by Mac Mowbray


South Bethlehem has a few questions

I am in the process of purchasing a small apartment house close to my home. It appears to have been built in the 1960’s. It is not in bad shape, just tired and shabby.  The tenants all moved out within a few months of each other leaving the elderly owners with 6 units to do over.  They decided to sell instead.  The mechanicals are in good shape, hot water heaters only a few years old, plumbing and wiring are up to date.  The roof is 5 years old.  No outbuildings; no garages. Just a large lawn, which has been kept up ok.  My problem:  The whole place is carpeted and that appears to be as old as the building itself.  Talk about over the hill.  This stuff is faded, torn, dirty, greasy, threadbare and smelling of small critters. Should I re-carpet or is there another solution? There is particleboard under the carpet.

Mac answers: R. I. U.

Rip It Up!!  Fast!  Then clean and paint.  That way, you won’t have to mess with masking and drop cloths.  Then when you are finished with that, you have a decision to make.  My suggestion would be to go with the new easy to install laminate flooring that is on the market now.  It wears well and cleans up easily.  Of course, you will have to encourage your tenants to purchase area rugs because of the noise factor.  The folks underneath each apartment will hear people and especially kids, walking and running upstairs. If you are going to have young people, college kids etc., you might want to consider cheap carpeting that can be pulled up after each tenant leaves. The other alternative is hardwood flooring.  It’s more expensive and harder to install than the laminate.  If you were counting on an upscale clientele, this would be ok, people like nice hard wood flooring.  It enhances the value of the building.


Colonie’s tenants have a storage problem

.  One of  my best tenants has asked me for more shelf storage in the bathroom.  I am not much of a carpenter and I am just a little short of money.  I almost had a heart attack after the first two estimates for wood shelves came in.  Any suggestions?

Mac answers: Can you use an electric drill and a screwdriver? If the answer is no, you should  probably sell the building.  If you can, go to the hardware or big box store and check out the shelving and closet section.  You will see a collection of plastic coated wire shelves and brackets that are easy to assemble and fasten to the wall.  You can design your own configuration or you can get some of them pre-made.  Just follow the directions for attaching to a  sheetrock wall. You will need toggle bolts unless you are lucky enough to hit a stud where you want to put the screws.

Spring appears to be here. We could get snow, but  before we do, it would be a good idea to check all those drains, gutters and sewers for leaves and other debris. Check the masonry for cracks and spalling. Even though the winter was mild, things do happen. Best not to paint or plant yet.  You could be disappointed.

See you next month.  Keep those questions coming