Bulletproof a property?

15 Replies

I heard someone saying whenever they purchased a SF investment, they "bulletproof" it by removing the dishwasher, garbage disposal and automatic garage door to reduce maintenance issues. Wondering if anyone had experience doing that and what their experience was. Thanks!

I rehab to reduce maintenance.  The only think I have ever removed so I didn't have to worry about it was a doorbell.

This is one of those things that absolutely has to depend on your market and you target tenants.  I have very middle-class SFRs.  Nothing fancy, but people will absolutely expect a dishwasher, and not providing one would put me at a disadvantage.  Most people here do not have disposals because about 75% of this county is on septic systems, and so that would not be expected.  If you have a usable garage, you have a garage door opener.

I have actually done almost the opposite of what you are suggesting.  When I moved out of a personal residence and made it a rental, I actually took my old appliances with me and bought new ones for the rental.  To reduce maintenance calls and so they would be under warranty.

The bulletproofing I have done:

Replace vinyl flooring with thru-body porcelain;

New plumbing.  I have only replaced the supply-side on two, but the waste side on all.  Entirely, right down to the exit drain in the basement.

Flooring.  I use actual, 3/4" nailed in place oak flooring.  Engineered is a lot cheaper up front, but the real stuff can be re-finished a dozen times and can last decades.

Provide nice-quality welcome mats at each door, and floor mats inside each door.  The tenants will probably use them if they are there, but may well not buy them if they are not.  Consider it an investment in protecting your floors.

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Here are some things I do that don't cost a ton of money:  Put vinyl under all sinks, at the cabinet base.  Even run it a little long and go up the back wall a bit.  Replace all sink supply lines and toilet supply lines with braided stainless.  Stick with high sheen paints inside that wash well.  Avoid fridges that have water/ice hook-ups. I don't even like ranges with electronic controls.    Flush your water heater and make sure gutter downspouts drain water away from the house.  @Richard C.  , good idea on the welcome mats!  I even provide area rugs and runners I pick up cheap to place on my wood/laminate floors.

I always install dishwashers. 

If it were low-income I wouldn't. 

Never get a fridge with an icemaker. 

Buy guaranteed for life plumbing fixtures. 

Waterproof under sinks. 

Ceramic tile. 

Minimize carpet. 

Use old cabinet doors as acess panels. 

Add shutoffs when re-doing supply lines,  especially if you have multiple bathrooms. (when there's a leak on a Friday,  it's pretty easy to guide a tenant through turning off a ball valve over the phone and waiting for Monday) 

I don't like galvanized or cpvc supply pipes (pex when i need to replace) 

Braided stainless supply risers. 

Quarter turn shut-offs. I have very hard water and proactively replace every shut-off in a house. 

Cheap Wood trim (generally MDF ripped on my tablesaw)  for doorways where furniture moving damage is likely. (About as quick for me as corner-bead anyway) 

@Richard C.  and @Steve Vaughan  thanks for the quick replies yesterday. and @Michael Herr   - all really good ideas that I will copy and save in Evernote for this next property I have my eye on - Two of my biggest bills have been water related so am going to pay special attention to those tips - and pass these on to my contractor buddy. @Chris K.  thanks for link. will read that now. and Account Closed I vacillated about the title, but it's what my friend called it and seemed pretty fitting after I understood!

Originally posted by Account Closed:

When I saw the title, I figured this was going to be about a warzone rental. 

 Me too, I thought it would be a discussion on Kelvar sidings.

Originally posted by @Bill Sargeson :

@Michael Herr where have you seen guaranteed for life plumbing fixtures? 

 Where have you not seen guaranteed for life plumbing fixtures? 

They are at Lowes,  Home Depot,  Menards,  True Value, Ace,  local places. 

Anything Delta or price pfister is guaranteed for life. 

I get Delta everything now, it was too much work taking back the lesser brands for a free new one. 

note: The hard water in my area is pretty abusive on things. 

Originally posted by @Bill Sargeson :

@Michael Herr , the fixture itself might lifetime but not the parts(o rings and such)...if a faucet starts leaking after 3 years you can't get free replacement parts.

Actually I can. 

I  have hard water in my area,  so I only buy cartridge style faucets. They are about $25 to buy the replacement cartridge .  I get them for free, but rarely need to replace them for Delta faucets.   

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Originally posted by @Bill Sargeson :

@Michael Herr  where have you seen guaranteed for life plumbing fixtures? 

Yeah, right. Reminds me of what our plumber told us. "There's two kinds of plumbing... plumbing that leaks and plumbing that's gonna leak." Ain't that true! Of course, if it's the good stuff, it might not leak for 50 years.

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