Constant disasters
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Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Nov 3, 2018 10:55 AM
       Constant disasters (by Jason [PA]) Nov 3, 2018 11:00 AM
       Constant disasters (by Jason [PA]) Nov 3, 2018 11:02 AM
       Constant disasters (by S i d [MO]) Nov 3, 2018 11:02 AM
       Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Nov 3, 2018 11:11 AM
       Constant disasters (by fred [CA]) Nov 3, 2018 11:32 AM
       Constant disasters (by David [MI]) Nov 3, 2018 11:49 AM
       Constant disasters (by LisaFL [FL]) Nov 3, 2018 11:55 AM
       Constant disasters (by Steve [MA]) Nov 3, 2018 12:18 PM
       Constant disasters (by CX [WA]) Nov 3, 2018 12:19 PM
       Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Nov 3, 2018 12:23 PM
       Constant disasters (by David [MI]) Nov 3, 2018 12:27 PM
       Constant disasters (by myob [GA]) Nov 3, 2018 1:08 PM
       Constant disasters (by WMH [NC]) Nov 3, 2018 2:13 PM
       Constant disasters (by Tom [FL]) Nov 3, 2018 4:52 PM
       Constant disasters (by dlb [GA]) Nov 3, 2018 6:03 PM
       Constant disasters (by myob [GA]) Nov 3, 2018 6:30 PM
       Constant disasters (by Robert J [CA]) Nov 3, 2018 7:31 PM
       Constant disasters (by myob [GA]) Nov 4, 2018 5:09 AM
       Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Nov 4, 2018 5:10 AM
       Constant disasters (by LisaFL [FL]) Nov 4, 2018 5:30 AM
       Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Nov 4, 2018 5:37 AM
       Constant disasters (by David [MI]) Nov 4, 2018 8:11 AM
       Constant disasters (by J [FL]) Nov 4, 2018 8:41 AM
       Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Nov 4, 2018 1:18 PM
       Constant disasters (by Robert J [CA]) Nov 4, 2018 2:25 PM

Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 10:55 AM

It seems like landlording revolves around going from one building/maintenance disaster to the next. Many of which, can't be solved with preventative maintenance.

I have 2 now that are strange. The one is a random hole in a roof. Water marks on a closet ceiling. Tore the ceiling out and can see sky out through the OSB on the roof of a 2nd story house. Random hole. Something hit it from above. No sign of a branch anywhere. No tenant access to the roof. Whole roof system is only 8 years old. Rafters, OSB, shingles.

Another is a 2nd bout with mold showing THROUGH a solid white plastic shower surround. Don't ask me how. Nothing on the surface to clean. Mold behind it showing through solid plastic. So I'll be changing the shower surround completely.

Broken circulator pump last week at one unit, broken automatic chimney damper at another unit. A separate leak inside a 1st floor apartment closet due to a clogged gutter elbow on the 2nd story. Undiscovered for some time by the tenant. Closet all moldy.

This business is literally maintenance, maintenance, maintenance interrupted by occasional emergencies.

Little more complicated than "call the man and write the check"

Constant disasters (by Jason [PA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 11:00 AM

After 20 years doing it all myself or casual labor help,there is no end in sight for me doing maintenance in house

Constant disasters (by Jason [PA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 11:02 AM

And over those 20 years I had 49 units at once,currently 37

Constant disasters (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 11:02 AM

Now you know why the folks who make big money in this business are either flippers who hold onto properties for less than a year or RTO sellers who push all the maintenance onto the tenant/buyers.

Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 11:11 AM

Jason, I agree. The circulator pump is a $75 part and the company charged me $374 to repair. The chimney damper diagnosis was $75 for them to just go out. I haven't got that bill yet.

The hole in the roof would've be anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 to hire out if it went the full course with it. Drywall, insulation and Mold removal and disposal. OSB patch, shingle patch, replace insulation, rehang drywall, finish and paint. 2-3 different crews most likely. I'll do it in a day with materials on hand,

The shower liner would be several hundred to hire out. I'll do that in a morning.

The clogged gutter would've been $1,000 at least to hire out. Clean the gutter, is one guy. Install flashing and tar another guy, maybe the same. Remove the mold, a certified company, paint the closet another guy. I did the gutter and tar work in about an hour and then after the following rain storm to verify leak was resolved, I did the mold remidiation and painting in 45 minutes.

