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Wilton O.

Landlord Since 1995
State: IL
Property Type: Houses

I became a landlord because I had been a tenant all my life. My family struggled in poverty while I was growing up. I have gone thru some very bad times. Finally I started getting interested in real estate from watching late night TV infomercials. I bought a couple of courses and took out books from the library. After studying and making nothing down offers for a few years while working my regular job as a day laborer, I finally got an acceptance on one of my offers. It was a dumpy little hole in the wall single family house about 30 minutes from Chicago. My family and I painted it up and was lucky to rent it fast for a small positive cash flow. Now I own 7 income properties.

Philosophy of the Working Landlord

After my first eviction I stopped being friends with tenants! Now I don't cross over the line between professional and personal. I try to read something about being a landlord every day. The LPA helps me do that when I come home from work I go straight for the computer! I want to thank the landlords on the Q&A forum. You people have given me advice many times but you just don't know it! I plan to quit my regular job this year and be a full time landlord. I think I can do it.

How I Do It

Right now, I still go to my regular job. That will change soon. I have a special phone # for my tenants to leave a message on if there is something that needs my attention. If I can't fix something, my friends are all in construction and will give me free labor because I help them the same way.

The Lease...

I got things going real smooth on LPA leases. I read the site and I follow the rules so I make damn sure the tenants follow the rules too! When a situation arises I go to my trusty LPA Essential forms. I got a form for every purpose!

Tips on the Landlord / Tenant Relationship

  • Screen. Screen Screen. And then be careful who you accept. You have to be a detective when you are screening. Treat people like people. People need to feel important, but also need to know what is expected of them.

    Managing The Rentals...

    I use the payment slips method with pre-printed envelopes for collecting the rent. Rent is sent to my PO box in my management company name. All calls from tenants go to my management company voice-mail.

    Legal Tips and Words of Wisdom:

    Don't be afraid to spend money on a lawyer when you need to! Your lawyer is your hired gunslinger to go after the bandits that robbed you! I love putting a case in my lawyers hands. When the tenant wants to deal- I say, "Sorry. It's out of my hands!"

    The LPA would like to thank Wilton for his 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.

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