Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dry as a bone!

So you may remember that last month we had a wet basement.

I feared what might be necessary to do the repair - I wasn't sure if our entire basement would have to be torn apart, if the walls would have to come down, the floor ripped out, a sump pump installed... I really had no idea.

After getting three different quotes, we felt the best option was to redo the waterproofing that had already been done on the outside wall.  It had be done before by the previous owner of the house and a neighbour, but that really doesn't mean that it was done right or done well.  And while there are many options for waterproofing the house from the inside, the consensus leads us to believe that the problem should really be prevented from the outside, rather than letting get through the wall and then trying to keep it out.

One thing we were pleasantly surprised to learn, is that most of these companies offered a warranty on the work.  That was one of several factors that helped us decide to go with the same company who had already done some waterproofing in our house (a different section of the wall, on the inside).  We also felt that having two different companies, with two different warranties, would make it very tricky later if we had a problem (we could picture them both saying "that's not on our side"), so we wanted to keep it simply with one company doing all the work.

We ended up being very happy with them.  We have a flagstone and gravel walkway up the side of the house.  They carefully removed all that before digging, and they laid out the stone in our backyard in such a way that they could transfer it back the way it was.  They also graded the walkway a little when they were done, to slope the water away from the house as much as possible.  They were very neat, quick, and agreeable.

So happy to have that done!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Papers Signed

So after 3 months of screening potential tenants, and showing the condo, the tenant moved out at the end of March with no next tenant yet in place.

The search started out slow - not a lot of interest in January.  But the few times we did show the condo, it was always very neat and clean.  The existing tenant was very accommodating to our showings, as it was in her best interest to be - we had agreed that if we found a tenant before her lease was up, she could be excused earlier as she desired. 

However, as it got closer to the end of the lease, we found the condo to be kept not quite as tidy.  Once she was leaving as we arrived, and we had to wait outside.  And another time she just didn't leave at all.  In fact, she stayed in the kitchen in her bathrobe for the entire showing.  Needless to say, the potential renter that was viewing the condo didn't even venture into the kitchen area - it was far too personal an encounter.  It would be hard to picture the apartment as your own, when it is evidently still someone else's!

So last week, the tenant moved out.  Matt and I spent the weekend cleaning and refreshing the place, and while we did, we had several other showings as well.  Wouldn't you know that by Monday, we had received 3 applications to rent - all wanting it immediately.  We had each of the tenants offer to pay retroactively to April 1st.  Being already into the first week of April, we compromised to show good faith, and have signed a lease effective April 15th.

I've learned a lesson I think - the condo shows better vacant.  It may just be worth the lost rent to keep it vacant for a month or so while showing it, rather than spinning our wheels and showing it while it's still occupied with the probability of it renting very low.

Are there other landlords out there who have found this is the best method for them?  Has it been worth it?