Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Joys of Being a Slumlord


When we bought our house 24 years ago it came with an attached Mother-in-law apartment.  We have kept this apartment rented out with only brief periods of vacancy between tenants.  It has generally been a nice extra source of income with a minimal amount of work; an occasional stopped up sink being the most common maintenance.

But occasionally we get to do some more extensive remodeling.  I have replaced the bathroom sink and cabinet, added a washer & dryer, retiled the bathroom and kitchen/dining room, refinished the hardwood floor in the bedroom, put up a ceiling fan (twice) in the bedroom, had all the windows replaced, put up new blinds on most of the windows, replaced an exterior door and painted several times.  Sounds like a lot, but stretched over 24 years it has not been too bad.

The apartment is currently open and we decided it’s time for some more improvements to the place.  The living room carpet was old when we bought the place, and the tile I put in is showing its age.  So we decided to get them replaced and called in a couple of companies to give us bids for the work.  And, while they were at it, to get bids for the kitchen and bathroom in our house.  And, we might as well paint the place again while it is setting open.

I hate to paint, so my lovely assistant has done the bulk of the painting so far.  This time around we have given up on the stained wood trim around windows and doors and everything is going to be antique white.  Not the most exciting color, but it is easier to be able to just slap the same color on the whole house.  Unfortunately the place has about a bazillion cabinets and drawers, making it very time consuming to pull off hardware and cut in all the corners.

I did venture to wield a paint brush one day.  I repainted the front porch and then decided to get all of the kitchen cabinet doors out onto the driveway and get them primed.  And I did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself.  But apparently the painter half of the marriage didn't think that much of the job I had done and ran over the doors with the car.  It was actually a relief to me because it absolved me of any responsibility for painting anything else.  I actually thought tire tracks across the doors was kind of classy, but, alas, they are all painted over now.

The most exciting part of this maintenance period is going to be the new floors in both the apartment and in the house.  We are moving appliances today and the installers come tomorrow.  It’ll be fun to watch, instead of do, and see what a difference it will make in both places.  By the time they are finished the apartment should bear little resemblance to what it was 24 years ago, other than the same shape and most of the cabinetry. And hopefully the wife will quit pestering me about replacing the linoleum in our kitchen and bathroom.

And then it will be time to get it all put back together, back on the market, and begin the slow process of recouping our expenses.  Anyone looking for a one bedroom apartment?

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