I’ve now been a landlord for 8 months, 4 days, and 23 hours.*
I never would have imagined learning so much about myself, other people, and how the world operates in just a few months, but I’ve crammed what feels like a lifetime of knowledge into that time frame.
I was a bit hard on my neighborhood when I moved in, but you know, it’s not so bad. Certain neighbors have moved out and the area could almost be called peaceful. Almost. I don’t feel like I need a gun or self-defense classes anymore just because I live here.
The neighborhood is on the cusp of a major transformation. I’ve noticed houses around me getting fixed up and looking nice since I started improving my property which only benefits us all in the long run. It makes me happy to hear the work being done and to see the shabby houses look better. They’re beautiful old houses and deserve to be treated nicely!
Dealing with multiple contractors as I tried to get the house looking nice was an eye opening experience, to say the least. I dealt with the bad contractor and learned a lot of lessons from that experience. It wasn’t enough that she was licensed, insured, and bonded. Contracts, scope of work, and checking out recommendations from previous clients are all must haves. I will not be making mistakes like that on the next time around.
Kicking out my tenant this summer was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I liked him as a person, but I couldn’t handle all the other things he brought to the house, such as, ya know, meth. I definitely made a rookie mistake (ok, more like 5) when dealing with him. I should’ve got the rent before I gave him his verbal warning. I should’ve left the paper on his door in addition to mailing a certified letter.
I should’ve moved faster on renovating the apartment. As it stands, I finished it shortly after I got back from FinCon which meant I started looking for a tenant in November. Not an ideal time to be finding a tenant as most people are settled in and focused on the holidays.
However, it only takes one person to fill my unit and I’m happy to announce I’ve succeeded!
Yes, that’s right, my house will be at full occupancy once again!
The location is perfect for him as it’s centrally located to all the places he usually goes. As he works second shift Tuesday-Saturday, I won’t even see very much of him. He seems like a nice guy and he is very grateful to have found a nice place to live.
Now that I have a tenant lined up I can focus on the future.
Ideally, I would be saving up money for a down payment on my next property.
Instead, I’m saving up money for future repairs. I have two main renovations I want to accomplish on the property in 2018. The first renovation is to get the back stairs and deck replaced. The wood was never stained, so it is very slippery when it rains. The handrails are starting to rot. It’s barely wide enough for appliances to be hauled up it.
Most importantly, the supports were never attached to the concrete footings. They’re just sitting on top of the concrete. Well, the ones that haven’t started to slide off are on top, I should say. I also have no idea how the whole structure is attached to the house and that makes me incredibly worried. Given the track record of past repairs on the house, I’m going to say it will need more work than anticipated. The contractor who replaced my front porch will be doing this project as well and gave me a quote last year that started at $6k. Not too shabby for demolition, removal, and complete replacement of a lot of wood.
The second project will happen after the stairs are replaced. I would do it before the stairs, but I anticipate the exterior needing a bit of work done after the work is done. I need to get the house repainted. I will be going with the reputable and highly recommended house painting company this time. I will get another quote from them before I go with them.
I want to get a second quote because the scope of work will be different. Instead of using them as a general contractor for the whole thing, I will be the general contractor and find people to do the various parts of the project. I need some shingles replaced and some wood work repaired, new seamless gutters (NOT the widest ones offered at Home Depot), and the entire façade scraped, sealed, and painted correctly. Wood work comes first, then paint, then new gutters.
I was hoping the craptastic gutters put on by the bad contractor would last, but they’re already starting to fail and fall off. At least my front door still looks nice!
Overall, I’m anticipating the work to run about $20k. This is about the amount of money I can expect in rental income from the property if it’s fully rented out. I’ll be able to write off the repairs and not pay taxes on the income, so I’ve got that goin’ for me, which is nice. (Tax people: that’s how that works, right???)
I’m optimistic I’ll be able to purchase another property in 2019. That should give me plenty of time to save up and gain some more landlord experience points. The good thing about making all these mistakes is the knowledge I’ve gained, and the knowledge I’ll never make that same mistake again. I’m sure there are plenty more to make, though I hope to avoid them by talking to my real estate pro friends and consulting places online like BiggerPockets and landlord Facebook groups.
Let’s hope the worst is over and things start to go better for me in the future!
*as of writing. It’s been longer now!
Do you have any wish to be a landlord? If you are one, any interesting tales lately?