We had keys in our hand as we drove up to our first investment properties. We had just spent a grand total of $5k for 2 rowhomes off market from a burnt-out landlord we met at a meetup. We arrived to the first property and opened it up to find graffiti on the walls, trash bags all over, torn up carpet and walls and the worst smelling refrigerator I have ever come into contact with. Okay... at least it had a fenced in yard. We found a grill in the literal 4-foot weeds. I'm not someone who gives up easily so I could see the vision of renovating this. We took pictures, made notes and were ready to check out property #2.
We pulled up and saw bikes on the porch, some food that didn't look like it had been sitting out for long and a big "Unfit for human habitation" sign on the door from the city. This was the property the seller said he had gotten the tenants out of; I figured he had, especially given the sign, but it was odd to see bikes and food on the porch. We knocked on the door... no answer. Turn the key and enter. We were hit wit a wave of stench that was like a hot summer porta-potty at a country concert x 10. There were literal urine bottles strewn across the living room (which was covered in several feet of trash), kitchen (pipes were cut in an apparent attempt to get the tenants out), toilet overflowing with (use your imagination) and then we entered a bedroom to see a kid on a bare mattress on the floor staring up at us. This is NOT what we signed up for! The mother came down a minute later looking like a deer in headlights. As a physician I am a mandated reporter for child endangerment and this certainly fit the bill. She said she worked for several days and would be out by the weekend (what?!). Pics below of the "cleanest" room in the house AFTER cleanup started.
We left the 2nd house speechless. As we sat in the car in silence for a few minutes and stared at each other, we contemplated throwing in the towel. I couldn't even fathom trying to rehab this house at the moment.
The next morning, we regrouped. We said these would be practice properties since we got them for so cheap, so by damned we were going to do this. We started looking for contractors to hire in the area and found one who said he could start the next day! Jackpot (or so we thought)!
Lesson of the day: You are going to hit difficulties in any and every area of life. It's not whether you will, but how you respond to them. Many people who hit failure have a "why me" mentality and make excuses. The winners look for the lessons in failure. People who succeed aren't lucky, they are determined.