It's routine at this point and I'm set up for it, but there are a lot of unpredictable maintenance issues for sure.

Constant disasters (by fred [CA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 11:32 AM

Since 1976...I've seen and done them all. Often I asked myself "Why do I get so much work?" and answered immediately: "Because I can tackle any job".

NE, just go with the flow and let it be. You are pretty DIY and save.

Tenants live pay check to pay check, we live disaster to disaster.

Constant disasters (by David [MI]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 11:49 AM

Hahaha, not as bad as $7k on repairing the sewer from basement wall to city main, about a month ago. And yes, some of you will say you can do it yourself for a few hundred bucks renting the backhoe and $10 in PVC but this was down to the basement floor and a giant hole in the front yard gets the city's attention faster than anything

When I first started buying rentals, I was very cautious and I had plumber do a video inspection of the sewer line during inspection process. Then I just did it after closing. Then I stopped together and just let my inspection do his thing of flushing toilets and letting full laundry tubs drain and see if anything came up the floor drain (this caught a bad drain line once).

And so, out of over 20 rentals that are all old enough for medicare, one of them (3 years into being a rental) required a sewer repair. And so that is the lesson I wanted to share, well over half and probably about 3/4 of my rentals haven't had an unexpected four figure expense like the kind NE shared. The expenses I put into them are basically the initial renovation, routine maintance and repairs, painting, and planned updates. When you invested like this, you lose some here, make a lot there and it all averages out.

PS I'll be writing this off as a repair as this is what the plumber wrote it is! suck it IRS!

Constant disasters (by LisaFL [FL]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 11:55 AM

NE you summed that up well. I can't win when it comes to minimizing maintenance either.

Had one recently that was leaking in the kitchen (water seeping out from under the short L side of the kitchen. The wall had a bathroom on the other side. Screened porch off the long side. Refrigerator on the end of the long side. Of course it happens when I'm out of town.

Plumber went out. Could not find a leak anywhere. Had to remove kitchen cabinets. He felt it was a roof leak. Roof was new (six months old). Sent roofer over who claimed no issue with roof. Kept happening. Tenant wants cabinets put back and I explained we had to determine the source of water first. Then tenant claims it's more noticeable after a heavy rain. Begged roofer to check again. Roofer find the source of the problem! It was the refrigerator. The water was traveling along the base of the entire cabinets and seeping out at the lowest point which was all the way on the other side of the kitchen.

Recently had a sewer issue elsewhere that after multiple "fixes" to no avail we had to reroute the whole thing and put in a new line.

A three year old AC system constantly needing freon. Eventually found the copper lines needed to be repaired.

Another newer AC not cooling right. Paid for new ducts and a larger return. Problem not solved. Found out they were sized all wrong so paid again to basically have them redone. Problem still not solved. Finally discovered it was improperly charged although both companies checked that first. Turns out an AC unit uses one of two different expansion valves which control the flow of freon (capillary tube or thermostatic). One is much more common than the other. Pressure levels and freon are measured differently depending on which type you had. Apparently my unit had the less commonly used one so they were reading the levels incorrectly because they never bothered to check.

Multiple premature failures of AC compressors in newer units.

In one case an oversized unit causing mold to grow in the house...again a newer unit. New decent quality Moen kitchen faucets failing after a year or two. Routinely failing 2-4 year old Moen shower valves. I stay away from cheaper stuff and it doesn't seem to matter. I could go on and on.

Constant disasters (by Steve [MA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 12:18 PM

NE, years ago my inlaws heard a loud bang during the night. The next day I discovered hole in the roof. Turns out a piece of waste water ice fell from a plane & made the hole. I know of 2 other similar holes in my town. They were all caused by debris falling from a plane. --96.237.xx.xx

Constant disasters (by CX [WA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 12:19 PM

Yes, often it seems like constant (or rather, continual) disasters but I have to remind myself that at least I am finding/fixing them before they become catastrophic disasters!

Wow NE, "Drywall, insulation and Mold removal and disposal. OSB patch, shingle patch, replace insulation, rehang drywall, finish and paint. 2-3 different crews most likely. I'll do it in a day with materials on hand,"

How do you get all that done in a day? I've done a fair amount of drywall patching and the mudding seems to drag on for several days for me, even using "hot mud." What is your technique?

Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 12:23 PM

I won't get the spackle and paint done in a day, sorry. Roof patch and everything else yes. Probably a tapecoat as well.

Fred, we're like volunteer firefighters in a way.

Constant disasters (by David [MI]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 12:27 PM

Probably a good analogy would be buying index or mutual funds . You diversify to mitigate the risk of one company having individual problems, and thus invest in the whole market.

Constant disasters (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 1:08 PM

You are so right-- if you continually do it yourself-- guess what--YOU WILL CONTINUE TO DO IT. Just a fact. You have to get out of that rut. We have 63 SFH's and the way we maintain them-- well theres not always work to do. Some how each week my guy gets 40 hours. Does he work that every week-- no. NE I don't know how many places you have or the maintenance situation for them-- but maybe with some thought and SCHEDULING you can keep someone busy.

We just loaned out MM to our relatives for a week-- I paid him and they reimbursed me. Also he w ork here-- painting and odds and ends-- my sons also. Funny we find tons for him to do every week. Mail runs, roof blow offs-- maintenance ride byes.

Would suggest maybe there are some other investors who could pool work for one maint. Guy?

Constant disasters (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 2:13 PM

MYOB I believe NE tried the employee route a few years ago and it was rather financially disasterous for him.

NE, think of this as a job like any other: there are day-to-day responsibilities and then there are all-nighters/major projects, etc. I don't remember a job I ever had where it was 9-5 and done. That was only for government workers...

I remember my DH was going to try to take the month of May "off" this year and just ride his bicycle every day...ended up turning over a couple of places, repairing a roof, etc. And MYOB, if he had NOT repaired the roof (with hired help) but hired a roofing company, we would have lost money BIG time. The insurance company just about covered materials, nothing was a freak storm, unpredicted and on no one's radar, and everyone was quoting high prices afterwards plus double deductible.

I guess we have to take our "days off" when we can, and make the most of them, and just be ready for the impending disaster...

Constant disasters (by Tom [FL]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 4:52 PM

Murphy's Law: things happen, stuff break, damages occur...

...the damages were not caused by a tenant.


maybe the house will need more repairs due to its age. It maybe time to flip it if its continues to be a money pit.


Constant disasters (by dlb [GA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 6:03 PM

I have often asked myself why I don't buy houses to rent.

I spent 9 years running a remodeling company and I can do just about any job/disaster that comes along because of the time I spent remodeling, and I am thankful for the experience.

The answer to my question is that I don't want to spend the rest of my life making repairs.

So instead of buying homes and renting them I loan money to flippers and investors, my body does not suffer but I also don't get to buy the latest tools :(

If you are going to be in this business you need to be able to make repairs or you will be paying your rent money to someone else to make them for you.

You may not be able to make all repairs but when you do you will be:

- gaining experience

- saving money

- building up your confidence for the more challenging repairs

- gaining experience

- saving money

- ... --76.111.xx.xx

Constant disasters (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 6:30 PM

WMH the game plan can't to be work until your 70 and climbing on roofs? I'm not suggesting not working in it (the business) but to keep your foot in the business-- I'm saying get rid of some of the stuff that are day to day stuff. There's no way to know every ones situation here (regular posters included).

I've said here many times and it's not just so I can say it. I don't need to make anything-- I spend everything every month EVERYTHING. My MMan and office man are doing well. I travel a lot and my houses are my piggy banks and emergency funds.

Diagnose the problems - pick up the parts and bring them to the location-- then call the man to fix it. No reason you can't do that. There are many day time maintenance people looking for work 8 to 3 or 10 to 5 types. NE may have tried it in the past but he sounds like he needs a break.

