Before and After …

I run into some pretty nasty cleaning issues but over the years, I’ve stumbled across some fantastic solutions for the worst of the worst!  Here’s a recent example:  prior to evicting my tenant, Kenneth, I reminded him to make sure he left the apartment clean and empty.

Hmmm … evidently, he has a hearing problem!  Haha!  When I come across these situations, I don’t get angry, I get busy.

BeforeIt doesn’t show up well in the picture, but there was a thick layer of food and grease on the stove top.  And this stove was NEW when he moved in eight months ago.  (Sigh)

I attacked it with my trusty bottle of Krud Kutter spray.  I’ve mentioned it here before but it deserves more accolades … I use it on counter tops, floors, sinks, toilets and appliances.  Spray it on, let it sit for a couple minutes, then scrub it off with a Scotch Brite (dark green) scrub pad or a wet cloth.

Here’s the after picture:

Brand new again, right?

photoWith minimal work on my part, too.  Before my next tenant moves in, I’ll put some foil under the burners to protect the stove top.  It helps.

Also, the apartment checks help too … Kenneth had done well for several months, but then his life seemed to start unraveling.  He got laid off, found another job — less money — got laid off from that one after a couple months, etc.  He was depressed, of course.  And his apartment reflected the havoc that was occuring in his work life.  That’s why, as a landlord, I can’t take things for granted … situations change, people change …

Anyway, my new tenant is excited about this place; we’ll see how it goes.

Krud Kutter to the Rescue

As a landlord, I come across some nasty cleaning challenges, and I’m always on the lookout for excellent products to use at my rentals and in my own home as well. I’ve talked about Krud Kutter before but I continue to be amazed by this product.

Another case in point:

I was at one of my rentals last week and was faced with a filthy kitchen floor, covered with a few layers of dirt, grease, and a couple of bright green splatters of unknown origin.  When I reached for my bottle of Krud Kutter Original Cleaner/Degreaser, I realized — much to my dismay — it was nearly empty.

I use that formula on almost everything in my rentals and my personal home … floors, appliances, counter tops, bathroom sinks, tubs, toilets … everything!  I was NOT happy to be without it in this situation, but then I realized I had a container of Krud Kutter Power Wash Concentrate in my car.

I’d just washed the exterior of one of my homes and still had the cleaner with me.  So I decided to use it on this kitchen floor.  Why not?  I filled the kitchen sink with hot water and mixed in about 1/2 cup of the cleaner, spread a section of the vinyl floor with it, allowed it to sit for a few minutes and wiped it up.  NO scrubbing needed!

Amazing.  Even the mystery bright green splatter came up … no problem.  If you don’t have Krud Kutter in your cabinet, it’s time to add it to your shopping list.  You can find it at Walmart and all of the home improvement stores.

It’s one of the best cleaning products out there … I’m all about making my cleaning projects as short as possible … I buy it by the gallon and just refill my spray bottle as needed.

So, do youself a favor and get yourslf some Krud Kutter.  It’ll make your life easeir!


The Works!

I come across some hefty cleaning challenges in my work.  I just evicted some people for being dirty, and went in a few days ago for the clean-up.

Here’s a photo of the bath tub.  I had just begun to clean it.  As you can see, there’s a small section on the left side of the tub wall that looks like new.

It doesn’t show very well in the picture, but the difference is amazing.  I usually use a combination of Krud Kutter spray and Barkeepers Friend for these jobs, but I was out of Krud Kutter.  What I used this time is a product called The Works.  There are a couple different types … I bought the one that’s used for toilets … porcelain is porcelain, right?

I squirted it straight from the bottle onto the tub surface, spread it around to get full coverage, waited a couple minutes and went to work with my dark green Scotch Brite scrubber.  And voila!  The dirt and soap scum came off easily.  Here’s the tub when I was finished.  Fantastic!

A small warning though … this stuff is really strong.  I wore rubber gloves, opened the window for ventilation, and worked fast!  Fortunately, the job didn’t take long at all.

Just thought I’d pass this along.  The bathroom is sparkling.  And tomorrow, I’ll tackle the carpets.

Onward and upward!

Bar Keepers Friend is My Friend

Comet, Ajax, Zud … these products have been around for a while.  Soft Scrub appeared much later.  But Bar Keepers Friend has been around since 1882!  It was invented by a chemist here in Indianapolis and has been going strong ever since.

