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The Shower Man
Dated: January 7 2020
In 2018, I was a new real estate agent, and took a rental listing. This means I was representing the landlord, trying to find him a tenant. Now, even being brand new, I could tell there were some huge red flags but I wasn't in the position to be turning down any business. This small 600 square foot, two bedroom apartment, was on a main street above commercial units and store fronts. The apartment was not in great shape. It was half painted, and looks like some work still needed to be done. The apartment was vacant and my landlord client would not provide me with a set of keys. He explained, the apartment isn't locked.
After doing some marketing, I made a few showing appointments. One of which, was a young lady looking for her first place on her own. The rent was reasonable for the neighborhood, so she was interested. She came with her young daughter, and her mother. The appointment is going smoothly, she liked this beat up apartment, until I turn around and see a man at the door.
There was a man standing in the doorway, wearing boxers and an undershirt, with a towel hanging over his shoulder. My client, her mother and I are looking at this guy, completely confused and speechless. As he lets himself in, he says, “Hot water is broken.” and walks into the bathroom and locks the door. Then we hear the shower turn on.
I understood that there would be some tricky situations as a real estate agent during these showing, but I wasn't prepared for this one. The woman looks at me and says “ If I sign a lease, do we have to share the shower with him?”
Turns out my landlord client, owns the building next door and instructed his tenant that until he fixes the hot water, just shower in the vacant unit. Unfortunately, when I was discussing the listing with the landlord, I was never told to coordinate my showings with his tenant’s shower schedule.
First, never leave a vacant unit unlocked. Leaving an apartment completely unlocked during a cold winter in New York can attract squatters or troublemakers looking for a place to hang out. Leaving a vacant unit totally open to the public is a huge risk, especially since whomever sneaks in is probably going to cause some damage to your property.
Second, the condition you see the apartment in can tell you a lot about the landlord or management of the apartment. As a landlord myself, I would never allow a vacancy to be shown in anything less than top notch condition. Yes, often times an apartment has to be spruced up after the previous tenant, but only after the old tenant is out and work is complete do I begin showing.
Often times when a landlord or manager is careless about the condition of their property, it's a sign that they may not be very responsive to maintenance requests once you move in. Additionally, in this case the landlord didn't fix his tenant’s hot water, and told a tenant to use the hot water from a different building, which is crazy.
Third, a note to investors: Purchasing the property is only the first step, and usually the easiest. Proper management of the investment property is crucial to generate a good return. You can either take the time to learn about how to properly take care of your investment, or hire a professional property manager.
On a mission to provide his customers with the absolute best solutions in the world of real estate and prioritizing customer satisfaction above everything else, Joseph "Joe" Baratta, has made it a po....
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