Long distance owner: How to have prop man do major repair right?

4 Replies

Looking for advice:

We have a rental house in Alabama.  Wife used to own it as her primary residence before we moved away and turned it into a rental.  We use a rental management company in Birmingham to manage our property.

Long story short.  We have an issue with water around the front door.  It has caused major rot and we already had to replace joists under the flooring a few years ago and the issue is reoccurring.  We inspected the home in July and the tenant showed us the hole in the floor by the front door. Bottom line, we have a water intrusion issue that is causing some major wood damage to the front of the house.  

We've spent about $1k with our existing property management company on repairs in the past few months, but their in-house repair team did not address the issue.

Right now we have a trust issue.  We want the root cause of the problem addressed and the problem fixed for good but we are not sure our property management company can manage this repair and/or stick us with unnecessary costs and/or no guarantee of reoccurence.  

Do you think a property management company can handle this sort of stuff?  Or do we need to fly up there and get a hotel and have to supervise this in person as far as interviewing contractors, etc.?  

@Michael Zagorsky A property management company can certainly handle this. Now can yours handle it? That’s another question I don’t have the answer to. It sounds like you have a water drainage issue. You probably need to drain the water away from the front of the house as well as fixing the existing damage. If you don’t think your PM can handle this, it’s probably time for a new PM

@Michael Zagorsky  

Some random thoughts that may help.

1. Do you or the wife have any contacts up that way that may be able to ask around for the correct contractor to perform work.

2. Reach out to the Local REIA and ask for any suggestions on contractors.

3. Have some detailed photos taken and you call around and find someone you are comfortable with. 

4. Use the towns name in this post as to ping on keywords that are set up by fellow BP'ers. If it's a small town use the MSA.  

I understand you predicament. In my local market it's hard to find guys that do good work. Hell if they just show up on time your happy. This leads to me doing a lot of the work myself. With that being said I would hold off until you find someone your comfortable with. Talking with the contractors over the phone should be enough. 

By the way you are correct, this is why you pay for property management, they should be able to handle it. If you are having other concerns with them it may be time to go shopping.

It sounds like you need a rain diverter over the front door on the roof. You can get them at Lowe's for $15-20. Google rain diverter. Your issue is very common & a rain diverter is the solution. If it has been doing a while the water can degrade the concrete, wood, grass, etc to the point it flows in the direction of the house & begins to puddle. If there are no water issues on the ceiling the diverter is the solution. If you have ceiling issues you may need a new roof or replace the area at the front door.