I’m incredibly interested in investment property. People who want other sources of income besides simply putting money in the bank and hoping for the best use these as financial security. The best part of buying investment properties is when you find an owner who has a building with great bones, but he or she hasn’t kept up the property. This means you may get a great deal, be able to do renovations, and fill that property with more tenants, meaning more cash in your wallet. If the market increases in value, you can become very rich, just by knowing how to look for the right properties.
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Now I’m not going to tell you all the things you need to look for when buying real estate. That would take far too long, and “Rich Dad” can do all that for me. However, I find it interesting how home railing can be an integral part of making your apartments or condos ready for the market.
Recently, I went out to look at twelve apartment unit, each with its own balcony. Amongst other damage, the railing had clearly not been maintained, thus making it uninsurable. There was significant structural damage where rust had corroded large sections of paint. It even looked like someone had tried painting over a hideous green color, and then tried painting it white at a later date. There were large holes where the railing was welded together. The old owner had used some sort of adhesive, I’m guessing Gorilla glue to fill in the holes, which had no effect.
Did you know that rust is the most common source of damage to both the aesthetics and the safety of home railing? Often improperly welded metal pieces are the source of rust damage. Simply painting over the rust or using hardware store adhesives can do more damage than good, especially if it causes unsafe railing to look safe.
I have to make a confession here. If someone is selling something online or in store, I will do whatever it takes to see if I can get it for well below value, or preferably free. For example, on Youtube, you can find many online courses for which others charge hundreds of dollars. But it takes an enormous amount of time. I figured, I’ll just talk to a welder and see if he can cut me a deal. The price of welding was about the same price as replacing all units. I thought about how I could install the cheapest railing possible. I looked at the DIY railing on a budget on Pinterest like lattice work, ropes, and branch and logs. Then I realized not only would that mean a lot of extra work for me, but it would look cheap. I also didn’t know how well these rails would last over 5, 10, 20, or even 50 years. If potential renters saw my janky railing, they might be deterred from renting from me.
I finally decided to go with a prefabricated powder-coated aluminum railing system. Instead of welding the railing to the posts, it simply mounts with brackets and uses self-drilling screws. Doing this allowed me, with a couple friends and family members, to install the railing myself, relatively easily, and quickly. The best part was all I had to pay them was beer and pizza for helping me install it. The price of the aluminum rail was only slightly higher than the steel railings, and since the property had trouble with its steel railings corroding, I decided not to take that chance. The other awesome part about the aluminum was that there was no paint involved. Being powder-coated, you don’t risk the paint peeling off or corroding.
I’m glad I made the obvious choice on the aluminum railing, even if it took me a little while to get there. I’m happy with the look and safety features, and I’m now renting out all twelve units!