My first rental property turned nightmare

11 Replies

Rewind to 2019, I bought my first house which was a duplex. I kept the section 8 tenants on the first floor and was planning on occupying the second floor. I decided to start gutting my unit as it was beyond repair. No biggy. Well as I started gutting, it was clear the extent of water damage was never disclosed and obviously hidden. Eh what ever I can handle this. Then a couple months in, I get a call from the building inspector which kicked off a 9 month long battle to do my own electric for my unit wholeness leaving the tenants alone. Long story short, i lost that battle because of “legislative intent.” (Per the letter of the law, I was correct but I digress). As a result, I had to convert it back to a single family home as I could not do any MEP system work. Once I terminated section 8 and started demo on the first floor, I found the water damage to the interior brick extended all the way to the first floor. Both tenants and seller said water issues were stopped (what a lie)  

The picture above is my current project which is replacing a bunch of brick that were basically water damaged clay and simply would not hold the lime plaster (as a first time plasterer, it sucks especially with stuff they used in the late 1800s. Iime sand and horse hair).

So long story short, I bought a money pit that I had to gut to the studs and bricks and redo every aspect of the house. I should have dissembled it and reassembled it brick by brick. Luckily I can do about 95% of the work myself. 

The bad news is it is a "money pit". 

Sorry Greg!

Were you represented by a real estate agent?

Do you have insurance ?  

 Was a home owners policy put in place?

The good news is, if you can do 95% of the work your only out your time and

materials.  If you can fix the structure and brink issues and do your own electrical.

That is great news.

The documents on discloser were not represented with honesty.

The sellers agent is responsible for this.

Your home owners insurance should pick up some of the issues!

Did you have an inspector before purchase?

@Greg Rose so you lost 9 months to the do it yourself idea.  Consider sometimes time is money depending on your intent with the property and a professional repair may have saved you time.  You may also consider a different source of heat depending on the intent for the property and location.   Why did you have to convert to a single family? 

It seems like something this bad would have been caught in a home inspection? I'm sorry to hear it's been such a disaster and hope things get back on track from here on out!

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

It seems like something this bad would have been caught in a home inspection? I'm sorry to hear it's been such a disaster and hope things get back on track from here on out!

this. was that brick wall covered up before?


I was represented by an agent and had multiple inspections (structural and typical home inspection). As for losing time, I consider standing up for freedoms and personal liberty time well spent. 

This property will be my house for a couple years and then rent. It’s in one of the best locations in my area. 

Yes the extent of bad water damage was covered by furred our drywall. I suspect whoever put that drywall up knew the brick was in bad shape

first picture is showing more of the mess. I noticed when I ripped out the furring strips, that the tapcon screws were relatively need. Would you agree there is no way the seller did not know of the severe water damage?

2nd picture is some brick I’ve replaced. Probably will spend 40 hours rebuilding this wall and chimney. 

Originally posted by @Victor S. :

not necessarily. could've been just like you, but not tearing things apart to check. proving somebody knew something is an endeavor in of itself.

inspectors cant see through sheet rock..  and they have disclaimers for this stuff.. agents cant see through sheet rock .. nothing to do here but put it back together and move on.


Brick laying is no joke. Slaking quicklime to lime putty for mortar on site. Mixing in the sand and cement and using historic bricks to try to make it look original. Trying to keep the original character of the building in tack. 

I figure I’ll have 75k and 2.5 years into this property but the appraisal should come in around 550-650k. Would be a profit of about 350k if I sold. (Rooftop deck, garage, and 600 sq ft addition would be the reason for the major jump). Leaning toward a cash out refi and finding 3-4 minor fixer uppers year. I can do everything myself unless I’m not legally allowed to do (ie: electrical and air conditioning). Then I’ll rent it out in 4-5 years once property tax increases dramatically 

A third of a million on one deal in 2.5 years!!

Do that three times and your  a millionaire just on those three deals!!!

Rockstar!   Would be the word!

Your brick work is pretty good man!

Thanks. It’s my first time laying brick and I’m using a mortar mix that almost no one uses and not a whole lot of resources. 

As for the rooftop deck: the picture above is the view from it once it’s on