The Smoke House Rehab (Part 1)

About 2 years ago, Steve and I bought a couple investment properties in Memphis, TN.  At the time, we thought it was a great investment.  I mean, where else can you buy a house for $30,000 and rehab it for only about $10,000 and then rent it out for a nice profit every month?  Well, it wasn’t as easy as we thought.  First of all, finding decent tenants in Memphis is no easy task.  Our first set of tenants in our duplex hardly ever paid rent or even their utilities, and after not paying for over 3 months, we had to finally evict them.  That meant that we had to spend at least another $1,500 to fix it up again for the next tenants.  We fired our first property management company since they were not at all up to par with our standards, and hired what we thought was a better property management team.  Well, they weren’t really that much better.  After finding some more tenants for the duplex and one other single family home that we own, they never followed up with the tenants to make sure they put the utilities in their name.  So for over 3 months, we received and had to pay their utility bills.  When we confronted the property management company about this, their response was, “Well we sent them a bill every month, they just haven’t paid or called us back.”  Go over there and get the money yourself you idiots!!!

So, as you can see, Memphis investing has not gone as well as we had hoped, so now we’ve started investing in real estate here in Nashville.  This way we can manage the properties ourselves and if a tenant isn’t paying, we’ll know right away and will be able to take matters into our own hands.  Also, if something needs to be fixed, we’ll know exactly how much it costs to fix it, instead of our property management company pulling a number out of their butt and then pocketing the rest.

We closed on our first Nashville investment property this week, and today we started the cleanup.  And all I can say is “WOW!”  When you walk through the front door the cigarette smell just smacks you in the face.  Not only did the previous owner chain smoke cigarettes and cigars in the house, but he was a hoarder, and generously left tons of his trash for us to clean up.

When we first looked at the house before we had officially purchased it, the previous owner was still living there and hadn’t cleaned anything out yet.  There were things stacked literally 3 feet high everywhere we looked.  It was as if this guy hadn’t cleaned or threw anything away since he bought the house several years ago.  And the smell!!  It was enough to make you sick.  After 2 minutes in that house I had to get out.

Luckily, since then the smell had dissipated enough that we could clean up the house without gagging.  Obviously, we opened all the windows and let it air out while we were cleaning.  Here are some pictures that I took before we started cleaning.

It’s hard to believe it, but this is 100x better than what it looked like before the previous owner moved out.

This is the living room from the entryway.  Luckily the fireplace is still in good shape.  The wood molding around it just needs to be sanded and re-painted.  There’s a brownish grungy film on pretty much every surface.  I’m gagging just thinking about the kitchen.

This picture does not do the kitchen justice.  Every single surface is CAKED with a mysterious brown layer of grossness.  Tomorrow I’ll take some more detailed pictures so you can really see the filth that we’re going to have to clean.  Yay us!

There were also beer cans and liquor bottles everywhere.  As well as used q-tips and nasal strips.  Gross.  Alot of the q-tips on the floor had brown ear wax all over them.  Bleh….I’m gagging just thinking about it.  Needless to say, we wore gloves while cleaning today.

One plus was that he had left the washer and dryer!  Score!!  Hopefully that will be a good selling point to potential tenants….once they’re thoroughly cleaned, that is.

Here’s another view of the living room from the dining room area.  And there’s Steve. 🙂

Here is one of the bedrooms.  Hey, he left a steam cleaner!  That will come in handy….if it works.

Another bedroom.

A guest bathroom, which is actually in pretty good shape compared to the rest of the house.

Here’s the pretty spacious master bedroom.

The master bathroom, which is also in fairly decent shape.

Here’s the upstairs bonus room or 4th bedroom with an attached half bathroom.

And here’s the front of the house.  It’s pretty cute, right?  Just needs some nice landscaping and a little pressure washing and it should look pretty good.

And here’s what we accomplished today!!!  Yay!  No more trash!

I forgot to take a before picture of the garage, but it probably had the most junk in it out of every room in the house.  So I was really happy that we were able to clean in out so well.  The previous owner had left alot of goodies that we can use, such as a Craftsman lawn mower, a power sander, a couple car jacks, some hoses, a seed spreader, and some other things.

I’ll leave you with this last picture.  See all that stuff in the light fixture?  Yep, those are dead moths.  Chew on that for a little bit, and try not to gag.

Tomorrow we’ll be ripping out the carpet and linoleum floors, sanding all the woodwork that needs to be repainted, scrubbing the kitchen with bleach, scrubbing the walls with bleach, and then probably scrubbing ourselves with bleach.  Stay tuned!