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Apartment Rented in One day

June 3rd, 2014 at 06:46 pm

Checking in. The property that husband & I offered on is...complicated-ish. The For Sale by Owner guy has a verbal deal with someone who needs some time to get the money together for the property. The owner asked us to check back in a couple of weeks. We called back with an increased offer and was told that he really needed to give the other guy time to see if he could buy it. So to call back in a week. So...we are waiting on that one.

Good-ish news- one of our properties went vacant June 1st. Rent has increased over the last year and this is the first property we could raise our rent. Husband wanted me to increase the rent by $60/month...but I got nervous we would get stuck with an empty apartment so I increased it by $10/month. I listed the property on Craigslist and got a request to show it within an hour. The couple liked it but wanted to think about it. We then showed it to one of our current tenants who wanted to line it up for August when she was moving out of the current place. We didn't want to wait so long to have it filled so we held out. We had many more showings lined up. Then the first couple came back and said they wanted it. They gave us a deposit, signed a lease and will move in 3 weeks. So we lost a month of rent (June) but finding a renter challenge is over.

The upstairs of the same building becomes vacant in July. We are offering our tenant to take the upstairs unit, but she will be living by herself and it is a 3 bedroom apartment. So although we are offering her a pretty steep discount ($200/month discount) because we feel bad she didn't get the downstairs unit and if she moves in with her dog, we wont be replacing the carpeting, she might not be able to afford it/doesn't want it. I'll almost be happier if she does not take it so we can charge an increased rent.

So overall, I should have been more aggressive raising the rent- but filling the place in 1 day is a new record. Holding my breath to try and fill the August apartment fast as well.

Our spending money and bill paying money comes from these rentals, so even one month of vacancy means we have to curb the monthly spending or pull the money from savings.

Offer Not Accepted

April 13th, 2014 at 01:00 pm

So the bank took someone else offer over ours. Everyone is bummed but feeling optimistic that another house project will come around.

The house was listed for $37k. We were planning to put $25-40k into it and list it for $150-$170k.

Our highest and best offer was $45,800. Looking back we should have raised that offer but when you are blindly offering...we didn't want to just offer thousands over every other offer when a more conservative offer would do the job as well.

My friend recently went into a highest and best situation and offered $500 over list price and got it. So I thought our offer was strong.

Anyways, I haven't really even had time to be disappointed. I've been sick with a head cold and had to call in sick to work twice. We are gearing up at work for a busy Easter week. And after that we will go to New York to visit husband's family.

Highest & Best

April 9th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

We put in an offer on the victorian house Monday. We knew there was already another offer at full price or maybe above. We thought more offers would come in as well. On Tuesday the bank came back and asked for highest & best.

Our first offer was almost 10% above asking.

Yesterday we went 25% above asking.

Before you freak- this house is listed for less than $40k so 25% is not as dramatic as it would seem.

Hoping for an answer today.

I was feeling confident last night. Then when we were reviewing sold comps...the market has been so strong lately I can see someone just putting in an offer to blow everyone else out of the water. Today I'm wishing we had increased our security deposit or shortened our due diligence period to look more attractive.

The contractor came over last night and I feel we had a good conversation.

He still feels we can get the house done for $25k including labor.

He has a plumber & electrician working in his crew that will accept payment when the house sells.

He does not think he can handle central air installation and we'll need to pay retail for that.

He thinks he can sand & save the hardwood upstairs. He thinks the vinyl glued to the hardwood downstairs is too expensive to try and save. He wants to just re-hardwood the downstairs. My husband wants to try a few methods to remove the glued down vinyl first.

Contractor said it will be 2-3 months till the house is done, rather than the 2 months we were hoping.

Contractor plans to work his other jobs while working on this one. So he wont be at the house 40 hrs a week, but he can send a crew member over every day as long as husband stops in regularly to supervise.

The roof is the big unknown right now. It LOOKS good from the ground. So we'll see.

Contractor has given us a few scavenger items to find like window sashes and antique columns we'll need for the project.

Contractor wants a contract in writing outlining the partnership. Since our (mine & husbands) names will be on title, he's at a disadvantage. I'm working on that today.

So overall, progress. Hoping for a positive phone call today. I'll discuss numbers if we get the house. Fingers crossed! In the meantime it is BEAUTIFUL outside and I cant wait to take the dog for a walk. I hope your days are beautiful too!

Real Estate Offering!

