I Thought I Could Save Lots of Money by Cleaning the Rental House Myself
I'm a landlord and my property just went vacant.. and it's a mess! Whoa, lots of cleaning, scrubbing, painting, shampooing to do. I thought I could do all the work myself and save some money. Dream on! It didn't work out and it never has worked in the past. I don't know why I keep doing this.... I really don't have the whirlwind cleaning mentality needed for prepping trashed rental homes.
To successfully market a rental home in Las Vegas the house must be spotless. It must be "hotel clean". This means that we all know the hotel room we rent is not new construction but it is made as tidy and shiney as much as possible. That's what tenants expect your rental to look like.
Can you turn your dirty rental into the "hotel clean" rental? Tenants will need freshly shampooed carpets, painted walls, squeeky-clean kitchen and cabinets, bathrooms that shine, weed-free yards front and rear, and mechanically perfect. That done, now you can start advertising.
If you're like me this clean up job is an overwhelming task and I have a day job to compete for time. There are hours of hard labor ahead of you, tough decisions and money to spend.
My advice is to have the pros do the work and labor. They have streamlined the work process and are most efficient. Most will do the job for less that you could do it alone, considering the time element.
Remember, your job is to stay in the investment. If you do all the work yourself you will soon burn yourself out and you will sell your property before its time. Time heals all wounds in the rental business. The longer you hold a property the more profit you will make.
Here are the reasons why doing it yourself wont' save you money:
Unless you're a professional contractor you will spend lots of time learning how to do the job. Seemingly simple jobs like painting requires that you know how to choose flat, gloss, semi-gloss sheens. Or do you pay double for paint with a primer included over the standard flat paint? Roll it or spray it? What's the advantage? Spraying requires a huge taping and masking preparation job prior to doing the job. Did you patch the holes well so the paint will seamlessly cover the repair? Also, did you shampoo the carpets? Did you know that you must vacuum the carpets prior to shampooing? Too much soap makes the carpet a dirt magnet!! The waxy soap coats the carpet fibers and collects dirt instantly.
Can you devote the time to cleaning, prepping, painting, caulking? Sometimes the job will last days to complete. Devoting weekends to cleaning up someone else's messes is a depressing job when you think about how poorly your tenant treated your home.
Time is money. Every day that rental house sits waiting for you to come and clean costs you rental income money!! If you are a procrastinator (as I am) every day of lost rent adds to the loss of having no renter in place. There were times when the pros could have prepped the house in two weeks but it took me two months of part time work!!
Are you a workaholic and can you grind this job out FAST? Or are you really not mentally into doing this job? Be honest with yourself. If you are a driven investor with unshakeable energy, do the work yourself and save some money. If not, consider letting contractors finish the job. You'll save time and money and keep your enthusiasm for real estate investing. That's where the real money is!