from New Orleans and build a very nice home and put money into their home instead of into private schools, just due to the fact that St. Charles Parish had such a great school system.”