Another issue we're going to talk about is permits. Most boroughs, townships, and cities require permits, particularly for substantive repairs. A lot of times you'll have contractors say, "I'll do the repair, I'll charge you $ 800, but I do not want to pull a permit.

Permit Requirements to Be Aware Of

I recommend against that. I'd say go ahead and get the right even if it costs an extra $ 100 or $ 200. If the contractor refuses to pull the permit, there's probably something wrong there. They're probably not licensed in the township you're in and they're probably trying to do the work without it.

That's fine, but the problem could be down the road. If you do work in your house and it's not permitted, then when you're going to sell your house a couple of years down the road and the city does not have the right permits and they found out work was done – when you sell it they do an inspection of some sort – you could be in some real hot water.

In the worse case they can ask you to rip out what you did and re-do it with the proper permit, particularly if it's wiring, plumbing, or anything of that nature. They could in theory ask you to rip whole walls out and start over again. Be very careful and make sure you pull the proper permits.

A Word about Tenants Doing Repairs

One of the things I think we talked a bit about on a prior call was whenever we should have tenants do repairs, particularly under $ 100 or whatever you want. If you decide to do that, there are some pros and cons to it. Be careful and make sure you inspect the work.

Sometimes tenants might want to do the repairs. They'll say, "Hey, my toilet's flooding or whatever, but I've got a friend of mine that's a plumber and I'll just have him come over and fix it." You're busy and have work to do or whatever and you say, "Sure that sounds great. For the most part it probably works fine.

Obviously go back and inspect the work yourself. I have had tenants take advantage of this. I've had tenants that would mysteriously come up with a repair almost every and every month. Then all the sudden the receivers come in and maybe the phone number's white out or something and I can never call the so-called maintenance person who did the work, but the tenant would take off a few hundred dollars off the rent.

I was always quite suspicious as to whether the work was actually getting done or the tenant found a way to scam me out of some rent. Be careful and obviously take your time and make sure things are done.

Source by Mike Lautensack