Apartment Changeover Madness

We went from spending a blissful relaxing week on vacation at the beach in Rhode Island with family right into a regular workweek and two apartment changeovers.  Last week was brutal.  Talk about killing the vacation relaxation vibe in an instant!

The tenants in our owner occ duplex actually moved out while we were still out of town.  We were not worried about being there when they moved as they were very responsible and had kept the apartment in such great shape.  A quick walk through when we got home late Sunday afternoon verified this.  This particular unit is in really good condition as we did some some maintenance last year between tenants but did need a coat of paint in a couple of the rooms to help freshen things up.  We have owned the building for almost 5 years now and we haven’t painted the walls since we purchased it so it was over due.  I had meant to get paint before heading on vacation but life got in the way so after work on Monday the first task was to buy a gallon of paint to match.  Once we had the paint in hand we got to work.

First off was the bedroom upstairs.  As the building was built in the last 1800’s and had lead paint in some areas at some point we have to follow all lead safety guidelines.  First off you have to wipe down all surfaces, including all moldings, to ensure there is no loose paint chips (none of the surfaces actually have any lead that we are aware of but we follow the rules regardless).  Then we needed to give the floor some attention.  The flooring is actually wood but it is painted which means constantly maintaining the paint and keep it from chipping even though it is latex paint.  We gave it a fresh coat last year but the sublettor used an air-mattress on it which ruined the nicely painted surface.  We wanted to get this room done first to give it the most time to dry in hopes that it will not get damaged again, or at least for a little while.

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Next up was the second bedroom.  After wiping down all of the surfaces we applied a quick coat of paint to the walls.

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While I was painting Mr. SFF worked on changing out the locks to both the front and back doors.  Last time I got a quote for re-keying the locks it was going to cost almost $200 which seems absurd.  So I had the bright idea of just changing out the locks for new ones and then we would have an extra set to change out with one of our other apartments (the shell game with locks).  I bought the locksets which have matching keys before vacation and they were a pretty easy install.

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We were able to finish both bedrooms on Monday evening as well as changing out the locks and then we finished up the living area on Tuesday after work.  It was an exhausting couple of days but the place looked great once it was done.  The new tenants had planned on moving in on Thursday for a daily pro-rated amount through the end of July but we let them move in a day early as long as they stayed out of the second floor bedroom in hopes that giving the floor one more day to dry would help.

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Wednesday evening we made a trip out to Lowes to get supplies for our next apartment changeover as we knew we had a tight deadline coming up over the weekend.  Thursday night I spent packing as I had a race in Canada on Saturday.  Mr. SFF had planned on coming with me but it wasn’t until Thursday that we noticed his passport had expired.  Anyways, he stayed home to prep for the next changeover on Sunday July 31st for our other duplex.  Although I missed having him on the sidelines cheering me on I admit it was helpful for him to stay home and get stuff done (we traveled every single weekend for the month of July).

Sunday started out with a birthday party for our 4 year old nephew while we waited for the current tenant of this other apartment to move out.  This was one tenant that I was happy to see leave.  Although he kept the apartment in great shape he has had trouble paying rent since we purchased the property at the beginning of the year.  This apartment was also in decent shape so why should we have to deal with late rent when I know there are plenty of people out there who would love to live there, pay on time, and also not complain about every little thing?  (He did finally pay us June’s rent the last week in July and we used his security deposit for July’s rent so we at least didn’t lose any money on him).

He scheduled his moving truck for 1:00 and thought he would be out by 4:00.  Going forward we are going to make sure the leases end by 12:00 noon to ensure we have enough time to do these changeovers.  Mr. SFF asked if it was OK to get some things done while he was still moving as we were celebrating my sister’s birthday at our house later that evening (talk about cramming in too many things in one day!)  This apartment is in an older building and so neither bedroom has a closet.  This is not ideal when you have two women moving in and there is only one closet in the entire apartment.  They asked if we could add some storage so after bouncing around some ideas we decided to add some hanging closet-like options to each bedroom.  One bedroom was a little small but we were able to hang pipes from a nice piece of oak behind the bedroom door.  This is actually the same type of “closet” space that Mr. SFF has in our own home as we also have very little closet space.

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The second bedroom was a little bigger so we were able to add an adjusting shelving unit behind the door.  She will have the option of adding more brackets and shelves if she wishes.

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The last thing to add was some hooks by the front door.  We went the simple (cheap) route and decided to just add 3 hooks by the door.

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When the tenant had finally finished moving all of his stuff out and cleaned up it was 5:00.  I asked my sister ahead of time if she could help clean knowing if she didn’t we would not be finished in time for dinner and her birthday celebration.  Both her and her husband helped out and we were completely done in an hour.  As it was her birthday and this is a business we decided to pay them for their work.  I didn’t tell her this ahead of time so she was pleasantly surprised when I handed a check to her.  We then walked back over to our place (yay for being within walking distance) and celebrated her birthday.  Phew!

Mr. SFF went over on Monday to change out the locks (from the old ones we just removed from the other apartment) and handed over the keys to the new tenants.  We still have a couple of things left to do but so far the ladies are happy with the new storage we added.  Hopefully these ladies will be better than the last guy.  Our fingers are crossed.

The cost breakdown isn’t all that bad and I think all of it was worth it.  I take pride in our apartments and want to rent nice places so I am happy with all of these changes and glad we were able to keep the costs low.

Apt #1
Paint & supplies: $61.77
2 locksets: $57.74
Total: $119.51

Apt #2
Shelving & supplies: $140.11
Cleaning: $40
Total: $180.11

Grand Total: $299.62

Now here is to hoping that these two sets of new tenants want to stay for more than a year, pay on time, and take decent care of our property.  The ones in our duplex seem really happy so far and even brought over a nice little note with some banana bread muffins.  So far, so good!

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