Tuesday, March 21, 2006

House 3: Electrician And Update

I stopped by the property this morning to meet the electrician. There was a huge dumpster in the driveway and it was mostly empty. The handyman probably filled it once already with all the trash and furniture that was left in the house. The electrician worked there for about 2.5 hours fixing outlets and wiring issues. While he was working, I took a look around to see what the handyman has accomplished so far. Quite a lot, it turns out:

  • The evap unit has been replaced.
  • The trash has been removed from the front and back yards, with the exception of the car and an old engine in the back.
  • The windows that needed replacing have been replaced.
  • The shelves have been removed from the wall with the wood paneling.
  • The bath tub has been replaced. The old shower enclosure has been taken down and the new one is in the house, but not yet installed.
  • A new bathroom vanity has been installed.
  • The old medicine cabinet has been taken out.
  • All the outlets, switches, and faceplates have been replaced.
  • The two bedroom ceiling fans have been replaced.
  • The folding door at the archway has been removed.
  • Drywall throughout the house has been patched.
  • The two wall heaters have been replaced.
  • All the A/C vents have been replaced.

I'm pretty happy with the progress made so far, even though I think it will take a bit longer than the handyman thinks to complete the job.

While I was there, the handyman showed up (promptly at 9 AM) with a helper and a bunch of doors. He hopes to get the doors installed this week. From what I can see, it looks like he's going to need to replace a lot of the door frames as well. He said he's contacted some people about taking the car away and that should be gone soon.

I'm supposed to pay him another 1/3 of his fee when he's 2/3 of the way through the job. I expect that will be in a week or two. (I'm guessing he will take 6 weeks on this job instead of his quoted 4 weeks.) When I get that call, I'll also call my carpet guy to place the order for new carpet. I'll also order a new stove at that time. Once those are in, I should be ready to list the place.


Ed said...

Just wondering. Do you get permits for the work your doing. If so, have you run into problems on inspections. If not, have the buyer's raised issues about not permitted work.

Shaun said...

I've never had a buyer ask about permits before and this house currently does not have a buyer. I've never had a home inspector ask for permits for work done either.

Much of the work being done does not require permits - I'm not adding any rooms or anything. It's mostly cosmetic repairs. Electrical work I have done by a licensed electrician and my handyman is a registered contractor, so they know how to do things correctly.

Anonymous said...

Do you every use an appraisal service to make sure you are going to make money? Or does your wealthbuilders group recommend it?

I have had good success using but I don't know what people normally use.

They seem to insist that some improvements are not worth it and its import to know what makes you money vs. what is just for show.

Shaun said...

I've never used an appraiser for an investment property. If you have a bank lending you money for the purchase, they will insist on one, but I'm not doing that, so I use my own estimate of the value.

Keep in mind, is trying to sell you something. Read their website with that in mind. You phone book will give you lots of local appraisers if you feel the need to use one. For me, an appraisal doesn't work for purchasing a property - they generally take too long and require access to the property. I go by comps, which are available for free from many websites and adjust that figure based on what I can tell of the condition of the property.

As for what improvements are worth it, from a non-investor viewpoint, there are definitely lists that will show homeowners which improvements will return the most money when the property is sold. A new kitchen provides one of the best returns on expense. However, from an investor standpoint, I am interested in two things: 1) repairing any major defects / flaws so that the place is safely habitable and 2) making cosmetic repairs that greatly increase the "sellability" of the house. New paint and carpet, for example, are relatively cheap and really help sell the place to potential buyers.

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