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Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-28-2004, 08:42 PM   #1
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Attention Landlords - advice wanted

You may remember that, back in the pleasant days of spring, trumpeting angel was looking for an investment property. *She found one, was the successful bidder, and a series of bizarre delays occurred while the bank that owned it was swallowed by another bank, causing a very serious case of bureaucrats who couldn't get out of their own way to sell a house that was, essentially, already sold. *

But that's water under the bridge. *As fall approaches, I am closing on this house. *And receiving conflicting advice from knowledgeable people. *Here's the conflict: *the house is a duplex with 2 br on each side. *My knowledgeable realtor says that 2 br's are plentiful in this small city, and that this house could make real money if the walk-up attic were converted to make it a 3- or 4-br. *So I have planned to do this, have the funds for the work set aside.

Enter a good friend who has been a landlord for 18 years. *She and her husband suggest that 2 brs are far superior, because of the tenants they attract. *That the 3 or 4 br apartments they own tend to attract families with lots of (destructive) kids, who are loud, disturbing the other tenants, and messy, and leave a lot of damage in their wake. *They both felt that the higher rent it would command was not worth the headaches of renting a 3- or 4-br apartment.

Anyone else have a thought about this? *Or better yet, experience with renting apartments that would bear on my dilemma? *I can happily avoid some remodeling and get the second apartment rented much more quickly if I don't add the bedrooms.

As usual, your ideas and opinions are welcome, as are your off-topic ramblings and baseless assertions. *

Anne
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-28-2004, 09:04 PM   #2
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

In my experience, if you're looking for appreciation, you want at least 3 bedrooms. If you're looking for an income property, a 1-bedroom will give you the best bang for the buck, but 2-bedrooms are fine as well.

As far as attracting the best tenants, you want small one bedroom houses will a little garden to attract harmless old ladies
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-28-2004, 09:11 PM   #3
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

Large (3/4 bedroom) apartments attract the following:
- families with kids
- a bunch of adults who are living together (think frat house)

You won't get many singles or even couples, because they don't want a huge apartment (may as well rent a house if they need the space but don't want to buy.)

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Old 08-29-2004, 12:15 AM   #4
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... to experiment with the 2 BR for a year or two.

The realtors don't sound like they're focused on tenants (no commission) as much as on resale (commission). The attic can always be converted if you plan to sell it. In the meantime you have a 2 BR with humongous storage, something that will attract plenty of quality tenants without having to go further in the home-improvement hole.

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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-29-2004, 02:55 AM   #5
 
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

Do NOT spend the money on the attic. Sounds like a terible idea to me.

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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-29-2004, 09:49 AM   #6
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

We own several rental properties and generally don't even look at units with more than 2 bedrooms for the reasons others have listed.

More bedrooms generally attact bigger families with more kids. Also, if you're going to cooperate with HUD housing (and we do), most of those families have to have a bedroom for each child (can't have a boy and a girl sharing a room). Our experience is that subsidized tenants tend to do more damage and care less about their surroundings, because it's not their money paying the rent. An example of this is the tenant who left candles burning in her bedroom all night and caused a fire that gutted our Victorian home.

Check your town for ordinances about adults living together who are not related. Many towns (especially some college towns) have these to prevent the frat house thing.

My advice: leave it as is.
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-29-2004, 11:04 AM   #7
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

Quote:
As usual, your ideas and opinions are welcome, as are your off-topic ramblings and baseless assertions.
Undoubtedly my best laugh of the day.

I'd leave it alone.

Better still, just clean it up a little and advertise it as a 2 bedroom with "loft office" or some such thing and add a hundred bucks to the rent.
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-29-2004, 02:28 PM   #8
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

I say bulldoze the house and build a dryer sheet factory.
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-29-2004, 08:27 PM   #9
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

There is a small canyon behind that house, isnt there?
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-29-2004, 09:51 PM   #10
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

There IS a small canyon behind that house. Or rather, we don't have actual canyons in New England. The lawn drops off very precipitously and, if you are careful with your footing, you can climb down to a brook way below. It's going to have a better fence with no gate, before it gets rented out. (The fence is falling apart.)

But wait, this is breaking news! CONSENSUS ON THE BOARDS!

