The Apartment Renovation: Get Off My Case
Recently, I’ve been getting the dreaded question “why isn’t the apartment remodel ready to be rented yet?” “How long have you owned that place 8 months? You aren’t done yet? What have you been doing?”
First, we are seriously-honestly-hand-to-God almost done with the apartment remodel. I had planned on posting the before and after photos last week but we ran into even more issues over the past week. (We wound up putting orders in for more tile and different faucets for the kitchen and bathroom. But more on that later.)
Secondly, I knew this question would be coming and this post isn’t to simply list the excuses. Because I don’t consider them excuses, it’s just what happened. It’s life.
And frankly, I don’t owe an explanation to anyone anyway. I’m actually PROUD of how far we’ve come in the last 8 months working on the place in our “free” time (wait… what’s free time?)
As a recap, we purchased our 3 bedroom 1 bathroom fixer upper back in July of 2016. (Soon to be 4 bedroom 2 bathroom!)
Above the two car garage of our fixer upper is a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment. We had planned to have the apartment rented by November but here we are in February – such is life.
So sometimes when I get the “you’re not done yet?!?” I feel like saying “let’s see you and your significant other gut and renovate an entire apartment only on nights and weekends while taking care of emergency fixes on a property that’s sucking your time and money.”
Emergency To-Do List
There’s a thing we call the “emergency to-do list.” This list usually never has anything on it for more than 24-48 hours because when something goes on it, it needs to be done ASAP, hence the word emergency. Unfortunately over the last 8 months we’ve had a lot of emergencies.
For instance, we thought the roof would last through one more winter. But after we actually got up there to look at it, we laughed at that thought. The shingles were bare. There was absolutely no grit left on them! We determined they must have been from when the garage was built back in the 70’s and if we left them up there we’d have to re-drywall the apartment ceiling again come spring.
Although we haven’t gotten the house roofed yet we wound up roofing the garage one weekend (and a few days off from work). I roofed the side that was less steep while the boyfriend roofed the other side – at least until my nailing gun broke and we had to finish by the light of cell phone and one gun.
We also wound up replacing every post supporting the stairs and deck up to the apartment. What happened was… When we had the dumpster delivered to do the roof, we didn’t quite fill it up with roofing material. So we started tearing down the ugly shed under the stairs that lead to the apartment because it was eventually going to get torn down anyway.
As with any project on this house everything opens up a can of worms. I found that the one support for the apartment’s deck was completely gone. And by gone I mean GONE. Eaten down to nothing.
So instinctively I checked the other posts and they were almost all like that! Replacing one support turned into replacing three! There must have been some kind of bug problem at some point in time, but luckily there is nothing active now.
Main Water Line
The issue we came across with our main water line was by far the most expensive problem we encountered so far. When the plumbers went to turn the water on after they finished up the plumbing in the apartment they said it wasn’t holding pressure.
I knew immediately what that could mean. There was probably a slow leak somewhere underground. And I was right.
So in order to fix the slow leak they had to dig up our front yard and totally replace the pipe from the main to where it feeds into the house. It was actually crazy how quickly this got done. They had the permits done and a bobcat out within two days and the entire job of digging up the yard, replacing the pipe and covering it back over took less than 5 hours.
One Step Forward Two Steps Back
The other issue we keep having is every time we take one step forward it feels like we take two back. For example, like I started to mention above we had to order new faucets for both the kitchen and bathroom. This is because of the brilliant idea (no sarcasm intended) I had to do concrete counters in those two rooms.
What I didn’t realize is that the concrete counters are thicker than standard counters. The faucets I got had threads that were just a little too short to connect the plumbing. So I wound up doing some research and finding faucets that were meant for thicker counters… thank God for FaucetsDirect.com! Hopefully they will be here soon and we can finish up the last few punch list items.
We also wound up having to order some more tile to use as the backslash in the kitchen and bathroom. I’m not a huge fan of the color scheme in the apartment so I wanted to do something that would bring the theme (or lack there of) together. I decided that the accent tile we used in the shower would make a perfect backsplash! It definitely brought the whole look of the apartment together.
And Then We Have Life
And then we have life. If life isn’t getting in the way of things then I probably wouldn’t have much of a life. Life is babysitting last minute. Life is driving people to the airport. Life is getting sick. It’s helping others who are sick. Taking sick animals to the vet. Catching up with friends and long lost relatives.
Life sometimes means listening to the people around you who are telling you “you guys better stop working so hard and enjoy life or it’s going to pass you by.” Which is why we took a 23 day road trip across the country and back in September of 2016 – smack dab in the middle of our renovation. But life isn’t life if you can’t enjoy it.
And I can honestly say I’m starting to enjoy every minute of life for the first time in 29 years.
But enough sappiness! I’m so excited to show you guys the before and after pictures… coming soon! Everyone who has seen the apartment told we better get a good tenant because we way over improved that place. But I’ve been on a few sides of landlord-ism (is that a thing?) and I think the best way to go is high end to attract a high end tenant. I know there’s exceptions to every rule but I’m sticking to this theory and we’ll see how it works out for us!