Over the next few weeks, I am going to be working on one of my units. I thought it might be helpful for you to see what being a landlord and property owner really looks like for me. So, I’ll be documenting my progress and thought process as I go through the project. If you have any questions, please comment below.
So, I own an old farmhouse near the downtown area. The original building was built in 1890 and has had several additions since then. It’s about 2,000 square feet total. It’s not a “pretty” building but it’s functional. I purchased it in late 2014.
The owner was asking $100,000 for it and was willing to do an owner carry. I highly doubt anybody could have gotten a bank loan on the property because it doesn’t have a regular foundation, among other problems. Anyway, I purchased it for $85,000 and put $10,000 down and the previous owner is carrying the loan for 20 years.
I had some tenants in one of the units who were ok tenants. They were nice enough people and they generally paid their rent on time. But their version of “clean” was not my version of clean. It started with a rat problem that was not entirely their fault but their standard of living really didn’t help the situation, if you know what I mean.
Also, the pipes to the tub quit working, again, not really their fault, but it was a problem. I had a bid from a plumber who could fix it for $1,200 but it would only be a temporary fix and would involve taking tiles off the walls and turning it into a much bigger job. So, without going into too many details, I spoke with the tenants about the problem, told them they were going to need to find a new place and gave them 60 days notice.
Well, they just moved out three days ago. So on Saturday, I show up to start the demo in the bathroom. They told me they had cleaned the whole apartment. Well, as you’ll be able to tell by the following video and pictures, their version of “clean” is a little different than yours or mine (at least I hope it is!)
So, I knew that I was going to be ripping out the bathroom. I also knew that the carpet was probably going to be shot so I had already planned on ripping that out as well. Here’s a tip to you landlords or future landlords…if you don’t want to replace carpet between every tenant, think about putting in floors that last a little longer. Think tile, wood, laminate, or linoleum.
I try to get away from carpet wherever possible. I like the laminate and vinyl plank options. They are floating floors which means there is no glue or nails to deal with. The installation is fairly simple if you have any DIY abilities.
I’m not sure yet what I am going to do with this unit’s flooring. Laminate works best with a flat and even subfloor. This old apartment has sloping floors and changes in height of between the bedrooms, kitchen, and living areas. What I don’t want to do is put in multiple flooring types. One continuous flooring, especially in something so small is really the ideal situation. But I don’t know that I want to rip up the extra layers of flooring to get to the original subfloor. I do plan on installing vinyl plank in the bathroom. Vinyl plank is waterproof, doesn’t require glue, and is really durable.
Anyway, so the first video showed exactly how the unit was when I first walked in the door.
Here’s the progress I made in about an hour or so.
Another tip, when you are doing any demo work, whether it is in your own home or in a rental property, DON’T GO OVERBOARD with your demo. Ripping things out is relatively quick and easy. But everything you rip out you have to replace. This takes time and money.
I have a hard time with this and I am really trying to be intentional about how much I rip out with this property. Everything is old and could use updating and replacing but I don’t have the time or budget for that at this point. My goal is to get the bathroom in good working order, possibly run some new pipes to get rid of the galvanized stuff, paint, and replace the flooring.
Here’s the progress I made by the end of the afternoon. In total, about 3 hours, including the trip to the dump which took forever since it was a Saturday. It took me an hour just to dump the small pickup load I had.
I’m also having a hard time determining what the budget needs to be for this project. I didn’t expect to have to replace the fridge and the stove so that’s like $1,000 right there. I’m anticipating the bathroom costing about $500 for a new shower stall, toilet, vanity, and flooring.
I wanted to add a closet and move the bathroom door since you have to go through one bedroom to get to it. But I am also trying to keep this apartment in the $700 range for rent (that’s on the low side of rents in my area). It would be easy for me to just rip into everything and gut it down to the studs and subfloor. But then I would want to replace everything including wiring and windows. That would probably push the costs up near $8-10k and that is definitely NOT in the budget.
Oh, one other thing I should mention. I have a $550 deposit from the tenants that I can use towards the repairs. Obviously, they caused more damage than that but it will help anyway.
My next step is to finish gutting the bathroom. It was an add-on at some point in time and the floors are sloping pretty badly. I am going to pull up the floors to expose the floor joists and see what I can do to remedy the problem.