Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Secure Your property for before Rehabbing!

After completing several property rehabs in Miami-Dade County, Florida, I wanted to try something out of the county but still in Florida. My parents lived in Sarasota, Florida so I thought this would be a nice place to start. Distance would be an issue but my father was down for the winter and he could check up on the progress being made on the individual properties. Also, my Dad is an electrical contractor which brings many rehab benefits but that is a future REIC posting.

I found a duplex FOR SALE fairly quickly on Debbie Street, Sarasota due to the advantage of attending Sarasota REIA group meetings on Florida's Gulf Coast. Other than the distance, four hour drive, I felt this would be like any other rehab.

I decided to start in February with a two week property visit. Well during that time, several problems arose that I didn't experience before, like:

  • Most of the properties were on well water. Hard on the pipes, fixtures and tasted awful. Our duplex had city water service which was a blessing but caused me a problem I had to resolve.
  • Septic Tanks! No county sewer systems had been installed. The drain field was the front lawn and it was clogged.
  • Clothes Washer waste water line emptied onto the backyard lawn.
  • Pine trees over fifty high. Pine needles build up on the roof and lawn.
  • Gravel driveway that the neighbors thought they could use to park their cars.
  • Drug addicts lived about 50 yards away in an apartment.
  • On and On and On....
But the one problem that cost me the most in time and money was the city water lines.

Apparently it was very expensive to get connected to Sarasota's water system due to high impact fees. Impact fees are the city's way to tax you for hooking up to the water system network. You have to pay for the following:

  • Impact fees
  • Installation fee for digging up the street and installing the water meters.
  • Hire a plumber to run lines from the city's water meters to the duplex's water system.
  • Had to pay twice since it was two separate water meters, one for each unit of the duplex.

Luckily, my duplex already had these meters installed by a previous owner. The problem was the neighbors knew this and thought they could help themselves to the city water from our duplex. They would go to our outside water fixture and fill their 5 gallon water containers.

By the end of the month, I had a very large water bill which I couldn't figure out why? My rehab contractor said he never used too much water. I thought I had a water line leak from the meter to the duplex.

One day in July, my rehab contractor said he saw one of the neighbors filling up their containers and told me about it. I was flabbergasted but realized that this was going to be an ongoing problem!

Below is picture containing the anti-theft water system parts and installation video.....

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Written by +Bob Burns.
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