So, I bought a duplex two weeks ago today. It was an REO and had been vacant for the better part of 18 months. Needless to say, it needed some love, but nothing was too serious. I've seen a lot worse. By the time OCWEN finally got around to letting me close, I had the repair list ready and contractors on call. Repairs included: painting entire interior; new carpet; new vinyl in 1 of the bathrooms; replace a few fixtures; new locks; new kitchen counter and sink; minor roof repair to replace some flashing.
My painter was there on day 1. He's done a few jobs for me in the past. He's not the cheapest, but he's meticulous. Paint was finished by day 4.
The flooring company (The Flooring Gallery - don't mind pitching them if you need their service) has a rental-friendly berber that they keep in stock, and a very neutral, inexpensive vinyl. The manager met me at the property the Friday before last. This past Thursday they began and all of the carpet was finished by last Friday.
My GC was able to install the kitchen counter and sink and fix the roof within 10 days of purchase. (Could've been earlier, but he's my cousin and he gave me a bit of a discount if he could push me back a week and finish installing a $30K kitchen. I don't blame him, and the project had the time.)
I did the fixtures and locks and couple other little touch-ups on Saturday.
Project was moving along swiftly, until the water was turned on for the first time. The area where I live will sees single-digit temps in the Winter and the building had not been properly winterized. I turned the main on and the pressure checked out in the first unit. But I could hear water running. I ran upstairs and nothing worked, but I could still hear the water. By the time I ran back downstairs, there was water flowing from the ceiling and it looked like I had installed an indoor water-feature. This was an "OH, $%&#!!" moment. I flew down to the basement and truned the main back off. (Yes, I learned my lesson about turning the water on before the new carpet... Luckily it was easily salvagable and nothing a couple towels couldn't clean up.)
I immediately called my plumber. This was about 3:00 P.M. the Friday before last. He had a guy meet me at the property at 8:00 AM the next Monday (although he did offer to try and send someone out that night). I've worked with them in the past and trust they will do the right thing. I let him in and told him to call me with the damages. Within just a couple of hours his boss called to let me know that the problem(s) had been identified and that the fix was actually relatively simple. He said his guy was already back at the shop picking up the needed parts and that it would be finished by day's end. And it was only going to cost about $300. WHEW!!!! I've seen broken pipes cost triple that. Or more.
So, the moral of the story is, if you want be successful in landlording/rehabbing/flipping, take the time to develop some good relationships with people you can trust to fix your problems. Know your skill-set and what you are and are not willing to take on yourself. Even if you think "yeah, I can do that", the better question is "should you?". Yesterday (Day 13) I met 8 potential tenants and I now have applications from 5 of them to process today. The place will be rented out and all work (including a pretty good "Whoops") has been completed in just 2 weeks.
How do you ensure success of your projects? Any stories to share about unexpected happenings?