LANDLORD OF THE MONTH
Landlord Since 1988
State: New York
Property Type: Residential Homes
My wife Meg and I started investing in real estate even before we were married. We both had some prior real estate management experience. We both had a passion for real estate and similar goals. We would both work and save as much as possible then buy something that needed work, and then we really went to work...
Cleaning, patching, painting, tiling, fixing, replacing, fumigating, landscaping etc... Then we understood why they called it sweat equity! We always had plenty to keep us busy and still do, though our lives have changed much since those early days.
My wife was the idealistic one, wanting to "save the world" etc. Her major in college was "International Peace and Justice". While I wanted to build something for our future family. So instead of joining the Peace Core or something, we came up with our philosophy for creating a better place, close to home. That was to take the worst looking houses in our neighborhood, make them into something beautiful and then rent them out. In a nutshell: To provide clean comfortable rentals for our tenants, thereby making a profit.
How We Do It
We purchase our properties close to where we live - this makes it much easier to oversee.
Qualify potential tenants - check references, credit, old addresses, source of income and then sit down to talk.
Once they are our tenants, we treat them very well. (These good people are working hard and helping us pay our mortgages) they should be treated well.
I manage the maintenance, repairs, rentals, qualifying applicants, renovations etc... My wife Meg does the bookkeeping and takes care of our two children (now that's challenging!)
Have a good one and use it. Add anything that may apply to your management style. For example: Tenants are responsible for shoveling snow on their own walks, etc...
Go over the lease with the tenant in detail at the signing. Initial any changes or penciled in additions.
Tips on the Landlord / Tenant Relationship
Be friendly, but be very cautious about becoming friends.
Be very fair and honest in your dealings, and expect it in return.
Make necessary repairs as soon as possible, especially if it may become a safety issue.
Around the holidays we usually make it a point to stop by our rentals with a small gift, this also gives us the chance to change the smoke detector batteries.
Managing The Rentals...
It takes a lot of time to finally come up with a management plan that works for you, around your schedule. It took us many years with lots of changes. What worked for me was to finally do real estate full time. I got my license and now I do my own rentals as well as fellow landlord's rentals. They get free help and advise and I get to make a good living doing what I love.
Legal Tips and Words of Wisdom:
Join other landlords in making this business a better one for all.
We as landlords should help each other be better at what we do, and if someone out there is not enlightened, we need to educate them.
Keep yourself informed and constantly educate yourself - "it's a lot less expensive than some mistakes can cost".
Don't try to be a "tough guy/gal", this only makes people dig in their heels and possibly become vindictive. You can be fair and firm in a positive way.
Just in case all else fails, have a good attorney with eviction experience.
Love what you do, if you don't, learn to - (you'll never really have to work then).
Find a good local "Realtor" who is also a landlord. They can be indispensable for helping find a good tenant, they can run the credit, cross check info etc... but remember you, and only you make the final decision.
The LPA would like to thank Peter and Meg for their valuable input and sharing of knowledge with us. Landlords everywhere have the opportunity to benefit from the lessons and knowledge brought to us by our Landlords of the Month.