2017 Cleveland Duplex Expenses Exposed

27 Replies

I wanted to share my annual expenses because I had to do a lot of guesstimates before I bought my duplex.  I swear when I asked some investors their expenses they acted like they had amnesia.   Since I have over a year history with my duplex in Cleveland (and before I get amnesia lol), I wanted to share some numbers.

These are averages for my Cleveland Duplex in 2017.  Expenses for your property may vary.  The duplex has 4 occupants and is ~4000 sq ft.  

MONTHLY EXPENSES

Taxes: $208

Taxes are hiiiigh...and my property isn't even in the heights or soccer mom burbs. I've seen some mediocre homes that have annual taxes of $6000 +. These taxes can surpass some HOA fees!

Gas: $140

Brrrrrr...You better believe it gets cold here in Cleveland!  And it stays cold for a long time.  My duplex has hot water radiators.  Also my duplex is gigantic (4000 sq. ft).  Gas expense is a big deal in the midwest.  I remember my California days when my gas bill was negligible.. like $10-15.  

Sewer and Storm Drain: $80

In Cleveland they itemize separately Sewer and Storm Drain. To be honest, I think it's because the city is having to fix a lot of the archaic sewer drains. I always see the city crew working on the streets and replacing the old system, digging to China and back.

Water: $60

Water and Sewer is separate but you dial the same number to contact them. 

Insurance:  $120

Gives us that peace of mind.

Lawn-care: $35

I pay my lawn guy $30 dollars per cut and he does a really good job.  Pretty grid lines and clean edges.  Your frequency may vary from mine and typically start from April/May to November/December.  

Just a quick post for someone who might be doing the calculations on their deal in Cleveland.  It's just a ballpark of what your Cleveland Duplex expenses could look like.  The bigger pockets calculators goes more in depth with cap ex., vacancy etc.  I highly recommend it!

Let me know if you have any questions.

If you have a duplex, share your numbers and other miscellaneous expenses!  Do you think my numbers are wonky?

Thanks,

Andrew

@Andrew A.

Good idea to compare expenses. Mine are similar so I will list the ones that are different:

Gas: Tenants pay this. So $0 expense for me
Sewer: $125 .. much higher than yours
Insurance: $80 ... lower than yours. You should shop around
Tax: $158. I was paying $216 but I contested my tax based on purchase price and my taxes were lowered.
Mowing: $33/mow and usually takes 2 mows/month

That's a huge duplex.  Is it near Edgewater or Riverside Dr?

Insurance does seem high.  Is there a common boiler or separate for each unit?  I would see if separating or billing back the gas would be possible for you.

James Maradits, Real Estate Agent

@Avi Garg Awesome.  Thanks so much for your response!  It's always good to compare and contrast numbers.  Did you contest the taxes via online?  I really should do this as well as my neighbors are paying substantially less.  I wish I did this the moment I bought the duplex..lesson learned.

@James Maradits Yes it's very big.  

Not near edgewater it's near the zoo.  There's a common boiler for both units :(.  Instead of having the administrative task of calculating and splitting and billing gas each month, I decided to simply factor that into the rent.  

Thanks!

Andrew

Originally posted by @Andrew A. :

@James Maradits Yes it's very big.  

Not near edgewater it's near the zoo.  There's a common boiler for both units :(.  Instead of having the administrative task of calculating and splitting and billing gas each month, I decided to simply factor that into the rent.  

Thanks!

Andrew

 That makes sense.

Now is the time to file a complaint with the board of revisions to have your taxes reevaluated.  Very easy to do online here.

James Maradits, Real Estate Agent

Thanks for the post @Andrew A. and @Avi Garg . I closed on a duplex in Cleveland Heights on December 26th. I haven't received water/sewer bills yet, but now I have an idea how much they'll be. Tenants pay for gas. 

I am paying $73/month for insurance and $242/month for taxes.

Miguel

@Andrew A.   @Avi Garg    for comparison purposes, 1800 sq ft Lakewood 2-family  $1400 monthly rent

$275 tax, $53 insurance, average $53 water and sewer.  The yard is postage stamp size and I've always had one of the tenants cut it in exchange for a small rent discount (could be getting $1425-$1450).   Tenants pay all other utilities.

