Advice please - too many issues!

4 Replies

Hi BP Community,

I'm looking for some advice, guidance, words of encouragement, or words that'll set me straight. 

I bought a multifamily just under 2 years ago in hudson county, NJ. The house is 100 years old. We were from Queens and were expecting and everything was just cheaper on this side of the river, including daycare, by a lot. Our house is a 4 family. We live on the 1st floor, the 2nd floor is legally split into 2 different units, and a basement. We looked at maybe 20 houses in the area and surrounding neighborhoods, many of them were not in great shape for our price range. This one had live-in owners and at the time, looked like it was well taken care of. Since we got it, the furnace caught fire and needed replacement, we've had our bathroom leak into the basement, a 2nd floor bathroom leak into our unit, roach problems that we still can't get rid of after using 3 different companies, other plumbing issues, and electrical issues as well. Now, our basement tenant just sent us a picture of their living room wall which is completely water damaged. The other side of the wall is their shower so I'm waiting on a contractor to come tell me what the problem is.

Last year, we had some money saved up and wanted to invest in more property but due to our experience in our house, we decided it may be easier to get a condo instead. So we did. And since then, we've had our bathtub plumbing leak into the floor below, we've had to replace the toilet because water was coming up after flushing, and now we're having kitchen plumbing issues as well.

I don't know if it's just the area, or if i'm just making bad choices when i review these properties. but after 2 years, we haven't made any money since we're spending significantly more than the rent brings in to fix all these problems. Wife and I are getting really sick of all of the issues, we've throw around the idea of selling everything at a severe loss and moving in with her parents. 

Does anyone else have these experiences where it just seems that the issues never stop? Any advice to give?

@Account Closed seems like a lot of headache there right? Hang in there if you can. These turn of the century houses are problematic. You have to get some good inspectors who know these type of houses to help you with the initial inspection. Without knowing the market, I don't know if you can negotiate much with the seller. But typically you have to budget the fix up cost when you make the offer as well. 

After every storm comes a rainbow!


I live in a historical money pit and I have had epic issues as well but I've also had tremendous property appreciation...higher than I could have gotten anywhere else.  And, you're problems all sound to be plumbing related.  The roach issue is just a by-product of all that is wet.  My recommendation is to find a skilled handyman and not only use him to fix what is currently wrong - but take preventative measures as well.  Have the basement walls had a waterproof sealant applied yet?  Has every toilet been checked and fixed/replaced if not working/filling properly?  Faucets?  Are all the bathtubs caulked, the pans checked for leakage?  Is the water heater within 12 years old?  What about dishwashers, washer/dryers - are they secure and do they have a pan or drip surface to keep those from damaging floors/walls?  The AC drip lines should be away from the property and nothing should be dripping next to the foundation of the house.  All these items cost so little (caulk is a couple of dollars, toilet kits about $16) but save you from much larger and expensive damage when not checked.  

There are a lot of sites like this one which gives a list of things to check to avoid water damage:

Again, do everything you can to make sure that all your properties have had proper maintenance (do it every year). You wouldn't drive your car without oil so why utilize your property without basic care. Go on the offense and watch your experience and ROI grow.

You've got this...

@Account Closed   Patricia has good advice.  Be proactive.  It appears to mostly be centered on plumbing.  Changing out toilets and replacing caulking is easy enough to do.   You bought a house that needs a bit of work.  Even living in a 4 unit, I wouldn't expect to be living for free.

@Account Closed if it is in a good area you should have seen significant growth in value, my advise hang on and learn the basics of being a handyman that how you can do some small work yourself ans more importantly not to get ripped of by contractors, oh and if you want to sell it at a loss i will buy it gladly.