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Construction quality

When you’re standing on a deck or any man-made structure, do you ever wonder who built it and if they knew what they were doing. When looking at properties, these questions should be considered. And if you’re doing the work yourself, it’s always important to make sure that it is being done right. Failing to do so can cost a lot of money and even lives.

Consider the deck in this picture. I was showing a duplex in the St. Louis neighborhood of McKinley Heights yesterday and came across this beauty. It is actually the building next door to the one I was showing, but the property attached (or formerly attached) to this deck is also for sale. It is quite a sight to behold. Careful inspection of the deck revealed that the wood didn’t seem rotten at all. In fact, other than being a bit weathered due to inadequate sealing, it appeared to be in good shape. It seems that the reason this deck collapsed is that the only thing holding it against the building was a couple of metal hooks and nails.

Now consider for a moment what would have happened if you bought this property before the deck had collapsed, done a bit of work and put tenants in. You tenants have a barbecue, they deck collapses and a dozen people are either injured or killed. Not only are you going to be out a ton of money to fix the thing, but you would likely be sued as well.

It’s always important to note things like this when you are buying any property. On the surface things may look fine, but costly issues could be hiding around any corner or behind any wall. There is always an element of risk in these purchases, but make sure you don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of. When doing construction yourself, sometimes it pays to spend the extra money and have an experienced carpenter (or at least someone with half a brain) do the work for you. Know your limitation and know the limitations of your contractors. It’s the better bet in the long run.

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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn’t representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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