How to Dismantle a Radiator

Today is brought to you by the words “Cast Iron” as in Cast Iron Radiators are HEAVY.  Yes.  Cast iron radiators are incredibly heavy (that’s why cast iron is used to make a variety of body-building weights).  We’re flipping a house and I was “smart” enough to purchase the house in February, right after the polar vortex descended on central Pennsylvania.  I knew the house was frozen, I just didn’t know how much damage ice can cause to a piping system.

Well, after everything thawed, I learned that six of the eleven radiators in the house had burst and needed to be replaced.  We were able to find replacement radiators, I just needed to remove the broken radiators (my contractor didn’t want to do that…)

I decided I was up to the task of removing the radiators.  Last weekend, my business partner and I hauled out two of the radiators (fully intact).  When I got the radiators weighed at the metal scrapper’s yard, each radiator weighed 350lbs!

They weren’t the big radiators.

I decided I needed a better plan to dismantle the broken radiators so each section was manageable by one person.  My plan was to dismantle each radiator and load it onto the day-job’s truck for removal to the scrap metal yard.

Radiators are rather simple contraptions.  They are a series of columns or tubes held together by tension rods:

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If you look closely, you’ll notice two different types of radiators in the picture above: Column and tubes.  Here are detailed pictures of the tube and column type radiators:

Tube type radiators have more, but smaller ‘tubes’ in the radiators (photo on the left; generally 5 or 6 tubes).  The column type radiators have fewer, but larger ‘tubes’ for the hot water (photo on right; generally 3 or 4 columns).  From a demolition perspective, it doesn’t matter if they’re tube type or column type, they’re heavy!  From a physics perspective, the more surface area of the radiator, the higher the heat transfer.  This higher heat transfer lowers the return water temperature to the boiler, allowing your boiler to fire for a longer period of time, increasing the energy efficiency of the boiler.

Sorry for the science lesson, we’re here to discuss dismantling radiators.

You’ll need a few tools to dismantle a radiator (associate links):
1) Sawzall – I use the 12-Amp Milwaukee corded version.  It’s not the most heavy duty, but for the price, it will get through just about anything.  If this is your first sawzall, skip the cordless versions for a corded version.  When you’re ready to purchase your fifth sawzall for your mobile demolition unit (aka: Van), you can consider the cordless version.
2) Sledge hammer – I know there are a variety of plastic handle sledges available on the market, but I prefer good ole American Ash.
3) Wrecking Bar – You may ask why it’s a ‘wrecking bar’ rather than a “crow bar” or a “pry bar”.  Well, how often do you see a murder of crows sitting around drinking beer?  If I wanted to demolish a radiator, would I want to only ‘pry’ it apart, or wreck it?  I’d wreck it.

I will stop here for a moment to remind everyone to be safe when they are demolishing radiators.  You should use protective gear including, but not limited to: hearing protection, eye protection, protective clothing, gloves, steel toed boots, a helmet, space suit, etc.  (Do as I say, not as I do) I wore hearing protection and squeezed my eyes shut tight as my sledge hammer connected with the cast iron.

A further note of warning: When I was smashing one of the radiators with the sledge hammer, a ~4oz piece of iron flew off the radiator and ended up embedded in the oak floor.  If we use conservation of momentum (M1iV1i + M2iV2i = M1fV1f + M2fV2f) we could solve for the final velocity of the chunk of radiator: Mass of Sledge*Initial Velocity of sledge + Mass of chunk*Initial Velocity of Chunk = Mass of Sledge*Final Velocity of Sledge + Mass of Chunk*Final Velocity of Chunk ==> 4.535kg(sledge)*1m/s (initial velocity) + 0.1134kg (Chunk)*0m/s = 4.535kg(sledge)*0m/s (Final) + 0.1134kg*X(m/s) ==> 4.535 kg*m/s = 0.1134 kg * X ==> 4.535kg*(m/s)/0.1134kg = X ~~> 40m/s (or 89.5 miles per hour).  That little chunk of metal would do some damage to soft flesh.

The first step: (gear up) take your sawzall and cut each of the tension rods which hold the radiators together.  There will be three to five tie rods holding the radiators together.  This specific radiator had four rods.  I slid the blade of my sawzall between the tubes of this radiator and cut through each of the tension rods (circled in orange).  Depending on the radiator, some of the rods may be under a lot of tension.  The upper most nut/rod part shot out of this radiator, which is why the tension rod is missing in this picture.

