Hi all! This is my first post and I’m excited to say I’m close to closing on my first property (single family home) with plans to renovate and rent! My question for all of those who are farther along in the process than I am, what is one thing you wish you had known before closing on your first house? Any/all feedback and advice welcome!!
We have flipped 3 houses and are about to close on our 8th rental property. Here are a few things to think about.
(1) When you renovate, don't try to make it into your dream home. When it comes to looks, be minimalistic. The tenants will want to decorate it to their taste. They don't need you to tell them what color to like.
(2) Always replace the toilets with brand new ones. You can get a good toilet that flush strongly for $80 each. A leaky toilet has the potential to ruin your house. Just replace the damn toilets. And always buy the extra thick wax ring. Don't ever use the really thin ring that comes with the new toilet. This is an area where you will pay $100 just to save $1.
(3) Don't try to go cheap with the electrical and plumbing hardware. When in doubt, just replace it. We make it a priority for us to replace all the water valves and electrical switches and outlets. P-traps are also a likely problem area. Just replace them. Don't try to be cheap and try to caulk your way out of a leak. A p-trap under the sink costs $2. A leak will cost you $500 or more in repairs. If the water heater is getting old, replace it! An old rusted water heater can flood the whole floor or your basement. If you look hard enough, a good 40 gal water heater brand new you can get for $250.
(4) And finally, learn to do a lot of these things yourself. Around where I am, it costs about $70 just to have a plumber come out for a damn leak under the sink. You can avoid all of this by replacing the potential problem stuff before a tenant moves in. Even if you don't want to do the work, you need to know the ins and outs of these things to check the work of your contractors. I can't tell you how many contractors I've encountered who tried to price gouge something because they thought I didn't know any better. It does not cost $200 to fix a p-trap leak under the sink. Replacing a water valve does not cost $500. Learn these things for yourself.
@NA N. Thank you so much. I’ve seen some of the long-term cost of cutting corners early on, and this is a good reminder as to why I can’t let myself fall into that same trap! Much appreciated.