I live in Poland at the moment and I'm buying a new-construction, 2-unit apartment that I plan on house hacking — I will be living in 1 unit and renting out the other.
The apartment building is still under construction, it should be finished in March 2022, and all the tedious paperwork required before I actually get the keys to the property should be done around May of 2022.
The thing is, waiting until that time to start buying the supplies for finishing the property may be a problem.
The price of everything is going up because, you know... economics. But now more than usual.
I started making a spreadsheet of everything I want to buy to finish my apartment a few months ago. At the time, I wrote down the prices at which I could buy every product and included a link to where it can be purchased. As I look over this spreadsheet today... I have noticed that the price of almost every single product has gone up by 5% or more.
And again, that's just in the last few months. This usually should grow at a rate of around 2% per year.
I don't anticipate this slowing down in the near future... so I'm planning to buy as much of the products that I can sooner rather than later.
I will purchase these products within a year one way or another, and if the prices of these products will go up before I buy them, waiting to buy them just means losing money. As a matter of fact, if I buy everything now and prices go up another 5% from now until May 2022 (which is not out of the realm of possibility) and I don't have another place to guarantee a short-term ROI of 10% /year (which I don't), then buying everything I possibly can now is pretty much a no-brainer.
I'm prioritizing purchasing products that are necessities (e.g. flooring, kitchen cabinets, sinks, faucets, etc.) With few exceptions, I am not buying things like curtains, TVs, A/C units, etc. until everything important is already purchased.
I'm also being careful not to purchase any products which will expire within 1 year (some people don't think about it, but many construction chemicals like tile adhesives, wood glues, etc. have expiration dates!)
But even if I chose to wait and pay a little bit more for these products, the problem is: there might not be any products to buy.
If you've been living under a rock for the last few months, you might not have heard that there is a supply chain crunch affecting just about every industry and region around the world.
The short version of the supply chain situation is: even if you are willing to pay a premium for them, you might not be able to buy products like kitchen appliances, living room furniture, or anything. The availability of just about any product will likely be spotty over the next 6 months, if not longer.
The situation isn't a disaster. But it's bad enough to cause concern if you're trying to stick to a firm timeline, which I am!
After all, every day I don't rent out the rental unit in my apartment is money down the drain. So if I have to wait a month just for some tile adhesive to become available again, I am potentially losing out on a whole month of rental income.
Having a 6-month period to buy stuff in also gives me a lot of leeway in terms of waiting for sales. This time of year, I can take full advantage of black Friday, cyber Monday, Christmas, end-of-year, post-holiday, and any other random sales that happen to come up.
Storing this stuff...
Okay... so I want to buy a lot of stuff ASAP, but where the hell am I supposed to keep it?
I live in my girlfriend's mom's tiny 2-bedroom apartment!
With my girlfriend and her mom!
No worries, there is a solution... and it's called "self storage".
Here's how it works: you pay a company money and in return, they give you a big, safe box to keep your junk in. As long as you pay them money regularly, you have access to the box.
I will be buying and storing a lot of things that are quite valuable and susceptible to moisture damage, etc...
So how am I going to protect against damage and theft?
By picking a good storage facility.
A good storage facility:
- has indoor, temperature-controlled storage units,
- is well-protected from pests,
- has cameras and user access management/logging,
- but most critically...
- it requires all its units to be insured.
And at least in the Poznań area, facilities that check all these boxes and are still within city limits are actually surprisingly affordable.
I'm expecting to spend an average of 300 PLN /month for storing enough junk to fully finish and furnish 2 small downtown apartments.
Why would I do all this so far ahead of time and pay for storing products I won't even use for almost half a year?
The short answer is: because I believe it gives me the best risk-management:cost ratio I can get, given the circumstances.
The long answer is:
In an ideal world, I wouldn't rent a storage unit and start hoarding building supplies, home appliances, and furniture 6 months before I need to finish an apartment...
I would wait until I actually have the keys to the apartment and then buy everything as needed (maybe a few days in advance) and install it as I go.
But the market circumstances we have going on in the world right now are... sub-perfect, if I may say so, which means I have to adapt.
Although this isn't an ideal scenario, renting the storage unit gives me a good balance of
- having everything I need to finish the apartment when it is needed
- saving money on products by purchasing them before their prices go up
- saving money on products by purchasing them on sale
The only realistic downsides to renting the storage are:
- the costs associated with renting it
- the logistics of getting the products to the unit, and then to the apartment when the time comes (instead of just directly to the apartment every time)
- the risk of the products being stolen or damaged (although insurance should cover this eventuality, that doesn't change the fact that I would be back at square one with finding the products, also: emphasis on the "should"... have you ever heard of an insurance company that likes paying out claims?)
- the risk of the apartment building construction not being completed on time, and having to pay for extra months of storage
- having the warranty periods of all the products that are sitting in storage being slowly eaten away, even though they aren't being used
Which leads me back to the short answer: despite these down sides, I believe renting the storage unit and stockpiling the products gives me the best risk-management:cost ratio I can get, given the circumstances... and that's why I'm doing it.
Thank you for checking out this blog post! I hope you found it informative! But more importantly: Happy Halloween! 🎃👻