On this episode of House Flip Masters Holly is joined by guest Don Gilmartin. Don is the VP and CEO of APRIS Restoration Company. Holly and Don talk about how to deal with fire, flood, and even death when you are buying a home as a real estate investment.
Don talks to Holly about how to manage a home that has fire damage. Fire is such a devastating and severe trauma to a home that not only does it leave a lasting odor, but can destroy the framework and even the foundation of a home. When fire impacts the foundation, the rebar and the steel and the concrete, it needs to destroyed and built from the ground up.
Holly asks Don about how to handle a home that has survived a fire but still smells of smoke. Don advises that smoke damage is something that you typically cannot get rid of and it will require for drywall to be replaced in the entire home. Smoke damage permeates the walls and sometimes the foundation and cannot just be masked.
Don’s overall motto is that he doesn’t care what size the damage on the home the compassion level stays the same because even if the damage is small this damage is horrific for the individual person that is going through it. Don and his team treat every project the same because they are dealing with people handling a very difficult time in their life, with often times their biggest investment; their home.
Don and his team, by law, have to test for asbestos or lead and cannot come in and restore a home until testing has been done; homes that were built before 1985 require testing and cannot be touched until this has been completed. If testing comes back with a certain level of asbestos or lead a specialist will have to come in and take care of the situation.
Another issue that Don deals a lot with is mold. Don tells us that mold is just a natural element of water and it will leech onto any building material but it is not something to panic over. A seller needs to disclose to a buyer if there was mold found in the home and that it was remediated.
Sometimes investors have tenants and once the lease is over they take a break from tenants and let the home sit vacant for a while, during this time things can happen, such as a slow leak. Holly asks Don if a slow leak is something that insurance will take care of or if there is another way to go about handling this. Don advises investors that when you are dealing with a slow leak and are asking insurance to cover it you need to make sure you are working with a company that can prepare and present your estimate in a manner that shows that the slow leak isn’t considered long-term damage.
Don has rental properties and he personally checks on them 3 times a year, he stresses that investors need to stay on top of their properties and watch for any signs of water damage. He always makes sure to educate his tenants on what to watch for. In educating the tenant as an investor you have a second set of eyes for the times between your own check-ups on the property.
Don advises when flipping in an older home make sure to watch for the joints of the pipes when you are replacing fixtures. Holly agrees that this is extremely important, when she and her team take possession of the home the first thing that they do is replace all of the angle stops. Replacing the angle joins costs a few dollars up front but potentially saves you thousands down the road if there is a leak or any other water problems.
While Don deals with water, fire, and mold damage he also provides trauma scene restoration and services. Don prides himself in being able to help people smile again and give them their home back after they have dealt with a traumatic incident in their home.
Don tells listeners a story about a time when he had a client with limited funds who was dealing with a family member’s suicide in the home. Don and his company were able to go into this trauma scene and help this client out, they were able to restore the home as well as help the client out to be able to have all the financial aspects covered and to help this client rebuild his life after this traumatic incident. Don and his business partner stress the importance of having resources, without their resources this client would have left this home and this incident with a few pictures and other objects but because of the relationships they have built during their years in this business clients are able to walk away with more than just a bad memory of an incident.
Holly asks about how real estate investors should handle knowing that a home they are buying has had a death in the home. Don advises that when there is a death in the home sometimes landlords will try to hide it or cover it up but a death in the home will cause damage within the foundation of the home if not taken care of. Don advises that you need to be honest in your transactions and disclose what has happened in a home in order to flip and sell a home successfully.
If you are interested in reaching out to Don and his team about restoration they can be reached 24/7 by phone or email. They are a Southern California based company with their offices in Corona. APRIS services San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange County, and North San Diego County.