I encounter some very nasty cleaning challenges in my rental properties, and I found this product was superior to all the other similar cleansers on the market.  I buy two or three containers at a time so my tool caddy will never be without it.

You can’t use it with a paper towel or wash cloth . . . you need to use one of those dark green scrubbers . . . I think they’re made by Scotch Brite.  For tub and shower floors, I use a scrub brush with this product.  But it does the work.  It removes hard water stains, soap scum and rust stains as well.  Sometimes I combine it with Krud Kutter, another one of my favorite cleaning products, which comes in a spray bottle.

Here’s the bottom line: when you own rental properties and do a lot of your own work, you want to accomplish things quickly.  So, I’ve done a lot of research and tried many products through the years.   Most of the products I use at my rentals can be found in my own house as well.

This blog is about sharing my wisdom with other investors, and I hope to save my readers time and money!  And Bar Keepers Friend is a little known product that can do just that . . .

Onward and upward!   🙂

Krud Kutter to the Rescue!

The name says it all.  Krud Kutter does exactly what it claims … it cuts the krud.  I came across this procuct several years ago, at my local hardware store.  Always willing to try new things, I bought a spray bottle and used it in one of my rentals in Indianapolis.  After the first trial run, I began buying it by the gallon.

I just used it last week on a bathtub.  Here’s a photo, when I was half way through the job:  for nasty projects like this one, I use Krud Kutter at full strength.  Spray it on, let it sit for a couple minutes, then scrub off the dirt and grime.

But you can also use it (one cup/gallon of water) in carpet cleaner machines, power washers, etc.  I’ve seen it used to clean driveways and garage floors, vinyl siding, spot clean for clothing and carpets.  Personally, I use it on kitchen and bathroom counter tops, sinks and floors of all types.  Krud Kutter is also excellent for appliances, inside and out.

I use it full strength on dirty walls in my rentals, where a total paint job isn’t needed.  This product removes lipstick, crayon, grease and oil, dried glue and tape residue, tar, blood stains, scuff marks … I could go on and on.

And best of all, it’s safe — non-toxic and biodegradable.  I use it at home and at work, and have spread the word about this wonderful product to my family and friends.  Krud Kutter may be purchased at some WalMart stores, Lowe’s and True Value Hardware stores.

Buy a bottle — explore the possibilities!

That “Decorator” Touch

When I get in discussions about buying rental properties I’m usually asked about amenities.  “Do you provide window coverings?  How about throw rugs, shower curtains?  Do you use two-tone paint and decorator colors?”

My answer to these questions is always the same.  It depends on the neighborhood.  First and foremost, this is not YOUR home in YOUR neighborhood!  Don’t overdo it on the rehab and amenities.  I’ve seen investors make this mistake again and again.  And they never recoup that money they spent in crown molding, granite countertops, etc.  Your rental has to measure up to those in the surrounding area.  Period.

 I rehab my places to fit the nieghborhood.  As for the small amenities prior to renting them out, this is what I do.  For all of my rentals, I supply exterior and interior door mats, to protect my flooring.  My friends save their gently used bath and other rugs so I can use them in my low-income rentals.  They add a homey feel to my units.  I also hang mini-blinds or curtains, at all of my rentals.  These can be bought cheaply at Wal-Mart or Target and they really improve the ambience of the home.

Paint is an entirely different story.  For my lower-income rentals, I started out using one color — a creamy beige — throughout. But a few years ago I began using dark brown on the trim.

I realized that using this dark color saved me tons of time on repainting when people moved out.  After all, the doorways, baseboards, cabinets take the brunt of it in nicks, fingerprints and other dirt.  The dark paint allows me to wipe down these areas with a damp rag and Krud Kutter (for the most part) instead of repainting — a great time saver!  And, people like it.

 (By the way, Kilz Casual Colors is the best deal going.  I use latex satin.  It covers amazingly well, doesn’t splatter, and compares to brands that are twice as expensive.  It runs about $23/gallon, and  Consumer Reports touts it.)  For my middle- or upper-middle income places, I use current colors for the walls and trim, of course. 

If you’re unsure of what the neighborhood holds, you can always check it out for yourself.  Schedule a showing at a nearby rental . . . you could be looking on behalf of your son or daughter, right? . . . and see what you’re up against. 

Remember, you’re in this to make money, and whatever low-cost perks you can add to your rental  to improve its appeal will result in higher rent.  And, higher rent means more money in your pocket.   We like that . . .     🙂