We had been faced with the situation you mentioned concerning roof and unexpected damages. Many homes had damage and the price gougers were out full strength. Got a low quote of 11.5K for roof. Roof wasn't leaking but lots of damage. I made up my mind to wait 4 weeks until most of the work had been done in the neighborhood. Now these guys were getting desperate for more work. I ordered shingles, ordered my own dumpster, had everything delivered to my site. Well I get the check from the insurance company for the 11.5 found a crew with 5 guys (1 spke English) for materials and labor we paid 6500.00. It was done-- rip off old roof-- pick up of trash and taking dumpster. Had 500.00 of material to much-- since I paid for it I brought it back and got 500.00 BACK (not the roofing guy- ME)

Constant disasters (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Nov 3, 2018 7:31 PM

As a licensed contractor and owner/manager/investor of income property for 40 years, I've seen a thing or two. One thing that hit me hard was the following:

I had many friends that were also into owning income property. One women, who was forced to do everything herself because her husband never wanted to own property, had to do things on a shoe string budget. Every day, seven days a week, she would spend time fixing things herself of getting handymen or on the big stuff hire me as her contractor. So one day we were brain storming and I must have said something that she took to heart.

If you're tired or running from here to there fixing things that keep on breaking, Why don't you put some "money" back into your properties and do some upgrades and preventive maintenance.

She said what would I do if I owned her properties. I suggested the following:

a) Change the fuse boxes to breakers, this why when a tenant over loads a circuit, they can reset it.

b) Replace all of the old galvanized supply pipes to copper, the heave gauge Type "L". Then you wouldn't have to fix pin hole leaks every other day.

c) Replace your old wooden windows with rope sash cords the keep on breaking. Get some metal block design windows that fit right into place where the old window frames.

d) Install drain clean-outs so when a drain get's clogged, any rooter service can gain access without going into an adjacent


e) Get rid of the individual trash bins and have a 3 yard dumpster at each property with a once or twice a week pick up.

This friend thought about it. $40,000 a month of income with lots of stress. So she followed my advice and spent around $100,000 doing the above. Then all of a sudden she had periods with no emergency phone calls and time to spend on her hobbies.

Just 2 or 3 months of income re-invested in her units and wow, she was a very happy investor.

So this story is to say if you do some upgrades and make things fool proof, you will enjoy ownership a lot more. Good luck. --47.156.xx.xx

Constant disasters (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Nov 4, 2018 5:09 AM

Amen Robert. Have said many times-- have the best property in any class neighborhood. The best. Keep the upgrades coming. You don't need profit now-- you need good income producing homes and you don't get that having an F property in any neighborhood.

Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Nov 4, 2018 5:10 AM

Most of my properties are totally remodeled. It's not an issue of old stuff failing.

Constant disasters (by LisaFL [FL]) Posted on: Nov 4, 2018 5:30 AM

"Most of my properties are completely remodeled. it's not an issue of old stuff failing".

Yes, NE! Yes!

I have way too many stories just like this....reminds me of the time a snake wrapped itself around an AC compressor fan causing it to overheat and subsequently fail in an almost new unit!

Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Nov 4, 2018 5:37 AM

I had a 2 story toilet over flow and rain toilet water down on a guy laying in his bed. A building hit by a car, no car in sight and tenants heard nothing. Total loss fire on a brand new remodeled house cause by a faulty brand new light fixture. $7,600 water bill cause by unnoticed blown out 1/2" line on town water that only gets read quarterly. Ran over 1,000,000 into a gravel basement. Only about 6" of water on the floor when it was discovered, so it drained fast. Thank goodness for insurance in a lot of cases, but still costs $ and is very unpredictable.

Oh and the sewage back ups! Haha ya, those are fun.

It's just what we do. It's what we deal with.

Constant disasters (by David [MI]) Posted on: Nov 4, 2018 8:11 AM

one benefit of having a basement, the sewage backups are in a (usually) unfinished concrete floor.

Constant disasters (by J [FL]) Posted on: Nov 4, 2018 8:41 AM

Someone I knew in life (he has since died, sadly) who did this for 30 years always used to tell me when I was first starting out that "landlord is just another word for janitor". Now I'm realizing the truth of that.

Constant disasters (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Nov 4, 2018 1:18 PM

WMH, the employee route wasn't all bad, it was all the other nonsense that came along with it. Properly doing it just shifts your work from "on the buildings" to "on paper". You're still spending time with payroll and comp compliance, plus telling the people what to do and the way you want it done.

In the end, it was counter productive for me. A waste of time and money.

Constant disasters (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Nov 4, 2018 2:25 PM

I had children in upper units that stuffed toilets with toys causing flooding. So I installed at each toilet water flow valves set at 5 gallons per flush, then would cut off and have to be re-set. NO more flooding...... AT around $100 to $150 per toilet, it was worth it. --47.156.xx.xx

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