How to Know if You Are Financially Secure

Financial IndependenceAt one time, I was just a working stiff.  I still am, for now.  Working a 8-5 job, sometimes on-call, weekends, and trying to climb the corporate ladder.  I was a member of a hot shot team that was selected for future management.  When you are climbing your way up, you have a tendency to make a lot of people happy, and some not so happy.

It’s fun when you are making a lot of money; but you know the money train cannot last.  At some point, a merger may knock you down, a layoff, a boss that you cannot satisfy, or some other reason that you may not even understand.

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Regardless, you need to make sure you are prepared.  An emergency fund comes first, then becoming debt free, then bringing in other forms of income.  I already had the first two, when I started investing in real estate.  Here is how I knew I finished the journey to be financially secure.

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How to Handle Tenant Disputes: Part I


This post is compliments of Amy aka “YETInvesting”.

If you’re a new rental property owner/manager, or if you’re just not comfortable handling tenant disputes or confrontations, then you might get panicky just thinking about having to confront tenants about issues that arise.

My boyfriend has this problem.  Apart from his current rental which began just a year ago, he has no prior landlord experience, and watching him learn how to handle issues has reminded me of how terrified I was when I first started.  When I had to handle my first tenant complaint over the phone, I remember my hands shaking because I was so nervous.  I’m an introverted person, so I hate talking to strangers anyway.  But this was going to be even worse: I wasn’t just introducing myself to someone I didn’t know, I was going to be fighting with them over money!  Yikes!  Maybe most people are braver than I am from the get-go, but I felt like I was going to throw up.  Good way to start a phone call, right?

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How to Provide Rental Property Appliances (No Good Deed Goes Unpunished)

This post is compliments of Amy aka “Yetisaurus”.

PunishedNever underestimate the amount of headaches you can have with rental property appliances.  When my boyfriend moved in with me about a year and a half ago, he decided to rent his place out for some extra rental income.  Because we were combining households, we had no need for his washer and dryer, BBQ, or refrigerator.  He figured that he’d be a nice guy and offer those items to potential renters for their use while they remained renters.

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How to Avoid Bad Tenants

Avoid Bad TenantsWhen you have places for rent, inevitably you will find tenants to avoid.  You need to understand how to avoid bad tenants.  As a matter of fact, if you screen tenants with any sort of consistent basis at all, about 95% of the inquiries will be from poor quality tenants.  There is even a scientific basis to these numbers.

With about 30% of tenants being ones to avoid, it is better to exclude a few good ones, rather than take a chance.  One bad tenant can kill years of rental profits.  Here is a case of a tenant I recently avoided.

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May – June 2015 Rental Cash Flow

packs-163497_1280-PDGetting your rental cash flow on time is the name of the game.  Mine is almost like a broken record.  Rent is due, rent gets collected.  If you are a landlord, collecting rents on time is what you want.  For a landlord with only one or two properties, getting rents on time should be routine.  Keeping track of 24 properties is a bit more of a challenge.  I have done this for quite some time, and it all has to do with getting great tenants.

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Landlords in Homeowners Associations

police-man-306848_1280-PDLandlords in Homeowners Associations are a joy to some, and a pariah to others.  I own multiple properties in a Homeowners Association (HOA).  People love HOAs, or hate them.  Often, it is real estate investors that hate the HOAs.

If an investor buys property in a homeowner association, they have effectively signed a contract with the HOA.  They have agreed to abide buy the Declarations, bylaws, rules and regulations.  If they do not like the contract, they can attempt to change it.  Once thing they cannot do, is violate it.

As president of my HOA, I have had some challenges with investors.  For some reason, after they have purchased property in our HOA, they think they know more than the HOA Board does.  They very well might, but there are still rules to follow.

I am always intrigued by these investors who buy a property in a HOA. They buy a property because it was priced right, looked to be in a great area, and had the potential for profit. Unfortunately, some of the investors I have come across did not understand HOAs, did not read the rules, or did not think the HOA would enforce the rules. They were interested in their own profit, at the expense of the other investors.

I am sure that they have a few HOA horror stories of their own, after they violated our rules.

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Landlord Work

plumber-35611_1280-PDIt has been a bit busy here.  There has been a lot of landlord work on the rental front that has been taking a bit of time.  I updated the landlord maintenance log, and added times to the chart.

 All My Rentals are Full (for now…)

I was able to take in a pretty decent renter in my vacant apartment in my duplex.  Now that the winter is over, the calls on the rental seem to be exponentially more in volume.  The tenant had lived at her old place for about 10 years, and was ready to move out of the apartment scene.  She was slightly more risk that my original plan, so I went with a month-to-month lease.  Overall, probably less risk than 90% of tenants, but I saw a few things that I would have preferred to have been different.  The fast move in was one red flag, although that was due to procrastination on her part.

So, February and March 2015 will be a 100% full months, that is the first time since July 2014.

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How to Be a Landlord’s Ideal Tenant — and Get into Any Rental You Choose

wonder-woman-533663_1280-PDIf you are a renter, you have many obstacles ahead of you. Landlords are full of horror stories, and you are just another potential horror story. Based on statistical evidence, you are not an ideal tenant.  You want and need to be the best renter the new landlord has ever seen.

No landlord really wants you, but they need you. They need you to help them pay their rental mortgage; they need you to help them pay their personal mortgage, they need you to help them retire early. But they do not need you to come around and damage the premise or cause them a lot of extra work. Here is how to be the best renter you can possibly be.

My rentals are multifamily, but much of this advice translates to all rentals. Much of it I have seen firsthand.

How to Be a Landlord’s Ideal Tenant — and Get into Any Rental You Choose

Prepare for the Apartment Viewing Process

When you set up a showing for a rental property, it is really an interview. You are interviewing the landlord or property management company, and they are interviewing you. Make a critical mistake in this process, and you will have to move on to the next property. You do not have to be dressed for church, but do not come looking like you are homeless.

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Have you ever been turned down for a rental?  If so, what was the landlord’s reason?  If you are a landlord, what do you find to be the most detrimental things a tenant does to get rejected.


How to Get the Best Tenants into Your Rental Property

When you have a vacant rental, you will inevitable have to advertise and fill it. Unless you are extremely lucky, you will not rent to the first person who inquires on your rental — or at least the first person will not likely be qualified to live in it.  You want to get the best tenants you can possibly attract to your rental.

Like it or not, you will be at some point showing your property to tenants that do not want to rent from you, or you do not want to rent to.

At some point, you will need to decline a rental applicant. This is one of the main problems landlords have: being unable to decline a tenant.

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September – October 2014 Rental Cash Flow

packs-163497_1280-PDIt’s time for another report on the rental property cash flow.  The month of September was extremely busy.  I had a brief trip to Florida, where I looked at several areas to potentially invest in.  While no properties actually excited me that much, it was a great trip.  I did realize another thing.  While Florida might be a great place to spend during the Minnesota winters, it is a bit humid during the summers.  Even in the morning.

So here is how the cash flow evolved for the moth.

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