April 8th, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Ok we have an offer in on the house I recently blogged about. There is already one offer in and our realtor got the hint that it was higher than asking. So we went in almost 10% above asking. I am expecting that more offers will come in as well. The house is a few streets away from me and every time I go by it has someone looking at it.


The house needs a good overhaul inside. Outside is very pretty.

If we get it- we have a few options for it:

Ideally we want to partner with our contractor. He is coming over tonight to discuss things with us. We will pay for the house and holding costs, he will supply materials & labor. We will split the profits 50/50. Our contractor has sheet rock, sinks, ceiling fans, tile, misc. from other jobs in storage. He also will get the labor cheaper because there is no fee to pay him as a middleman for the labor. He said he can "get it done" for $25k. The question becomes- what is his version of "get it done" and what is ours? Since we have not partnered together I'm not sure how far our visions range from one another. But this is the safest option for us right now because we wont have to max out our savings to complete the job.

A second option is to flip the house ourselves. I don't think we can "get it done" for $25k. I would guess it will be about $50k for us because we are paying labor/ retail prices/ and don't have materials in storage. We don't have the full $50k unless we called in some loans that people owe us. And I'm not sure they can pay. So the job might not get done as nicely as we would like/ or we would stretch ourselves more than we feel comfortable.

And a third option is to put in minimal upgrades and rent the house. This is not a bad option at all considering that the market is climbing and the neighborhood is transitioning in a good direction. We could recover our purchase price and fix up investment within a few years because the house is so under priced compared to rent in the area. However- I don't really want to tie up the last of our savings and be responsible for another property right now. I feel like every property needs a substantial "cushion" of savings to be available for repairs- especially a new and unknown house- and we wont have that cushion after we spend money to make the place renter -grade. So for 6-7 months while we build that cushion, things would be tight and stressful. I'd rather just get in and get out at this time.

Ok, so I'll post numbers if we actually get the place. I feel like I am jinxing things to plan too much beforehand.

We should know something in a few days!

Real Estate Pondering

April 4th, 2014 at 01:41 pm

Checking in. Things here are going fine. Husband and I are back on an even keel. We recently traveled to FL for two days to visit family and friends.

Also I talked to my work about getting some time off to travel to far away family. Since it is the beginning of the "slow season" when several horses leave for cooler climates- she told me to choose the days. I gave her a requested 5 days off. Then she created the schedule and gave me 8 consecutive days off!

Tomorrow morning we are going to look at a SFH that is listed for sale as a foreclosure. The house is identical in architecture to the home run property we gave to FIL. But this one is in much worse condition. It is listed for $60k less than what we paid for the home run property. (I call it a home run property because it was under priced when we bought it- it appreciated about 50k after we fixed it up- and has since appreciated about an ADDITIONAL $75k. I still get mad at myself for letting that go.)

We feel that this property is perfect to flip. Depending on what the finished product looks like- We can make $20-100k on it. We have the money to buy it- but not all the money to fix it. Actually- we DO have almost all the money to fix it- but that would wipe our savings dry. And HUSBAND says it makes him nervous to do that! I'm not sure if it was the recent episode of straining to pay basic bills in CA that taught him, or if he is maturing, or if -maybe I am the over optimistic person regarding this deal.

So we are cautiously excited. A deal this good has not hit the market since we have been looking over the last 7 months.

We might buy it and hold to resell when the market is stronger. We think the property will appreciate in just the condition it is in because it is in an upward transitional neighborhood and it is under priced right now.

We might buy it and fix what we can with it. We have enough to fix over half of it.

Or we might do the deal with our contractor. He has materials (sheet rock/sinks/counter tops)sitting on his property (collected from previous jobs) and can do the labor himself and with his crew. Obviously we just came out of partnering with someone and it went bad. So I'm not at all eager to do it again. This is different because it is one deal a few blocks from my house- rather than setting up an entire business across the country.

We are all going to look at it tomorrow. I've been around the outside, and husband has noticed several groups of people walking around it. (He has driven by it about 10 times since it came on the market 2 days ago).

The outside is MUCH better condition than the inside.

So we might not even get it. To be continued.


Potential Rental Property Purchase

January 27th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Not much to report.

Husband & I are going to look at a duplex for sale tomorrow. Its been on the market before at a time when we were not in a position to buy it. We always kind of kicked ourselves for not pursuing it. So when it came up again we jumped at it.

It's located 2 blocks from where we live. Very good location. Small lot size. Overall lots of neglect on the outside. Everything is nearing the end of its lifespan.

