The Garage (Apartment)- Part 4

>> 7.06.2012

(continued from part 1part 2, and part 3

Buying a home with a garage apartment has definitely been a lesson in "you have to spend money to make money." I'm having a tough time deciding if I would go back in time and re-do the whole thing by hiring everything out six months ago. We would have spent more money on labor costs (we were too busy fixing up the other rental, painting our own house, and training for the Ironman), but we would have made around $3,600 by having it rented out over that time period. At the same time, I'm not sure if our bank accounts would have been able to handle all of the upgrades right after buying our house. 

Oh well. Here we are at the home stretch!

Thanks to a some mid-week day off of work, there are just a few more things for us to check off of the list before renting it out:

1. Finish the floors- In a perfect world we would put down some hardwood or tile across the entire thing, but with the past mold issues and costs, we'll try to stain the concrete for now. We've never stained concrete and I'm a little worried about the patched portion taking the stain... so I'll let you know how that goes...

2. Add new baseboards and trim- This is another new-to-us task. I'm sure it will be super easy and we won't have any issues at all! (sarcasm)

3. (Re)Paint and hang the cabinets- We primed, we painted, and they peeled so we'll try again. After three unsuccessful attempts, we'll also try to eventually find new hinges that will actually fit with the doors. 

4. Swap out the faucets and toilet seat

5. Make a better path to the front door- The old broken concrete path went through a muddy patch of our yard and we would like to better separate their space from ours.

My July 4th fun:
I really hope I can convince someone to take this pile of rubble!

The rock above sits on top of our Invisible Fence which will keep Hugo away from the tenant. If you look at the before picture, you can see the flags which outline the walking path.

6. Have an electrician replace and add plugs- $$

7. Buy kitchen appliances- I'm leaning towards getting a simple hot plate and toaster oven combo instead of a full oven. There isn't any ventilation in the apartment and I'm just worried it will take up too much space/ budget. Plus, detached apartments in our area are very popular so I think we don't have to necessarily appeal to the masses... If you were renting out a <400 sqft space, would you need a full-sized oven? 


Mrs. Chic July 6, 2012 at 10:47 AM  

Ahh that sucks about the cabinets, I for when you repaint them everything will be fine this time around.

I'm leaning towards a full oven (maybe a small one not a full size one) I would just check out other detached apts in your area and see if most have full ovens- hopefully that will help your decisions.

Oh i'm glad your back to blogging :)

ashley @ July 6, 2012 at 10:50 AM  

I'm glad you're back and with fun updates! I owned a 500 sq ft condo and used a full-size oven but since you're renting it out and in a market with high demand, I don't think you'll necessarily need a full-sized version. Are you going with a full size fridge or an apartment sized one? That might also be a factor when matching appliances. Have you looked at comparable apartments that are similar to yours and what features/options they have in the kitchen? That may be able to help you gauge the demand.

Hilary July 6, 2012 at 11:51 AM  

If it were me I'd go with apt sized fridge and toaster/hot plate. Anyone renting a smaller space isn't whipping up gourmet meals. More than likely if it's a guy he won't cook much at all. If it's a nice new good sized combo unit a renter should be more than satisfied. The extra floor space will be a bonus also.

Did you sand the cabinets? Should help that paint stick! You guys are doing a great job over there.

Kira,  July 6, 2012 at 12:06 PM  

I love all these updates, Kasey. I hope to own some rental property one day so its fascinating to read about your adventures.

Definitely look into an apartment sized stove. I live in a tiny 300 sq ft studio and I use my apartment size stove so much. I don't think I would consider renting a place without one.

I'm excited to see the progress and hear how it turns out!

G July 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM  

Think about your ideal renter - do you want it to be someone who only uses a hotplate and microwave (ie, a college student)? Get an apartment sized (20") stove.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog July 6, 2012 at 1:15 PM  

@ashley~ The base cabinets were already painted and we tried to do another coat over it. I think that we probably used the wrong paint type on the lowers oil/latex and caused it to bubble up. I'll definitely sand this time around!

We'll definitely do an apartment-sized fridge with a separate door for the freezer.

@Kira~ In my research I've definitely found that stoves are deal-breakers for a lot of people so I can see that being an issue.

Jo Ro July 6, 2012 at 4:01 PM  

I would for sure get a full range (stove top w/oven) - but I'd get one of those tiny sized ones.

Sara July 6, 2012 at 9:12 PM  

I'd get a tiny apartment oven. I wouldn't rent an apartment without one. So glad to see you back to blogging. I wondered what happened to you.
Re: the cabinets. You should buy TSP to clean the cabinets and then sand them in hopes of the paint adhering better.

Good luck. I'm finding all this information on your rental journey very interesting.

My Frugal Miser July 7, 2012 at 8:16 PM  

If all you are doing is replacing old plugs, you guys could do that easily. It takes less than five minutes per plug and is just a matter of connecting black to black, white to white and neutral to ground. Be sure you shut off the power first.

Sara @ Russet Street Reno July 8, 2012 at 3:48 PM  

A small oven would be perfect. I had one in an efficiency I rented and baked cookies in it sometimes, very nice to have! Also, BIN shellac should eliminate the peeling problem.

Kasey July 8, 2012 at 7:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mary,  July 9, 2012 at 4:18 PM  

Maybe you can invest in a halogen oven. You can still bake stuff in them, and store it away when not in use.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog July 9, 2012 at 5:08 PM  

@mary~ I've never seen one of those before. Very interesting!

mary,  July 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM  

They also sell single induction burners (the kind that you can touch with your hand, but boil water really quickly when you put metal on it) Amazing!
I'm all about not heating up a big oven/stove-top

carrie @ brick city love July 10, 2012 at 3:53 PM  

When I was redoing my rental unit (a smallish studio) I found a 24" stove on craigslist. It was a good price and saved on space. The girl in the unit now cooks, so I'm hoping it's working as promised.

Also in that renovation - I painted the concrete floors. We didn't have the vertical height to add anything to the floor and the existing concrete was too uneven to add stuff anyway. It was painted with an exterior grade latex paint made for concrete & patios. Holding up pretty good 2 tenants later.

Good luck!

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