Six degrees and six vacancies… Oh shazbot!
It’s six degrees outside. Well not exactly. Technically it’s in the teens, but with the wind chill, it feels like six degrees. Needless to say, this is not normal weather in Georgia. There’s ice and snow everywhere. And as I lay in bed this morning, all I could think about was all the ways this weather could affect the six vacant houses we have sitting unprotected.
By unprotected I mean no one is living in them and taking care of them.
Wouldn’t you agree that protecting the house is one of the main jobs of a tenant? Things will break and deteriorate faster in a vacant house than if someone is living there. A tenant who keeps the heat on, the pipes dripping and wards off the snow in six degree weather is, in fact, protecting the house. That’s why when a house becomes vacant, all your focus and energy should go toward getting it filled with a good quality tenant- fast!
We can’t simply install tenants in the aforementioned six houses, however. Two of them are flips we have on the market. We recently acquired another two and have yet to start the rehabs. The last two are Lonnie Deals that went vacant two days before New Year’s. Like I said, Shazbot!
I know the Northern folks smile at us Southerners as we scurry around with only two inches of snow on the ground, but this isn’t normal for us. When temps get low like this, funny things start happening down here – beside the mass decent on the grocery stores, I mean.
For one, it’ll heat up during the day just enough to cause the top layer of snow to melt. The resulting water will refreeze into a sheet of ice known as Black Death.
The pine trees will also freeze. This will cause them to get top heavy and they’ll either fall over because the root ball can’t handle the added weight, or they’ll just snap under the extra pressure.
All this I envisioned happening to the roofs and power lines around these vacant houses as I lay cuddled up in my warm bed.
Since we had no tenants, all we could do to protect these properties was get faucet covers on the spigots, make sure the heat was on and pray that a pine tree didn’t snap and cause the power to go out. Getting this done turned out to be more treacherous than one might think.
My road has hills on both sides. As Ashley and I eased out of our subdivision, the reality of how much ice we were going to encounter sank in. It was everywhere. It really got our attention when we topped that first hill and were on a 20-foot-long sheet of ice before we could hit the brakes. In that situation you just have to go with it and pray you don’t slide off into a ditch.
Let me also give you some landlording advice here: it pays to just buy a box of faucet covers each year. It’ll run about $50, but you’ll have them on hand when the weather strikes. I was thankful we’d done just that last year and still had enough on hand to take care of things.
When we made it to Georgia State Route 53, we were so grateful to see the fantastic job the road crews had done clearing things up over the night.
We had a few more slides on our way to Sonoraville and back. All in all, we got the properties protected unscathed, but I’m telling you, six vacancies in six degree weather is not fun in Northwest Georgia.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.