… it’s 2013 & we are landlords. Didn’t plan to, but somehow we did make it happen. Long story short- we moved to VA for some great new jobs and had to leave our house in Pittsburgh, even though we were only half done with various projects. We spiffy-ed it up to put on the market where it stayed- us stubborn on our price point- for about 7 months until the move was upon us in October and we were facing either an empty house sitting on the market over winter while we fretted down in VA about whether the roof had caved in or a pipe had frozen or some other catastrophe was occurring unbeknownst to us… or we could make it a home for some nice family that would look after it and pay us money to boot.
The latter plan won and we made up a series of Craigslists ads and met with folks on weekends to show the place. From the get-go we had applications for interested parties and used the US Real Estate Investors Association tenant screening service (BBB approved) to check out the applicants. It is comforting to realize that you do not have to hand your keys over to the first people that walk in with a check, but can really set some credit/income/etc criteria and stick to them. (That was the hard part- sticking to it even when someone “seemed so nice”).
Once we had our lease signed, like any reasonable landlords, we decided to use the 48 hours we had in Pittsburgh to destroy the basement bathroom. This little dungeon of a bathroom hadn’t been touched since we moved in because we always planned on totally gutting it if we stayed, so it wasn’t really worth a lot of effort until that time came. Then once we were on the market, we couldn’t really make big messes, especially while Chad was working out of town, etc etc.
So, no guts, no glory, we went for it. We simply took everything out so we could freshen it up with some new, less hideous wallpaper (the walls are actually just plywood so paint alone was not an option) and new floor tiles. This plan was basically lots of work in a very short time, but for very little $. Old leaks from behind the toilet (fixed soon after we moved in) and badly adhered tile on the cement floor had left the floor in bad condition for awhile. So here’s what things looked like Saturday evening- forgive all the bad photos which were from an iPhone.
Every project has something that goes wrong and ends up taking way too much time. For us, it was the toilet hole… well, specifically the flange that attaches the toilet to the floor. Ours was laid into the concrete floor and then broke mid-project while we were reinstalling the toilet. Thanks to some web searching and a trip to Home Depot, we came up with this flange repair piece that has little wings off the side so you can drive it into the concrete floor right over top of the old one. After about 4-6 hours of various toilet install perils, and about 6 trips to HD, we finally got to this point of putting the bathroom back together!
Tada, clean and new. Still just a super basic basement corner bathroom, but much nicer and cleaner looking. And you could launch to the moon off of that toilet now and it isn’t going anywhere.
We’re excited and hopeful about our new landlord-dom and will keep you posted on what we learn along the way. I’m kind of glad we still get to tinker on projects in our old house perioically, even if it is for another family. Hopefully they enjoy the home as much as we did. Anybody else have rental property? We’re happy to hear any tips you have!