TieRods2

 

Step 2: Break each section.  After the tension rods are cut, only paint and rust hold the radiators together.  However, even though it’s only paint and rust, it’s 100 years of paint and rust, so these sections only come apart reluctantly.  For the second step, you want to take your sledge and hit each radiator section a few times, until you see a small crack in the paint between each section:

Hair line fracture

Once you see the small crack in the paint (do you see it? It’s there…) you can move to the next section.  I found it was easiest to use the sledge to ‘soften’ the whole radiator first, then we’ll go after it with the wrecking bar.  After a lot of smashing:

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Depending how brittle the cast iron is, you may mangle the radiators.  This is also how small pieces of the radiators fly off at incredibly high speeds.  After you’ve softened the entire radiator, you can get your wrecking bar.  Now, you have to be smart when you’re working with the radiators: you don’t want them to fall on you while you’re working.  These radiators can easily weigh 500lbs.  If one falls on your leg while you’re smashing them, your leg is toast – plan to walk again in six months.  BE CAREFUL and BE SMART.  Don’t let them tip over.  Don’t push them over.  Don’t be stupid.  If you think “this is a bad idea but…”, IT’S A BAD IDEA, DON’T DO IT.

(Again, do as I say, not as I do)

I learned.  The first radiator I worked on did tip over on.  It didn’t land on my leg, but it was still scary as this 400lb piece of iron fell over.  I actually worried about the integrity of the floor joists after the radiator fell.  After the first radiator, I braced each radiator as I worked on it.

IMG_20140330_130309242

 

You’ll note the 2×4 under the one leg of the radiator.  This 2×4 holds the radiator up at an angle so I can work on half of the radiator with little worry of the whole beast falling over on me.

So, brace your radiators and grab your wrecking bar.  Place the wrecking bar between the first two sections of the radiator and start wiggling the bar.  The radiators are held together with a flange and throat assembly and “only” need to be separated:

Once the radiators are separated, you can haul them to the scrap yard for recycling.  Locally, the scrap is selling for between $0.05 and $0.06/lb.  While this may not seem like much, if a radiator weighs 500lbs, it’s worth $25 as scrap.  I pulled out six radiators plus the boiler (additional 500lbs).  That’s between $150 and $200 for all the scrap metal.

Flip update

Tired on Sunday

Hey everyone.  Sorry I’ve been quite absent this past week, it’s been a LONG week for me.  To start things off, my wife (and daughter) were out of town, assisting my mother-in-law for the week.  Then, my immune system decided to take a vacation.  It got rough enough that I even took a sick day from work (I think I’ve only taken three in 9 years of work).

We were insulating a house at work this week (not a bad week to be sick), but the insulation job was SLOOOOWW.  What should have taken about two days to complete took a little over five days (I say ‘a little over’, because we are going back on Monday).  Rather than be a simple retrofit insulation job where we drill a hole in a wall, insert a 1.25″ tube and fill with insulation, we encountered 1.5″ of stucco over 1.5″ of wood lath.  We had to rent a dry-core drill bit and rent an SD-Max drill.  You may have no clue what I’m talking about, and honestly, neither did I until Monday when we rented the drill and dry-core bit.  The dry-core bit is a drill bit made for going through cement.  The bit is about 18″ long, has about six teeth at the end and a funky spiral pattern on the side.  The bit costs $180 (that’s not a typo).

The drill the bit fits on is a hammer drill.  Picture a mini-jackhammer.  This drill was about 30lbs without the drill bit (another 2lbs or so).  You may say “32lbs??? What, are these construction guys wimps?”  Well, we had to do the drilling while standing on a 16′ extension ladder.  Needless to say, our center of gravity was off to begin with, then to we decided to throw it a further 32lbs out of whack.

No one got hurt, it was just a LONG week at work.

Then I had to manage our house flip.  In an awesome twist of fate, my day job’s insulation job (with the mini-jackhammer) was literally located in the backyard of my house flip.  At lunch, I walked 50′ into the backdoor of my flip to meet with the contractor and answer questions (if any) or simply see what he was up to during the previous day.

On Monday, I saw the following situation:

Yes, a bunch of seemingly random studs, some acrylic shower/tub liners and red/blue PEX pipe.  However, even when I saw this, the contractor kept telling me “April 1, we’ll be finished inside and working on the roof.”  I kept thinking “yeah….right.  You and some special army will finish this work.”

