Let’s start at the beginning
When the Navy brought me to San Diego, I knew that I had to purchase property in one of the best real estate markets in the country. At that time, I knew nothing about building, rehabbing, or even painting. My wife and I purchased a three unit complex in City Heights in hopes that we could live in one unit and rent the other two to supplement the mortgage.
The triplex that we picked seemed to bring in considerably higher rents per square foot in the listing reports than the other properties that we looked at. We toured the structure with our accepted offer and noticed that it was in need of some serious remodeling and pest control (roaches, yuck!) We knew that we were going to have to remodel each unit as tenants turned over.
Even with no experience, I thought “how hard could it be?” Luckily, I have a father-in-law and brother-in-law who both had years of experience in the construction industry. With a little bit of ambition and a down payment, we purchased the property and moved in. Little did we know that the complex was previously run by a “slum lord” and the rents that were reported on the listing documents were overinflated and inconsistent. ROOMS were rented out instead of entire units (like an illegal hotel) and no leases existed.
We learned a lot that year living in those units. We went through two eviction cases with San Diego Superior Court (and won due to nonpayment of rent) and witnessed a Sheriff’s lockout. That was not fun, and probably the most stressful time of my life. We later found out that drugs were being distributed on the property. We knew that we couldn’t raise a family there, and furiously searched for a single family home for us to purchase and move into.
In the meantime, I recruited my in-laws to give me a crash course in basic plumbing, electrical, carpentry and painting so that we could transition the property from a run-down tenement into a fresh and updated property that we could rent to a more respectable and reliable demographic. Little did I know that these early experiences would mold me into the California General Contractor that I would become.
More on that later…
Keep checking back for more personal experiences derived from working on thousands of remodeling projects large and small supplemented with tips and tricks of the trade that other contractors don’t want you to know.