Just want it to be over!!

14 Replies

Since about April I have been dealing with my first eviction/renovation on one of my properties. For background purposes I'm a fairly new real estate investor. I bought my first rental 3 years out of college and then the next 2 about 2 years ago. Most recently I had to evict a tenant who inherited with a purchase because I caught her stealing water and electric. She denied it and stopped paying rent. FFWD to July I'm able to get her trifling a$$ out the house and assess the damages. My god were there ever so many damages. Not only damages due to the prior slumlord who owned the place, but damages from the tenant purposeful, her low hygienic upkeep. So you all can imagine what I've been dealing with and yes there was a serious cockroach infestation.

So anyway I had/have full fledge renovation on my hands. So I call around to everyone I know and could find to get quotes. Now I’m quite handy. I can do just about anything I put my mind to, but a full renovation was not something I had ever did nor wanted to do. I figured I would do some stuff and pay a contractor to do any major work I wasn’t familiar with, and that I thought shouldn't be done by a jack of all trades. Well that didn’t happen. 80% of the contractors didn’t call me back. The other 20% took their time and when the did show up they tried to rip me off.  So as a finance professional by day I know that time is money, and I had no time to continue losing money.

So of course I started the clean out demo process myself.  What a MISTAKE! Now mind you all I only have the weekends to work and I’m normally doing all the work myself. Sometimes a friend will pop in and give me a hand or like for the cleanout I was able to hire some cheap labor (I had refused to handle some of the tenants furniture). As I completed the cleanout/demo phase I realized I still did not havea contractor and decided well if no one wants my money, I’ll just do the sh1t myself. What a MISTAKE!  

The list of crap to be done is/was insurmountable for 1 handyman alone with only having time on the weekends to work. However, I took on the project anyway. I’ve always done things myself when they needed to be done and I guess I thought this was no different. Here I am 4 months later and ~$4k in I’ still not finished. Don’t get me wrong, the house has came a looooooong way since I began but it’s still not done. The budget is getting tighter and the weather is getting colder here in the Philadelphia area. As I progress in the property I understand more and more why some owners become jack legs or slum lords. The time, cost, materials, labor, and the issues just become overwhelming at times and you just get to the point of I just want it done. I dont care what it looks like as long as its functional it’s fine. I started out with a vision for this property but slowly dropped a lot of those ideas for budget purposes or just because I don’t care anymore. My main focus is only to get it to standard living condition to pass inspection by any means necessary. I just want it to be OVER!

My apologies for any grammatical errors above. I opted making correction.

I wish I could post pictures as well. 

Originally posted by @Jamir G. :

Since about April I have been dealing with my first eviction/renovation on one of my properties. For background purposes I’m a fairly new real estate investor. I bought my first rental 3 years out of college and then the next 2 about 2 years ago. Most recently I had to evict a tenant who inherited with a purchase because I caught her stealing water and electric. She denied it and stopped paying rent. FFWD to July I’m able to get her trifling a$$ out the house and assess the damages. My god were there ever so many damages. Not only damages due to the prior slumlord who owned the place, but damages from the tenant purposeful, her low hygienic upkeep.  So you all can imagine what I’ve been dealing with and yes there was a serious cockroach infestation. 

So anyway I had/have full fledge renovation on my hands. So I call around to everyone I know and could find to get quotes. Now I’m quite handy. I can do just about anything I put my mind to, but a full renovation was not something I had ever did nor wanted to do. I figured I would do some stuff and pay a contractor to do any major work I wasn’t familiar with, and that I thought shouldn't be done by a jack of all trades. Well that didn’t happen. 80% of the contractors didn’t call me back. The other 20% took their time and when the did show up they tried to rip me off.  So as a finance professional by day I know that time is money, and I had no time to continue losing money.

So of course I started the clean out demo process myself.  What a MISTAKE! Now mind you all I only have the weekends to work and I’m normally doing all the work myself. Sometimes a friend will pop in and give me a hand or like for the cleanout I was able to hire some cheap labor (I had refused to handle some of the tenants furniture). As I completed the cleanout/demo phase I realized I still did not havea contractor and decided well if no one wants my money, I’ll just do the sh1t myself. What a MISTAKE!  

The list of crap to be done is/was insurmountable for 1 handyman alone with only having time on the weekends to work. However, I took on the project anyway. I’ve always done things myself when they needed to be done and I guess I thought this was no different. Here I am 4 months later and ~$4k in I’ still not finished. Don’t get me wrong, the house has came a looooooong way since I began but it’s still not done. The budget is getting tighter and the weather is getting colder here in the Philadelphia area. As I progress in the property I understand more and more why some owners become jack legs or slum lords. The time, cost, materials, labor, and the issues just become overwhelming at times and you just get to the point of I just want it done. I dont care what it looks like as long as its functional it’s fine. I started out with a vision for this property but slowly dropped a lot of those ideas for budget purposes or just because I don’t care anymore. My main focus is only to get it to standard living condition to pass inspection by any means necessary. I just want it to be OVER!

My apologies for any grammatical errors above. I opted making correction.

I wish I could post pictures as well. 

 Thank you for sharing your experience. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!!!

How did you catch your tenant stilling utilities ?

Tough going I know as I do all the work myself on flip homes and have dealt with to the stud gut jobs numerous times.

The good thing about this for you is you have learned a extremely valuable lesson, albeit the hard way. The vision you initially had for your property was unrealistic for a rental property and you will not do that again.