Well, my contractor called in Seal Team 6 to get the work finished.  I’m not sure how he did it, but he did.  These pictures were taken on Sunday:

Somehow the dude pulled out all the stops and got both bathrooms (and the kitchen) to the point of painting by Saturday.

I’m B-L-O-W-N–A-W-A-Y with the effort he put into it.  On Saturday, I again asked him if we were over or under budget.  He conferred with his partner and they both agreed that they are still under budget (not exactly sure how).  We’ll be meeting on Friday to discuss budget and see how over/under we really are.  I’m hoping I’m not swimming naked with the tide going out…

Anyway, last week was long for me…this upcoming week will be long for me.  I’ve got a full week of work and have to get the house painted with my partner (and if there’s time, get the kitchen flooring installed).  Our investors are coming on on Saturday to see the progress, so I need to get a bunch completed by then.

As tired as I am currently (as in: right at this moment), my investors have told me that they are ready to buy the next house to flip (I keep telling them to sell the first one!).  I may be beat right now, but it certainly feels great to have investors who are willing to take on project #2.  (Deep down, it makes me wonder: could I get paid to work the flips (as a day job) as well as maintain ownership of the project (splitting the profits)…the thoughts are in the back of my head…)

My wife is REALLY awesome

IMG_20140303_193340384

 

It seems that wherever I go, I leave a trail of houses-under-construction in my wake.  The picture above, was taken in my ‘wood stove room’ (ie: the room that has our heating source).  Because the picture is so well laid out, you probably didn’t notice the bare wood studs on the wall in the background, or the lack of baseboard trim.  If we panned the camera up, you couldn’t help but notice the missing trim around the kitchen window.  Continuing up the wall to the ceiling, the stalactites of foam insulation would convince you you had ended up in a Star Wars movie set on some alien planet.

My house is perpetually under construction.

My wife is awesome because she puts up with a half-finished house, however, my wife is REALLY awesome because of the object in the middle of the picture.  That object sat in our wood stove room for about two weeks.  As you can see, there is some drywall and some 2×4 lumber.  Kind of an odd object.

Well, if you have followed the saga of my flip, you’ll know that my first contractor is/was a magician.  The wall has been replaced, but with the new plan, the wall shifted about 3″ to the left, away from the bathroom.

IMG_20140216_150048112

 

What you can’t see in the picture above are the two radiators, one in the [former] bathroom (to the right) and one in the master bedroom (to the left).  When we decided on the layout for the entire bathroom, we needed slightly more room, about 3″ to be exact.  The problem was the radiator in the master bedroom, the radiator was tight to the wall.  When the wall shifted, the master bedroom side of the wall ran through the radiator.

We did some head scratching, some measuring, more head scratching, a little more measuring and finally decided to inset the radiator into the wall.  The only problem with doing this was painting the wall behind the radiator with the radiator in place.

Our solution was to build the radiator alcove before we built the wall.  We built the alcove at the flip, tested to make sure the alcove would fit around the radiator.  Once we were sure our plan would work, I took the alcove home and it sat in my wood stove room as I worked to get it finished.  I had to mud the corners and screws, sand the mud, mud again, then finally paint the alcove.

Even though I had this random part of a wall sitting in my living room, my wife never complained. I knew she was awesome before.  She’s proven she’s REALLY awesome.

The flip’s landing on it’s feet

Assuming you’ve been following the progress on my flip, you know that I started off with high hopes, which were quickly squashed by my first contractor, only to be revived by my second contractor.  The second contractor is awesome.  He has totally taken charge of this project; he calls daily with updates, asks questions, provides intelligent feedback and works incredibly quickly.  In less than one week, he had finished gutting what needed to be gutted, removed broken radiators, located new radiators (and had them delivered), rewired all the rooms that needed to be rewired, reframed what needed to be reframed and replumbed most of what needed to be replumbed.  I was blown away (in a good way this time).  He’s actually taking time off this week to finish another job, but I suspect it’s to allow me to catch up to him.

Assuming he comes in around the budget numbers, he’s my go to guy for my next project (yes, there is one on the horizon).

My contractor gave me some budget numbers: $1.50/sf for tile, $150/bath fan & light and approximately $500 for electrical odds and ends.  I was able to locate some tile for $0.50/sf, a bath fan & light for $20 and I had some 12/2 wire and other electrical odds and ends available.  My goal is to shave approximately $1,000 off the budget.

