Navigating the Mechanics of an Apartment Deal
From the types of roof, electrical wiring, heating and cooling to the parking lot condition, windows and hot water heaters there are alot of checklist items to consider when negotiating your apartment deal.
Nathan Tabor shares his insight into some of the the nitty gritty so you won’t be left in the lurch after closing. Read on to find out what you may not have been thinking about for your ideal setup.
Check for city complaints
How do you know if the plumbing is alright? Or the electrical connections are okay?
“So the number one thing on top of my list that I do first when I start due diligence is to go to the housing authority or whoever is writing city complaints and get the last two years’ worth of city complaints. The reason why – I got burned on this.” says Nathan Tabor.
This will give you a general idea as to what issues you’ll be facing. From the housing complaints, you can determine what else is probably wrong with property revealing any expenses you will incur so you can factor them into your deal.
Thinking about the roof
The type of roof you have not only impacts your installation and maintenance costs, but plays a part in insurance costs as well.
Let’s look at pitched vs flat roofs. A flat roof is cheaper to install but that’s about as far as the benefits go. A pitched roof has a longer life span and has a more appealing appearance while flat roofs have an institutional vibe. You see a flat roof and the first thing you’re thinking about is a medical facility as opposed to something that feels like home.
Usually, flat roofs cost more to insure because they’re not going to last for very long and also have a greater chance of developing leaks. Not to mention the host of other problems a leaky roof would present in your apartment building.
Nathan on flat roofs: “…[With flat roofs] you’ve gotta climb up there often, make sure that the drains are unstopped… Depending on where you are in the South, flat roofs just make your electrical bills more, because in the summer it’s hotter, and in the winter you don’t get the sun.”
Look out for fire hydrants and mailboxes
Nathan sheds light on some other hidden costs:
“Do you know who owns the fire hydrants on the complex you’re getting ready to buy?”
Most folks would never think of this until there’s a gigantic puddle next to the fire hydrant. Sure, you can call the fire department to come over and fix it, but since it’s on private property you could be on the hook for a surprise $6,000 expense.
Nathan on multi-unit aluminum mailboxes: “I just thought hey, it’s stamped on the side of it “Property of the USPS”, they maintain it. Guess what they don’t do? They don’t maintain them.”
When Nathan looked into the replacement cost of a 4’x4’ mailbox seven years ago it was…wait for it…$1,800.
Having one meter on a multi-unit complex means you’re footing the bill for your tenants no matter who is taking 20-minute showers, outside washing their cars or letting their faucets run. Having individually metered units means you can bill your tenants individually holding them responsible for their own water needs. If you’re looking at buying a complex with a single meter find out the the average cost of the total water bill. Then weigh the cost of conversion and savings over time to help you decide which route you want to take.
What does your due diligence look like? Let us know in the comments.
Image courtesy of Pixabay