Saturday, October 4, 2008

Being A Landlord Is WORK!

So, as a "planning for retirement" strategy and as a good investment, Chris and I have acquired 3 properties. I bought a little old house when I graduated from college that we rent out. That has been a very good investment!!!

Next, we bought the house we live in now. It has a basement apartment we rent and a barn for storage. We also can sub-divide it and build a house next to it.

Last December, we found a great deal on a little duplex that we bought. The basement has been rented to the same guy for about 14 years. He pays his rent early and lets us know when there is a problem. He called us about three weeks ago and told us that he thought the tenant in the upstairs had moved out. We investigated and, indeed, she was gone! So much for a contract and a one-year lease agreement!
Because Chris' Dad was coming in town, we didn't have much time to clean it and make the repairs she left us. I showed it a few times, but those who filled out applications didn't work for us. Since Melvin and Barbara left, we have cleaned, replaced a broken sink and showed it a few more times! We have a couple of applicant to chose from now.
I posted an ad on and craigslist and we put a sign in front of the yard. With those three advertisements, we get plenty of responses and we don't have to pay any money!!!

This is the bathroom.
This is the kitchen.
The apartment is kind of small, but it is cute and has a nice, big yard, and we price it reasonably because we would rather have it rented than vacant due to a high price. Vacancy costs a lot of money.
I could rant about being a landlord. Truly, it is a pain in the bum sometimes. Othertimes, it is easy (like when all the units are rented to responsible, clean, and kind people.) I get headaches from people being irresponsible. I don't get how some people think they are entitled to the world without working. I dislike rent being late, people breaking their contracts and what they have agreed to (like not SMOKING in a house I own), and people trashing a place because they don't own it. I could go on and on, but I will stop. Why do we keep doing this? Because it is a good investment! I figure if we put up with the headache now, we will have a nice retirement. We don't make money on these places now, but they are appreciating in value and when they are paid off (way down the road), it will be worth it. If we decide to sell them, we will get our initial small down payment, plus quite a bit of equity back. It makes sense to me.
I am becoming a tougher landlord these days. After being compassionate and being burned a few too many times, I am slowly learning that I can't save everyone. We are not the government or the church. I am learning to treat this more like a business, although it is hard for me. In the future, I will not rent to the person I feel the sorriest for. I will rent to those who have the best references, will take care of the property and will keep their word!


Camille said...

I am so sorry about all the mess! I can't blame you for being tougher. I would be too!

Ker-Dog and the gang said...

I'm glad to hear Kevin is still working out for you guys. Bummer about the upstairs gal. I've had a hard time separating emotions/being kind when choosing renters too and it seems like every time I've been nice, we've gotten burned. Hang in there. It will be worth it eventually!

How does that happen to a sink?