Some other finds:

From Left to right, top to bottom: Some additional tile for $1.00/sf from the local Habitat ReStore; Prefinished hardwood for $0.40/sf from ReStore; Both toilets from ReStore for $1.00 and $53.00 respectively; More tile for $1.00/sf; and a pocket door kit.

The pocket door kit is a story unto itself.  If you notice, there is a sticker on the door kit for $65, but on the rail above it is listed at $74.  When we brought it up to the counter to be purchased, it rang into the register at $74.  I asked the cashier to double check it and she replied (nicely) “I sell what the SKU is”.  I (nicely) replied “I pay what it says to pay, which is $65”.  She (nicely) agreed and took $9 off of our final bill for ‘customer satisfaction’.  I don’t think I’m becoming a cheap skate, but I realize that too many times in life I allow money to be ‘lost’, such as on this door.

Updated Analysis of a Flip

Earlier I presented my numbers for the house flip that is currently under construction.  Those were my original numbers.  Here are some more up to date numbers as the project has progressed.  Some very experienced flippers would probably tell me that my original scope of work (SOW) was no good to begin with.  I’m actually operating under that notion anyway.  However, just because the scope of work was bad doesn’t mean the numbers were wrong.  Here are some updated numbers:

Original Estimate: Updated Projections
Item Cost
Property Purchase  $                 25,000 Property Purchase  $                 25,302
Kitchen Cabinets  $                    1,725 Credit for boiler  $                 (5,050)
Counter Tops  $                    6,480 Insurance Pmt  $                          88
Appliances  $                    1,350 Clean and prep of house  $                    2,542
Electrical repairs  $                    1,000 Kitchen Cabinets  $                       696
1st Floor refinish  $                    3,600 2 Bathroom and kit. Install  $                 11,380
2nd floor carpeting  $                    1,500 Add Alt: Roof Repair  $                    2,800
Bathroom update  $                    1,500 Interior paint  $                       750
Painting  $                       750 1st floor flooring repair  $                    3,600
Heating system  $                    1,000 2nd floor carpeting  $                    1,500
labor  $                    6,720 Boiler replacement  $                    4,000 No fuel switch
Contingency  $                    2,563 Appliances  $                    1,350
Add Alt: Exterior Paint  $                       500
Total:  $                 53,188 Contingency:  $                    2,500
Total:  $                 51,958

You’ll notice that the categories don’t quite line up.  For instance, the price for the two bathrooms does not really coincide with anything on my original estimate as we decided to add a 2nd bathroom into the project AFTER having closed on the house (not the best flipping strategy).  However, I believe I was conservative enough in my original estimates that I was able to bury the 2nd bathroom costs in the rest of the job.

A few things to note:

1) There were no associated costs for demolition in the original estimate.  I had assumed the clean out would take two days.  I was wrong.  Apparently, to make a bathroom disappear takes approximately two weeks.
2) The boiler cost looks like a loss ($1,000 in original, $4,000 in the new projection).  However, if we factor in the credit for the boiler ($5,050) plus the original $1,000, I actually had $6,050 for a boiler and I am projecting $4,000, which is a $2,050 benefit to my budget.  The only problem is this: with the intense cold we had here, the boiler tripped off, the system refroze and instead of one cracked radiator, I have six cracked radiators.  Ouch.
3) I forgot to include counter top in my updated projections.  I had originally spec’d out 16 running feet at a cost of $40/SF for a total of $6,400.  I had assumed some high end solid counter material.  After talking with some other house flippers, who told me I could make a counter top of gold leaf for $6,400, I decided to look around.  I thought, “Hell, what’s granite cost?”  Well, actually not as much as I originally thought.  I can buy slabs of granite for $145/slab (72″ x 25.5″ x 1.25″) – the only catch is I have to buy four.  So, purchasing four granite slabs including shipping is about $900, I only need two slabs, so for this flip, the cost is $450 (do you have a need for two granite slabs?).  I then have to cut the slabs and round over the edges.  I have a plan for how to cut the slabs so it looks good.  Stay tuned for a future post.
4) As with any project, we’re beginning to experience project creep, meaning small items are beginning to pop up which add to the cost of the project.  For example: Because of the disappearing bathroom, the existing waste line is now at a really bad height.  So bad in fact that we have to cut the waste line in the BASEMENT and install an entirely new line up through the house.  It’s so easy to think “Well, it’s only an additional $25, let’s go ahead and do it.”  Well, if you do that six times over the course of 30 minutes (which is easy), you’ve blown $150 (I don’t make $300/hr, do you?).
5) I’ve taken the project creep mentality and applied it to materials.  The fart fan*/light combo allowance: $150/light.  I found a matching set on eBay for $20/ea.  This would represent a savings of $260 over my contractor’s allowance.