The killer in the city of Cleveland is water/sewer.  My singles are all running $75-$100 per month.  Luckily I included a clause in my rental agreement that makes anything over $75/month the tenants responsibility (I bill them each month they go over) to maintain a fixed cost.   

Don't forget repairs maintenance/capital improvement.  My Lakewood 2-family was a total rehab top to bottom so have minimal repair expense, but still think in terms of $100/month for that category.  I generally wind up with some misc items that total at least $500-$600 annually...and even if I don't, putting aside $1200/yr for major expense (roof, furnace, floors) has worked for me.  Along with utilities, taxes and insurance its probably also a good idea to survey what others have experienced in terms of maintenance costs.....but it really depends what they started with so its more than just getting a number.

@Don Petrasek

Thanks so much for sharing.    It's great to compare notes.  

I hear you on the water/sewer/storm drain fee.  I pay average $140/month.  It's a bit ridiculous.  

Since the lease is up for the tenants and now it's month to month, do you recommend that incorporate the fees into an increased rent or itemize it separately?  I just don't want to have additional administrative tasks every month to bill extra for Gas/Water etc.  Gas is one boiler for both units.

@Miguel Nava Thanks for sharing your numbers thus far!  Yea any of the "Heights" have high taxes.  You can also call Cleveland Water & Sewer (and Storm Drain) to get previous bills.  Sometimes they can't pull them up because it's account specific but worth a try.  From my experience, it's the Sewer and Storm that costs more than water.

@James Maradits   I'll get on that!!!  My neighbors are paying like 1500 less in taxes but it might be based on square footage.  My duplex again is a 4000 sq ft Goliath.  Huge.

@Andrew A.  despite the extra admin work, I recommend putting a cap on water/sewer and billing the diff to the tenant.  Otherwise you’re still assuming a fixed cost and there’s no consequence for the tenant running up the bill.  The bill miraculously goes down the next month every time I collect an overage.  

Have a double in Garfield Heights
1800 sq feet , 2 adults , 1 baby .
Insurance 61.00
Tax 282 ouch !
Trash sewer 65
Water 38
Snow/plow 100 so far this winter
Haven't had the place in the spring summer but got quotes around 30-35 cut. Great idea about giving tenants a discount for cut and snow plow , just have to make sure they are doing it !

@Don Petrasek

I would love to pay $53 water and sewer in lakewood for 2 units .. For my quad in Lakewood, I am paying ~$250 .. started to install the high efficiency toilets

@Avi Garg   you may not need new toilets- a bad flapper or leaky flush valve in one toilet will really drive your bill up and are simple cheap fixes.  My up unit had a bad flapper (sometimes would close, sometimes not) and my bill doubled.  And the down unit tenant is the one who actually reported it....said he heard water running upstairs all the time.  Apparently up unit tenant was never home, so the toilet running all the time never bothered her.

@Andrew A.

Great thread! This really helps for someone looking to buy in the Cleveland area! I like the returns but keep going back & forth on the taxes. Good to know they can be contested.

Having to pay for water & sewer sucks.

Thanks Alex, the contesting taxes based on purchase price was new to me too!  We both learned something lol.

Water Sewer AND Storm Drain. Yes it sucks but Don has mentioned you can put a limit on water bill covered by landlord and an excess tenant pays. 

Originally posted by @Alex Corral :

Andrew A.

Great thread! This really helps for someone looking to buy in the Cleveland area! I like the returns but keep going back & forth on the taxes. Good to know they can be contested.

Having to pay for water & sewer sucks.

Originally posted by @Andrew A. :

Thanks Alex, the contesting taxes based on purchase price was new to me too!  We both learned something lol.

Water Sewer AND Storm Drain. Yes it sucks but Don has mentioned you can put a limit on water bill covered by landlord and an excess tenant pays. 

Originally posted by @Alex Corral :

Andrew A.

