What to do for House Maintenance Long Term

5 Replies

Hi all,

I currently own a 2 family home in New Britain, Ct. I do all the maintenance and I plan to do all the maintenance (that I can) with all my future houses up until the point of 15-20 units. My current Multi does not have a shed or garage which makes staying organized with yard equipment ect. not easy. My question to everyone is.... What should I do for storage if my plan is to only be here another year or so and house hack somewhere else? Trying to think of the most logical plan for long term.

1. Buy a shed and keep all equipment at this (current) house? But then have to go back and access it every time work needs to be done at any house?

2. Do not waste money on a shed (at this current house) and use the money to invest in an inexpensive truck and tow equipment from house to house? 

3. Wait until I have my own single family house (could be years from now) to buy a shed and store equipment. 

4. Hire out for snow removal and lawn care and save money on purchasing/ storing equipment. 

The easy solution is to buy a shed and keep it at the house and when I move out move all the equipment. I am just curious what other people have done in a similar situation. Thank you!

It is a tough call. My dad built one of those Home Depot sheds at the first duplex he bought and I remember going back to that thing all the time as a kid to get stuff. If I was in your shoes I would invest in a covered trailer if you are going to be doing lawn and snow work yourself. The trailer will come in handy for other reasons as well. I was lucky in that I had a small storage unit in the first place I bought where I did all of this and was convinced I would never pay someone to do something I could do. Well, that thinking went out the window pretty quick and now I just pay a lawn company. I have a shed in the backyard of my house now with all of my old rental supplies and I hardly go in there anymore. Just for the odd job I take on myself. I only have 5 units but I hire out a lot more work now and eventually you will to. But in the meantime I think a trailer is a good investment for this. Just make sure you get good locks for the ball and the doors and that the doors have a strong locking system. The typical kind that just have a latch that flips over and you put a padlock through are junk. You could have the strongest padlock ever but a thief will just pop the latch off. 

Hey Michael, 

When I was still in CT I was doing all the cleaning, maintenance and lawn mowing at three properties and that took quite a bit of time. It's doable and I could have handled more but your free time disappears quickly and depending on how your significant other views your real estate business, it can get stressful. Eventually, your free time will disappear. To give you some perspective, my lawn guy charges 25$ for my property that is down the street from you. That is basically free. 

To answer your question, I would not built a shed and spend money on it. I would either get it done for 25$ or do your best to store your stuff at your house. Eventually when you get a ton of properties (like I am sure you will) you will not need your equipment any more and you will need to sell it, or junk it, etc. My equipment now is just sitting around unfortunately. If you are dead set on keeping your equipment and cannot keep it on site, I may be able to help you store it. Let me know!

@Michael Doherty I was in this exact situation a decade ago and here is what I did. 

First I would definitely not buy a shed. 

Second, buy an inexpensive push mower and do the lawn maintenance in the property you are living in and outsource the lawn maintenance for the properties that are rentals you are no longer living in. This will not be terribly expensive especially in New Britain where landscapers are a dime a dozen. 

For snow removal I actually did the same thing where I removed the snow from my own home and outsourced my rentals. Reliable snow removal contractors however are not a dime a dozen. Make sure to source them thoroughly.

@Michael Noto great insight's, I appreciate it. I did buy a push lawn mower as well as a weed trimmer and it's worked fine so far. I have been storing the lawn mower outside under a tarp but it would be very easy for someone to walk back there and take it. Someone already store my weed trimmer off my front lawn this year.... so you can see why I was thinking a shed for safe storage. However, I agree with you and outsource snow/lawn for the other units. 

@Ryan Deasy @Peter M. Thank you both for your perspectives. It sounds like everyone is against the shed idea and to outsource this task (easy albeit) because of the opportunity cost essentially. Or to your point Peter think about a trailer, although that could be expensive as well. 

I enjoy doing the work on my own house but I could I could see it becoming cumbersome the more properties I acquire and it may just make sense to build the cost into the numbers.  

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