The last, but most import observation between my original numbers and the updated numbers is this, as my business partner pointed out when we finish with this house, there will not be one thing the homeowners will have to do after they buy the house.  Everything will have been addressed.  Two brand new bathrooms; a brand new kitchen; a new master suite; new flooring; new roofs; freshly painted.  What’s not to like?  Based on my projections, we will have accomplished all of that with the same original budget, meaning my profit margins are still intact.

Disappearing Act

Bathroom (Before)

Bathroom (Before)

Sunday marks the official end to the third week of the Philipsburg Phlip project.  During the second week of work, my contractor did a few things which caused me to question if he should remain on the job.  Over on BiggerPockets, some more knowledgeable people suggested I fire the contractor after the first infraction.  I still wanted to give the contractor the benefit-of-the-doubt, so I let him continue working this week.

(Note to self: Should have listened to the sages over on BP and fired the contractor after the first infraction)

However, I didn’t. I figured the contractor simply needed some more direction with more defined parameters from which to work.

I was wrong.

On Monday of this week, I had a discussion with the contractor regarding the bathroom on the 2nd floor.  My contractor has wanted to almost gut the entire room; I only wanted to remove and replace most of the major components.  Close to the end of our conversation, I said “Do not touch the plumbing or flooring until we’ve reviewed everything with my partner.  We’ll talk Tuesday evening about this issue.  Do not touch the plumbing.”  The contractor acknowledged this request.

Tuesday morning, I received a phone call from my contractor.  He had a few questions regarding some of the other work occurring this week.  At some point in the conversation, he let slip “well, you’ve got all the flexibility you want in that bathroom.”  To which I replied: “John*, I said we’re not touching that plumbing.”

He replied “Well, I figured it would be easier to replace it with plastic and people would rather plastic than cast [iron]. It only took me four or five hours yesterday [Monday] to remove the plumbing and flooring.”

Me: “John, you’re kidding right?”

John: “No, it was relatively easy, and its only going to take like two or three hours to put it all back and about $100 in materials.  It’ll add like $3,000 to the value of the house.”

Me: “No, it won’t add anything to the value of the house because no one really cares what is under the floor.  It will subtract from this flip’s profitability.  Don’t do anything else to the 2nd floor, finish the framing on the first floor and don’t plan on any more days this week until I get a chance to review the work.”  At this point, the room was nearly spinning around me.

So I was hemming and hawing about what I should do, and finally decided to fire the contractor and not pay him for the removal work and reduce his final check by the estimated amount of the repairs (time and materials).  This morning, I met with him to square up our accounts (I hadn’t seen the bathroom yet).  Strangely enough, John apologized for the ‘miscommunication’ regarding the bathroom.  Fair enough, but still not good enough to sway my mind.

A few other red-flags rose during our squaring of the books this morning.  Twice, John said “Well, I didn’t bill you for that tool.”  The second time, I finally replied, “John, you’re a contractor, you’re supposed to have tools.”  I was also accused of not knowing the price of gasoline because I refused to pay mileage to and from the job site each day.  I would have considered mileage if John had put in a good solid 4×10’s weeks for a minimum of 120 billable hours.  John only has about 80 billed hours over three weeks.  I reminded John that if he didn’t show up on site, he wouldn’t have work.

At the end of the meeting, John began to discuss work this coming week.  I stopped him and forced myself to look him in the eye and say “John, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I need to terminate this project.  This project is stressful enough for me that I don’t need to worry if you’re going to follow the plan.  I need to know you’re going to follow the plan and I am just unable to do so now.”

John vented at me for a while and I let him.  I know he’s in a very tight spot right now and I feel badly about that, but I need to protect 1) my investor’s money and 2) my own sanity.  John was, and I’m sure is, very upset.

After leaving my meeting with John, I headed up to assess the damage with my partner and formulate a new plan forward. When I got to the house, my partner asked me “How much did you ask John to remove?” I said “just the tile and backer board, why?  I know he removed all the drywall, but you already saw the bathroom since then.”  This is what I was expecting to see:

IMG_20140216_150048112

My partner replied: “Well, the bathroom is gone.”  I didn’t believe my partner, but this is what I saw:

My brother is a magician and I don’t think he could have done a better job at making something disappear.  (The pictures above are taken from almost the same position as the photo at the top of this post)

My partner and I are both contractors, so we were able to quickly formulate a new plan.  A little sweat equity on our parts will right this ship, but jeeze-oh-man, this is not how I wanted to start this flip.  I figured better to quickly cut ties with John then let the problems persist any longer.

