Rental Property SH #3 Update (February 18, 2015)


Just in case you were wondering, Rental Property SH #3 is still on my mind and an active project. I haven’t blogged much about it lately because there was actually an addendum in the contract that gave the seller an option to occupy the property for up to an additional month after closing at no cost.

While this wasn’t an ideal scenario, we made special arrangements where we could to help us procure the property for $5,000 below listing. With the market still as crazy at it seemingly always is, our victory just a few short months ago now looks like a steal.

Anyway, I finally got the keys from my agent this week and got to see the property for the first time since November. It isn’t turnkey by any means, and our initial budget for the rehab is $10,000. Since we intend on attempting to find another corporate tenant for this unit, we may have to bump up the total costs by an additional $5,000 to secure full furnishing and amenities. We’ll see how that goes…

Here are some pics of the unit in its current inherited state:

Laminate floors are solid
Kitchen is in decent enough shape


Half-bath downstairs

Overall, the downstairs area is in not-too-bad shape. The kitchen and half-bath don’t need too much work… just cleaning really. The laminate flooring throughout the first floor is also in good shape and we won’t be needing to replace this.

Every property I buy has old carpet stairs…

Moving on upstairs, things get bad pretty quickly… Similar to Rental Property SH #1, they used some funky colors in the bedrooms and the upstairs carpet is in bad shape:

First red paint, now yellow!


The full bathroom is a little dirty but in decent shape. At this point, I’m uncertain if it’s worth the cost to renovate; It does not appear to be necessary, but I do know that some cheap modern updates can go a long ways towards modernizing the place… which in turn will help us fetch more rent.



This townhouse features a detached 2-car garage, which should make it more attractive as a rental unit. The garage was mostly cleared out and empty… but I did notice this AWESOME little gift the previous owners left behind:

5 Disc DVD/CD Changer with sound system!

As you can see, the overall property needs a bit of work. All of my other units are turnkey, so this one has a ways to go before it can claim the same status. And if we are indeed going to target a corporate tenant, we’ll probably need to make the place pop more to justify the higher rents.

Here’s a list of the rehab items we want to address:

  • Scrape off popcorn from all ceilings; 1st floor and 2nd floor.
  • Re-paint entire house; 1st floor and 2nd floor. Swiss Coffee eggshell. Textured ceilings.
  • Install 9 large recessed lighting fixtures in living room and hallway.
  • Install 3 large recessed lighting fixtures in the kitchen.
  • Install a dome light fixture in each of the bedrooms.
  • Deck out the entire house in 60 W Daylight LED bulbs. 🙂
  • Install laminate flooring on the stairs and 2nd floor (common area and all 3 bedrooms).
  • Replace all hinges, doorstoppers, doorknobs, receptacles, and install GFCI receptacles to both bathrooms.
  • Install new blinds to any windows missing them.

Since our renovation budget for materials and labor is $10,000, I’m guessing we will have enough left over to fix up one (or both) of the bathrooms. Before electing to go that route, though, I think we will finish all the other items first and see how good the unit looks. Again, similar to Rental Property SH #1, we’ll probably start having open house showings to gauge interest before deciding whether or not to jazz up the bathrooms.

When it comes to the living room lighting, I would like to ask what readers think about installing a dimmer switch? Good or bad idea? If you were renting out a unit, would it make a difference?

These days, I’m focused on rebuilding my health, so taking on a full-time renovation probably isn’t a good idea… Although this opportunity sure would be an ideal time to do it! Still, I imagine I’ll be involved and will try and help out and learn where I can. I’ll definitely take care of some of the easier stuff. 🙂

Fun times ahead!

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5 years ago

I’ve wondered.. how nice is your home compared with those you rent out? What are your thoughts on that.. live better than your tenants? ‘Worse’?

5 years ago
Reply to  FI Fighter

Maybe I missed it but do you live in a rental in the bay area or do you own?

Even Steven
5 years ago

Paint can go a long way in a home. In your half bath you could probably spend $300 and have it look brand new. Tile, Tile, Tile, Tile…..Well that’s just my thoughts;)

5 years ago

No dimmer lights for rental. Too easily broken and depending on what you install, some tenants are dummies and don’t realize that some dimmer lights require different light bulbs than your usual lights. Man..those walls in that yellow bedroom is so dirty. Can’t believe people are okay with living like that. yuck! Not sure if your $10K will be enough to include all the renovations listed above. Moving popcorn ceiling is easy but time consuming and very messy. All that electrical work is going to be time consuming, especially if you’re planning to pull permits for the new recess lighting.… Read more »

No Nonsense Landlord
5 years ago

I have seen a lot worse. You should have no trouble getting it in shape. A nice quick project.