I think I'm going to take this advice. I trust the realtor, and if he says 2-br's are overrepresented in this town, then they probably are. But I asked him about the family with many kids scenario, and he agreed that was a consideration, as well. The loft office - good idea, TH!

*Thanks to everyone!*

About the dryer sheet factory, is it okay if instead of bulldozing the house, I put the factory out in the garage?

Anne
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-29-2004, 09:55 PM   #11
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

Quote:
. . .
About the dryer sheet factory, is it okay if instead of bulldozing the house, I put the factory out in the garage? *

Anne
If you do, that will the closest someone's come to taking my advice on this board yet.

Come to think of it, maybe you better just ignore me like everyone else.
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-29-2004, 10:17 PM   #12
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

I was thinking of pushing the house down into the canyon.

Cover it up with dirt.

Nobody would know it was even there.

No more decisions, no more worries.

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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-30-2004, 12:19 AM   #13
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

I'll throw a very small wrench in the works here: spend a little money to lock the attic. Attics are junk collectors for everybody, but renters tend to throw more up there and leave most or all of it when they move. I rigged up a keyed padlock for my friend's rent house attic stairway after we spent a couple of days emptying the attic of renter-abandoned junk. That successfully kept the next renters from stowing anything up there. If there's a reasonable way to close off the garage I'd consider that, too.

My granddad used one of his rental house garages to store wood and supplies for his paint & carpentry work. My mother's rent house had a detached garage and post-renter cleanup would have been 5 times as fast if we had just razed that *$!! garage before letting renters move in.

Those were both "cheap" rent houses, so with a nicer one you probably can't get away with locking the garage, but you can still lock the attic.

Oh, and don't spend any more money than necessary on a rent house. Sooner or later renters will trash your improvements. We've had them take window A/C units, ceiling fans, light fixtures and plumbing fixtures (tried to take the toilet once!). We've had them cut a hole in the hardwood floor to vent a dryer to the crawlspace. A majority of renters I've seen take all the lightbulbs with them!! Lightbulbs! I always wonder how much care they take in packing them and how many get broken before they have a chance to use them again.
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-30-2004, 08:01 AM   #14
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

Yes, definitely lock the attic. I'll vote for that.
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-30-2004, 08:09 AM   #15
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

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Yes, definitely lock the attic. I'll vote for that.
C'mon gang, the renters need someplace to put their meth lab
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-30-2004, 08:51 AM   #16
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

Good Morning

Convert the attic and the second bedroom to storage and rent the consequent 1 bedroom out to a little old lady that can't bear to part with her treasures and keepsakes. I actually did this and it has worked out beautifully. It helps to know who you are renting to before any renovations. I know that part can be difficult.

good luck

Bruce
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-30-2004, 02:22 PM   #17
 
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

I agree with BigMoneyJim. As long as the rent keeps
coming, spend the minimum possible for improvements
and maintenance. This is hard for fussy people like me
(pride of ownership) but you need to divorce yourself from that kind of thinking. It's an investment. You don't
live there. Your goal is to make money, period!

John Galt
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-30-2004, 05:55 PM   #18
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

Hey, aren't all you cynics the same guys who recommended I read Andrew McLean and Gary Eldred? Who are proponents of keeping up the property, making it all look good, and providing good service in order to get the desirable tenants?

Sheesh.

But I reiterate, thanks for the advice. The idea of NOT remodeling that attic, NOT spending that money right now, is reducing my stress considerably. I have plenty of work left in those apartments, but it's a big chunk removed.

Thanks! 8) <-- me with less stress

Anne
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-30-2004, 10:37 PM   #19
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

Oh, make it clean and functional, but don't spend time or money on anything stealable or destructible. Take a look at apartments--they're experts at a quick paint job (eggshell white only), carpet cleaning or replacing and counter resurfacing (again white) in a hurry on the cheap and looking decent and clean.

Yeah, I guess I'm cynical, and those weren't even my rent houses.

Another thing...why do renters hang pictures with 16-penny nails? We had a guy with a baseball cap collection that hung each cap on the wall with a huge nail. <sigh>
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted
Old 08-31-2004, 03:10 AM   #20
 
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Re: Attention Landlords - advice wanted

Re. the baseball hat collection, there are 2 possibilities:

1. The tenant was stupid.

2. It was not his wall.

John Galt
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