As a learning experience, I should have 1) visited the site BEFORE I cut ties with John.  That would have allowed me to make a determination as to the extent of the damage, therefore how much to reduce the final paycheck to compensate for the damages and  2) Followed my gut on John’s abilities.  I wanted to believe he was capable of handling this project, but my gut was telling me to be VERY cautious.  My gut was right.

*not his real name

Analysis of a Flip

I recently started on an ambitious (for me) project.  I decided to reach out to some family friends and see if they wanted to partner on a house flip.  Essentially, we would buy a run down house, fix it up nicely and return it to market, making money by selling for more than we put into it.  The family friends put up the money (up to $50,000) and HBS will put in the head-scratching, project management stressing work.  I then decided to partner my share with my brother-in-law, who has much better carpentry skills than I do.  He’ll keep the project moving from a technical stand point.

My initial analysis is as follows:

Purchase Price: $23,000
Kitchen Cabinets: $1,725
Counter Tops: $6,480
Appliances: $1,350
Electrical Repairs: $1,000
1st Floor Refinish: $3,600
2nd Floor Carpeting: $1,500
Bathroom Update: $1,500
Painting: $750
Heating System: $1,000
Labor: $6,720
Contingency: $2,563

Total Investment: $53,188

Estimated sales price (conservative, ie. low): $72,590
Potential Profit: $19,403 before taxes, holding costs and closing costs
Holding Costs: -$2,150
Closing C0sts: -5,978
Net Profit: $11,275

With a 50/25/25 split, the investors stand to make $5,637.50 and my brother-in-law and I each stand to make $2,818.75.  While it’s not a HUGE payday, I think we will actually do better than that so long as I really drive hard to meet my improvement budget.

Before Pictures:

Life of a Landlord – Part 1

Frozen Pipe

 

You never really know how residents will react when something goes awry in one of your properties.  This morning, I received a panicked phone call from a resident in one of my duplexes.  A pipe had frozen and there was no water in their unit.

There is not too much to do to fix a frozen pipe except to either try to thaw the pipe or wait for the pipe to thaw.  Obviously once the pipe has thawed, you need to be ready in case there is a pipe burst.  I advised my residents to move a space heater into the basement and call if there is a problem as it warms up.  Well, about two hours after that phone call, I got another phone call: “Hey, uhh, I got a swimming pool in my basement.”

The first thought through my head was: man, that didn’t take long to thaw.  Thought number 2: this is going to cost a TON; thought 3: I’m going to have to run down and fix the pipes this evening…there goes my Friday night call a local plumber and get this taken care of immediately.  I also asked a contractor friend of mine to take 12 gallons of water (six gallons per unit) to the duplex until this got resolved.

I called RotoRooter to see if they handled burst pipes.  Luckily, they do handle these issues and they try to ensure a less than 24-hour turn around.  The pipe burst at about 3pm, RotoRooter was called at about 3.45 and by 5.30pm they were on site working on the pipe.  By 7pm I had received a phone call that the problem had been addressed.

There were three bursts, two in a pipe and one that broke the back side of the water meter.  I now have a new water meter, some new pipe and (hopefully) a happy resident.

Through the course of this, I learned that the water had actually been frozen for a full 24 hours before anyone decided to call me.  No idea why no one decided to call.  I asked what they had been doing for water for the previous 24 hours (figuring they had purchased bottled water).  The reply: Melting snow on the stove.  I told both residents to call as soon as there is a problem like this in the future and not wait 24 hours.

Anyway, for 18 months as a landlord and one issue like this, not too bad.

Why do I invest in real estate?

Why do I invest in real estate?  Good question.  I have learned that there are very few things more satisfying than transforming run down (some would say “should have been torn down”) real estate.  Looking at the ‘before’ pictures, I realize that I’ve significantly improved a dwelling.

Why do I invest in real estate?  I am going to make money.  I am building my retirement portfolio right now.

Why do I invest in real estate?  There is honestly no feeling like when you see that your new residents are so excited to move in that they are barely able to contain their smiles.

That is why I invest in real estate.