Rental Property Series: Overcoming Setbacks

I only planned on updating this series every couple of weeks, but so much is happening with the rental right now. Waiting two weeks would make a super long post, and I tend to be on the wordy side anyway. If you are new to this series, you might want to start by reading these.

Rental Property Series: Buying Our First Rental Property

Rental Property Series: Renovating Our Rental Property

As a brief recap,

We purchased this property on August 24, 2012 for $63,000, with 25% down.

We plan on spending $3000-$5000 on renovations.

We hope to be done and have a renter by October 1.

We are using a property management company and are asking $750/mo for rent.

What we’ve done this past week

Hubby finished installing the vanity and faucets in the bathroom. It needs some shims for leveling, but it is working, and we now have water. We are still waiting on our toilet to be delivered. We were told the Home Depot ones aren’t as durable. That’s  funny because our home toilets are from Home Depot and they stills seem to be fine after 8+ years. Maybe renters are harder on toilets? I really don’t want to think too much about that one! Anyway, we ordered one from a plumbing supply, and after much miscommunication, it should be here today. Yah! No more peeing in the yard (that was a joke), but it is inconvenient to go to the service station when the need arises. Hubby also hauled off all the demolition trash, so we no longer have a sink and toilet in the side yard. Husband’s total hours: 8

I removed all the cabinet handles and hinges and  soaked them overnight in vinegar and water. They were still covered in grime, so I soaked them in diet Pepsi (it works for car batteries, right?) for another night. The film was then somewhat pliable, so I scraped it off with a scouring pad. The handles are now a shiny brass color instead of the brown I thought they were, amazing! I cleaned out the scary closet, so it is only mildly frightening now, and I cleaned the remaining floors and windows that I missed last week. Kim’s total hours: 7


We’ve also had a few setbacks this week.

Our insurance agent called to inform us that they were cancelling our policy because the property has asbestos siding. Most of the houses from this era have this type siding. Every other house on our rental’s street does. We were concerned at first but the inspector, property manager, and the agent didn’t believe it was a problem as long as it was in good shape. However, the  honchos at the insurance company obviously did not feel that way. Our original quote of $257/year was going up to $850-$950/year unless we changed the siding. That is not in the budget right now, so we found another agency who is able to insure the property for $497/year. While that isn’t bad, it cuts into the cash flow. I’m not very happy with our insurance agent, but I’m not sure what we could have done differently in this situation. I think we would have still gone ahead with the property purchase if he’d quoted us the higher amount to begin with, but it is hard to have to adjust upward after you think you’ve gotten such a good deal.

Another problem we discovered this week was with our countertops. We purchased some pre-made laminate countertops at Home Depot on our original trip. We live an hour away from big orange, so we hoped this would be our only trip. When our friend came to help install them, they didn’t fit. Apparently our cabinets are a half inch wider than standard. The precut countertops have a bullnose end that is really pretty, but won’t work with our cabinets. They don’t extend back to the wall. Rookie mistake! Home Depot did take everything back, but that required a trip back to the store. We then had to get estimates to have them custom made. I found a local shop that can have them done next week. We picked a pattern that was an overstock, so they gave us a deal. The Home Depot set was $220, and out custom ones are going to cost $350. The money keeps flowing, but unless we want to nail down some particle board on the cabinets, I don’t see another choice.

When you are doing a huge project like renovating a rental property, you have to have some room for the unexpected. We were a bit disappointed this week, but it could have been worse. By the end of the week, we should have our new stove, the electrical should be done, and then the painter will start next week. It has been a long month, but we are almost finished. Now if we can just get that renter, the effort will be worth it. Hopefully I will have good news at the next update. If you can’t get enough about rental properties, check out this series at Planting our Pennies or follow Paula at Afford Anything as she continues to build her rental empire.

Have you ever had a setback when doing a project?  Would you rent a house with a toilet in the yard?


Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of


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