Great thread! This really helps for someone looking to buy in the Cleveland area! I like the returns but keep going back & forth on the taxes. Good to know they can be contested.

Having to pay for water & sewer sucks.

 Sharing my #s for my 2 duplexes

#1  Marmore ave, parma, 2140 sq ft duplex 100k purchase price

Rent: 1430$

Taxes: 231$ PM

Insurance coverage (cash value 107k 3k deductible 9k loss of rent coverage) : 85$ PM

Water :    28.3$ avg PM (net sum $340 last 12 months)

Sewer :  50.61$ avg PM(net sum $607 last 12 months)

Gas: tenants pay

Lawn: 33$ per cut, 14 cuts over last 12 months

#2 Fulton Pkway, old brooklyn 77k purchase price

Rent: 1300

Taxes: 139$ PM (filed for reduction using comparables)

Insurance coverage (cash value 90k 3k deductible 7.8k loss of rent coverage) : 72$ PM

Water: 62.8$ avg PM (net sum $754last 12 months), water bill higher than my parma duplex

Sewer : 65.35$ avg PM(net sum $784last 12 months)

Gas: tenants pay

Lawn: 33$ per cut, 14 cuts over last 12 months

@Don Petrasek, your insurance is lower, who is the provider and how is the coverage relative to mine.

Also folks, any ideas how to contest for taxes on my Parma duplex. The appraised value is 102k and the market value is higher, so don't know how to contest.

  • We have 6 duplexes in akron; the following are averages 2550 square feet (1275/unit) Water, sewer, trash is 131/ month (65.50/unit) Taxes $200/month 100/unit Insurance is 80/month (40/unit) Rental registration fee $2.50/month (1.25/unit)
  • Mowing- we bought a big zero turn and our handyman mows; cost is $100/month (24 months) zero interest for mower. It takes handyman 2-2.5 hours at $12 / hour. We were paying $125/mow from landscaping co.
  • Snow plowing: we bought an atv with a plow package because we are buying more units in the area. $7000 over 5 yrs (160/month). Right now we have one parking lot and 6 drives. We are soon expecting a long private drive (with 16 garages) + anther parking lot and four more driveways. We are currently looking for a local supplier of liquid calcium chloride. We paid for 24 hours of plowing and salting this year $300 labor, $400 calcium chloride pellets. We estimate our plowing costs from a company would have been about $2000 for the season. We expect the atv to have a resale value of $4000 when it is paid for.
  • We are in the process of submetering to get out of the water/sewer biz.

I just paid my first water and sewer bill on a new Old Brooklyn duplex and I am not sure what happened. I have another duplex in Old Brooklyn where I have been paying around $37 a month for water and around $18 a month for sewer. This second duplex I just paid $160 for water and $266 for sewer. Any idea on how there could be such a huge discrepancy especially with the sewer payments?

Originally posted by @Ken Virzi :

I just paid my first water and sewer bill on a new Old Brooklyn duplex and I am not sure what happened. I have another duplex in Old Brooklyn where I have been paying around $37 a month for water and around $18 a month for sewer. This second duplex I just paid $160 for water and $266 for sewer. Any idea on how there could be such a huge discrepancy especially with the sewer payments?

 I would first request the old billing for the address. Are they hitting you for the past-due balance of the previous owner(s)? I hope not.

Originally posted by @Terry Miller :
Originally posted by @Ken Virzi:

I just paid my first water and sewer bill on a new Old Brooklyn duplex and I am not sure what happened. I have another duplex in Old Brooklyn where I have been paying around $37 a month for water and around $18 a month for sewer. This second duplex I just paid $160 for water and $266 for sewer. Any idea on how there could be such a huge discrepancy especially with the sewer payments?

 I would first request the old billing for the address. Are they hitting you for the past-due balance of the previous owner(s)? I hope not.

 Called the water dept and apparently the month before I bought it they were averaging 74 gallons a day and in January on they have been averaging 740 gallons a day. So now we need to find the leak or see if the toilets are running non stop.

@Ken Virzi   Did you end up finding the source of the 74o gallons a day?  Wow

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