I viewed my first rentals - Posted by kay

Posted by Joe P on May 11, 2001 at 21:02:41:

Don’t give up! keep looking. I thougt the same thing. I also took my father with me to look. If I listen to him I would have never continued… that was five properties ago. Now I am looking for my sixth. People do live like you described, but people also take care of the property they rent. So you just happened to view a couple of properties that are not in good shape. If I would have to say, I must view ten to fifteen properties before I put in an offer. Do not give up… Joe P.

I viewed my first rentals - Posted by kay

Posted by kay on May 11, 2001 at 20:01:38:

I finally decided to make a move and called on a few rental properties in our area. This is my first time and I was appalled! The outsides looked great but as I viewed the insides I sometimes had to hold my breath. I wouldn’t let my dog live in any of the four I looked at! Clothes, dirt, cat litter, no sheets on the beds, food, beer cans, holes in the walls, unclothed babys…I could go on and on–and sellers all wanted good money for these dumps. Is this the way renters live? My dad tried to warn me.
I guess my real question is- Am I supposed to just overlook the filth because I do not plan to live there?

Looking in the wrong area? - Posted by mel

Posted by mel on May 13, 2001 at 10:38:27:

My husband and I encountered the same thing when we went to look for the first time. We looked at 5 properties. The first was a 7 unit priced at $45,000. 2 of the units were not finished, one tenant had not yet paid his rent; the landlord asked him about his rent right in front of us, which I thought was a BAD move…one tenant had nothing but a matress on the floor to furnish the apartment, and one tenant had a cat…and no litter box. The last tenant asked the owner not to bring us through because his place was too messy…makes me wonder how bad that must have been. The second property we looked at was very odd…House converted into 5 units. The largest unit was the only one inhabited at the time. It was huge, but they had painted it bright orange and green…it would need total rehab if anyone else were to move in. In the kitchen there was terrible water damage to the ceiling, and I estimated that there was a bathroom above it, which totally turned my stomach that there was toilet water running into the kitchen. We went upstairs and sure enough, right above that kitchen was a bathroom. The realtor was amazed that I knew that (it was not a hard assumption). The rest of the units needed total rehab. The next property we looked at was an 8 unit priced at $64,000. Whole building was vacant. 6 of the units had signs from the city saying they were not to code (it takes a lot to make a unit not to code, as we learned by looking). One unit he had not rented out even when there were tenants there. All the walls and floors in that one were spray painted with gang symbols and names and letters…some places they had dripped paint…or maybe blood? all over the place. There were holes in the floor of one kitchen where the moisture from the fridge had rotted it. The fourth property we looked at was in such a bad neighborhood that I would not get out of the car for fear of being shot…I can’t attest for the inside, but I do know that all but 3 of the windows that I saw would have needed replaced because of the bullet holes.
And so we came to the last property…a cute little quaint 3 unit. Priced at $29,000. Owner never had trouble renting it out, but had left two of the 3 units vacant after renters left so as to show the property at any time. Property makes a modest cash flow of about $500 per month. Could use a little cosmetic rehab and rents could be raised. Darling little place…we plan on making an offier in the near future.
I guess the lesson here is that when you are looking at very low priced properties (too good to be true?) only one in 5 will be the deal you’re looking for, but that deal will be sweet? That’s what we took away from all that. If you don’t want to deal with looking at the bad ones, don’t look at them, but you may miss the diamond in the rough. Just a thought.

Re: I viewed my first rentals - Posted by Ronald * Starr

Posted by Ronald * Starr on May 12, 2001 at 07:52:45:


I remember when I was still new looking at property only about a dozen blocks from my house. There was a young woman with an infant. There was little furniture and no refrigerator. I felt so sad. Think of that poor girl being isolated there and living like that. And what might happen to her child?

Fortunately, most of the properties I have seen are not like that. I suspect that will be true for you. But it gives some meaning to our contention that we provide clean, decent housing for lower-income people when we contrast what you saw to what we provide.

Now, do you understand why we experienced rental owners say to screen rental applicants carefully? I have to get about 15 - 25 rental appplicants before I find one to whom I will offer my property. As some other posters have pointed out: I would rather have a three-month vacancy than take in a bad renter. And I have had vacancies that long. Fortunately, now the rental markets are good where I have properties and I don’t have much problem renting the properties out within a month.

Good Investing**************Ron Starr*************

Re: I was shocked TOO!! - Posted by Kim

Posted by Kim on May 12, 2001 at 07:06:03:

Funny that I saw this post. Yesterday we went to view a property as a potential rehab. This will be our first one and I’m not use to looking at run down properties (we put in an offer by the way!!!) This property was DISCUSTING!!! There were matresses on the lawn! The house looked empty – newspaper taped to the windows, no furniture, no running water and no electricity, kitchen cabinets and appliances are DETACHED from the walls – the list goes on and on. Then we got to the bedrooms and there was a mattress, a PILE of dirty clothes and some toilet paper on the floor. It hits us: SOME ONE LIVES HERE!!! We entered the 2 bathrooms to discover that they are just going potty in the bathroom and LEAVING it to sit there because their water was turned off (2 years it been off we later discover). We finally made it back to a family room (big house 2400 sq feet) and there is another matress with 2 people PASSED OUT at 2 in the afternoon!!! They kinda sit up - holding spoons. Our realtor (I’m a bit sheltered) later tells us that spoons are needed for cocaine or heroine so they must be an addict if theyre sleeping with a spoon!!! ANYWAY – it was so sad to see that they live like that!

Re: I viewed my first rentals - Posted by Eric (NH)

Posted by Eric (NH) on May 11, 2001 at 22:37:04:


I have a ten-unit building in the low rent part of town. Although the interior of the building was, and to some degree, still is somewhat rough looking since I bought it two years ago, most tenants live reasonably neatly, although I do have a few who are quite sloppy.

In fact, one of the tenants I inherited, who still lives there, is basically a filthy, pack-rat, with junk and crap everywhere. Whenever I need to post a general tenant notice, I try to peak through the windows of his front door, or ring his bell so I can look inside, just to see how it looks. I comfort myself by looking past the filth to see that there is no major damage, or at least no worsening in wear and tear since I inherited him.

However tempted I am to evict him, I know that at that time I will likely have to absorb some cost to freshen up this apartment, so why force the issue now, since he does pay his rent on time. And besides, I assume his cat (cats?) probably can keep the rodents to a minimum. :slight_smile:

Eric (NH)

P.S. When I spoke about this tenant to a lawyer-friend of mine, he responded sardonically, “I hear Jeffrey Dalmer paid his rent on time every month too.”