LANDLORD OF THE MONTH
Landlord Since 1981
State: New York
Property Type: Residential Homes
I started with nothing. I was in debt. I know what it's like to scrape the rent together. I guess I got into this business by accident. It started one day when I was determined to make some quick money, so I picked up the newspaper and decided to find a good deal. I did. It was a 1971 Chevy. I bought it for $200.00 and 2 days later sold it for $800.00. I learned a valuable lesson with that car and applied it to bigger and bigger investments.
I've done many different kinds of creative deals. Even though I like a challenge, I like a good straight forward win-win deal.
Philosophy of the Working Landlord
My philosophy is pretty simple. What goes around comes around. Be fair. I see so many landlords taking full advantage of skyrocketing rents. So much greed. I like to offer a quality rental at a fair price. I want to set my rents a little below the market. This way, every tenant I rent to feels like they just hit the jackpot. They appreciate the deal they're getting, and we start off on the right foot.
How I Do It
I'm pretty lucky that my beautiful wife of 24 years still puts up with me. She's a great partner and handles a major part of the office work. She's a wiz on the computer and keeps everything organized. She just recently converted almost all of our management forms to LPA forms on our hard disk. I'll still do some repairs, but I did finally learn something very important: Don't be cheap. I've hurt myself so many times by pinching pennies that I wound up paying much more in the long run. It saves time and money to just get a job done by a reputable contractor at a fair price than trying to cut corners. Those cut corners always come back to kick me in the ass.
I used to think that I had the best lease. I put everything in it I could think of. I typed it out on 11x17 paper and then shrunk it down to legal size so I could fit it all on only 2 pages. But then I read the LPA lease. John Nuzzolese did some job with it. Well it blew me (and my lease ) away. Now, needless to say I use the LPA lease.
I have a nice talk with the tenants during the lease signing and let them know that I'd be very hurt and disappointed in them if they break any of our agreements. I ask for their word of honor -AND their signature.
Tips on the Landlord / Tenant Relationship
I very rarely see my tenants. I try to avoid developing any friendships or relationships with them. If I see a tenant in the supermarket, I'll go the other way. Our relationship is business only.
I believe in being on top of fixing problems quickly. I sleep better knowing everybody is happy.
I learned long ago not to reveal where I live to the tenants. My rentals are all nice enough, but I have a beautiful home. And I wouldn't want the tenants to see it. Just like I wouldn't visit a property with my Mercedes.
Managing The Rentals...
Most of my management is by certified mail. My wife calls tenants when a call needs to be made. My attorney works well with us if we need a warning letter sent to a tenant.
Legal Tips and Words of Wisdom:
Have an attorney handy for eviction situations. Even if you very rarely need him, you'll always feel more prepared if the need for his expertise arises. Also, keep in mind that these are your properties. You have every right to lay down rules and enforce them.
I'm honored to be chosen as your Landlord of the month and my wife and I really enjoy your web site.
The LPA would like to thank Jack for all his valuable input and sharing of knowledge with us. Jack has been a major contributer in our Q & A Forum and has helped to solve many problems. Landlords everywhere have the opportunity to benefit from the lessons and knowledge brought to us by our Landlords of the Month.