Thursday, August 26, 2010

So you wanna be a landlord

Lesson #1:  Do not believe those ads!
You will  not sit home and collect rent from your tenants. It will not be Passive Income, nor will it run itself.
A building looks solid, but it's really a mystic being, undulating with wants and needs.  It will need maintenance, painting, garbage removal, lawn cutting, snow shoveling.  It will cry through its plumbing, get chills through its heating system, have fevers through its air-conditioning system.  And, like a spurned lover, will often have late-night tirades. 
You will be called about all of it.
You will often be a babysitter, referee, detective, and psychologist.  
You will need to be an appraiser, handyman, bookeeper. 
If you do all this well, you may make money.
It's a business.  Better to know this ahead of time.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I can't believe how long it's been!

Despite grainy cartoon images of a sinister man in a long black coat, twirling his greasy moustache while he demands his rent from  the fair, poor damsel, despite the ranking that puts "landlord" just below "used car salesman" and "snake oil salesman" on the popularity scale, at the end of the day, I'd have to say I am a landlord.  Others called us (at least to our faces) developers and contractors .  But, once the project was finished, we didn’t pack our tools and leave. We stayed, owned and managed the property. And repeated the process. So, by default, this is the memoir of a landlord.

At this point, I've been a landlord almost 40 years!  I know, I can't believe it myself!  And yet, every day, I still hear some crazy stuff that I've never heard before.  Only now, instead of just shaking my head, I run and make notes!  My son just told me, as I was repeating a recent phone conversation, that he thought these crazy things happen for a reason.  What?  For some cosmic reason?  No.  To write The Book. 

I've been threatening to write The Book for years now.  But, not knowing where to begin to get an actual book published, and being too lazy to find out, I've decided to wrest these demons from my head by blogging.  I've looked up some other landlord bogs, and, while many of them have valuable and serious information about the business, and others have what can loosely be called "Crazy Tenant Stories", I thought I'd throw my two cents into the mix, mostly for the fun of the purge.  Hope you enjoy it, too.