Rental properties need to be brought to a basic standard of living, spruced up fresh and pass inspection. Nothing more or less. Landlords that design  and prep to their personal standards, add natural stone counters, SS appliances are all wasting their money unless it is a B+ or higher class.

You may be tired and worn down but you did it. Congratulations for suffering through a education process that all new landlords should be forced to face. It would definatly get their pie in the sky ideas back down to reality and teach them what this business is really about..

  

@Jamir G. I get it. Im new to investing as well, and the hurdles I face are all a learning experience like @Thomas S. mentioned. You seem to take pride in what you do, as do I. But we cant take on everything. 

Just remember, you are doing the best you can... one project at a time. In 20 years it will all be worth it

Aww man thank you all for the awesome feedback and support. I can’t tell y’all how good it feels to hear from those who are in the same business and have gone through or going through the same thing. You all have made my day. 

@Lana Lee where I am the sewage bill is separate but tied to the water consumption. Three billing cycles went by with zero gallons used. Instant red flag of theft. Checked it out and she had cut the cord to the meter. As far as the electric I was there repairing the roof and I had to get close to the electrical drop outside. I saw the wires cut and bypassing the meter. 

@Thomas S. yes a big lesson learned my friend. Sad part my vision was just to do better than landlords had done in places I had lived growing up. I appreciate the experience I’ve gotten though and I’m going to finish strong. Thanks for good feedback.

@Brian Ellis you’re exactly right. We CANNOT take on everything and keeping the 20yr end goal in mind is what keeps me going. It had to be because some days early on with the roach infestation. I said to myself WTF did I get myself into. I have to joker crazy to be doing this. Yet I kept going. Thanks Brian.

@Jamir G. indeed, right now I am dealing with unpaid taxes and water/sewage bills that exceed $1200 dollars. They were supposed to be taken care of prior to the sale, and was told they were. But they weren't, the ball was dropped somewhere. So between that, my current tenant situation, and some inspection problems (unforeseen costs), it will be another month of vacancy on top of the added expenses. I thought I was in the clear with an easy renovation! These hiccups are to be expected though, im ok with it as long as im remaining positive and pro-active. Nothing good ever comes easy, words my father once told me, and words to live by. 

Contrary to popular belief investing in RE isnt all that easy.  If it were everyone would be doing it.

Contrary to popular belief Slumlord type properties have a 90% failure rate for the newbie.  

Whats your plan when you do finish?   Certain type of renters show up at less than desireable properties.  Are you ready for that challenge.

Some think money just isnt there for the newbie.  Its a $$$$pit..  Things really dont get better in these kind of property.  Its drama, drama, and more drama.   Drama being a drain on cash flow.

Originally posted by @Brian Ellis :

@Jamir G. indeed, right now I am dealing with unpaid taxes and water/sewage bills that exceed $1200 dollars. They were supposed to be taken care of prior to the sale, and was told they were. But they weren't, the ball was dropped somewhere. So between that, my current tenant situation, and some inspection problems (unforeseen costs), it will be another month of vacancy on top of the added expenses. I thought I was in the clear with an easy renovation! These hiccups are to be expected though, im ok with it as long as im remaining positive and pro-active. Nothing good ever comes easy, words my father once told me, and words to live by. 

 Isn't it the job of settlement company to make sure those items are paid ? How were you even able to close. Unless ofcourse you signed some kind of paper and took it upon yourself to pay.

@Lana Lee They took care of part of the outstanding balance, but I closed on the property at the beginning of a new billing cycle, so they had missed the previous one with the late fees. 

Wow this is eerily close to my potential scenario, right down to you being in finance and having weekends.

Good for you for sticking it out though, i'm sure the last month has really started to drag on your motivation. But keep it up and I can't wait to hear an update!

Going through some of this myself,  I work full time and purchased a live-in flip.

Estimates in Dallas area beyond gouging so I decided to do my own attic work.. 

my recommendation, is to set realistic expectations of your time in order to avoid the stress of delays.  For example, give your self small but specific task goals for the day: "install fan".  get it done, and anything else is a bonus.  

otherwise, you will  be overwhelmed with what's left to do.. 

Almost every evening I'll have something to do, or prepare.  

Thanks @Shane H. and @Maurice D. for the encouragement and solid advice.

I’m actually at my desk planning my weekend to do list. Top thing this weekend is to finish hanging the kitchen drywall.  Hopefully completing this will help me see the light at the end of the renovation tunnel. 

I don't know if you have much of as budget left, but I've found drywall guys are a dime a dozen around here and if you can bring one on to help you finish for 15-20 an hour, you'll breeze through hanging and finishing that stage :-)

@Jamir G. If you are a finance professional I am sure your time is much better spent finding the labor to finish the job.  Good guys are out there, but I agree they are hard to find.  Another option is that you can sell the property as well.  Property prices seemed to have strong growth in Philly and investors are still buying.

@Irfan Raza while I will agree with you, understanding the time value of money I couldn't afford to sit and wait as contractors didn't get back to me or gave me unreasonable quotes. I've never been afraid of hard work so I jumped right in. I was blue collar before finishing college so what's a little sweat equity. Selling is an option but finishing the property and renting was better option especially when factoring in future cash flows.

Update:

@Shane H. I hung all the kitchen drywall myself this weekend.  Like @Maurice D. said I set 1 goal for myself and finished it. Anything else would have been a bonus.

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