It is 700 sq ft 2 bd/ 1 bath in each unit. It brings in $1100 month when both units are rented. It's fully rented right now. Listed for $80k.

We were thinking that if we made repairs/upgrades, we could get it to bring in $1600/month.

So it'll depend on what the inside looks like. We are expecting it to be in need of updates.

Since it is rented right now- all upgrades can wait and we can recoup some money waiting for leases to finish up.

So we'll see how everything plays out. This would be our last rental purchase, using the last of the liquid money we have. So it needs to be a good one.

We'll see!

No Property Management Job

January 9th, 2014 at 03:36 pm

And as quickly ass it appeared, its almost gone. The property management job.

I called the woman yesterday at the appointed time and she didn't remember me, she didn't remember why I was calling...there are a lot of obstacles to overcome to get the job. She is not even sure there is a job to offer...she just said she thinks she might have to let go of her property manager because she has not heard from him. And seemed very surprised that I was aware of her situation!

The woman is 84 yrs old and has aids living with her. She is rightfully cautious and rightfully wary of strangers calling trying to get a job managing her properties.

Yesterday's conversation was me repeating my name a lot and her dodging my questions.

I think it is in her best interest to sell the properties. Giving that she lives 4 hrs away and has no one to trust to manage them.

I would have done a great job, but I understand that it would take a huge leap in faith to hire a stranger to do such an important job.

So I mailed her my resume and background info (she does not have email, requested I mail the info) yesterday. But I doubt anything will come of it.

Sigh. That's too bad that she is in such a bad situation that her property manager is living (probably) in one of her units and not responding to her at all.

So it's back to finding a job. Big disappointment as that would have been a beautiful opportunity.

Property Management Job

January 8th, 2014 at 03:00 pm

Last night I was attending a free Rich Dad/Poor Dad Seminar on Real Estate. I did not sign up for the follow up 3 day class session but it motivated me to increase my wealth.

While I was at the seminar- husband was at home babysitting. But what he was really doing was working on getting us a Property Management job!

Apparently, FIL's former landlord called him worried because she had not heard from her property manager in 6 weeks. She lives 4 hrs away from the area. She called FIL because he was the most recent tenant who lived near the property manager (they shared a duplex). FIL has had no contact and proceeded to tell her that the guy did a bad job anyway.

He was living in one of her properties, not responsive to phone calls, lazy, unprofessional and a drinker. I met him a few times and I was irritated that he was so relaxed about his job. And I just learned she was paying him $1100/month!

So she asked FIL if he knew of anyone that could help her. She owns 2-4 (I don't have an exact number) properties in our area and is without a property manager. She is older (FIL guessing over 75 yrs old) and relies on the rent for retirement.

So FIL thought of husband and I! He called husband to see if we were interested which we are! And he set up an appointment for me to talk with the woman today at 2pm!

I've already come up with a list of discussion items. Our fee is 10% of collected rent with a $200 finders fee for filling empty units.

My biggest concern is the fact that the property manager was living in one of her units. If I drive over there and he is found inside...I'll have an ugly eviction on my hands or he'll hear about what is happening and try get his job back.

But if this works out then I think we'll be adding $400-$800 month to our income! Depending on how many units she has and the going rent.

AWESOME!

Creative Money Management

December 15th, 2013 at 08:38 pm

I applied to 5 jobs yesterday. I'm not feeling so optimistic about getting a job quickly, so I'm still thinking of ways we can increase our monthly income using the resources at our disposal.

And here is an option to increase my monthly income:

If I spend $107k on a property- I can bring in $935 a month income.

Is that a good deal? Something you would do?

I'm considering it. But hesitant.

Its one of my current rental properties. It brings in $1950 a month, but I owe $107k on the mortgage. So I pay $935 a month on the property.

The $935 also covers the escrow account and insurance, so it would be more like $800 a month income.

It's an option that crossed my mind today. I don't know why I had not considered it before.

I'll bring it up to husband. But I think I would rather wait and spend the next 6 months waiting to see what the real estate market does. If it goes down- I think we can get a property that will yeild a better return.

hmmm things to think about.

randoms

December 1st, 2013 at 03:37 pm

We have officially rented out the vacant apartment! The 4 waiters have signed a lease and given us 1 months security. They move in on Jan 1st.

So the apartment went 3 months vacant. Not great, but not unexpected given its large size and the time of the year.

But now we are back to 100% capacity!

I am trying to get motivated to start my taxes. I need to add up all our rental expenses, rental income, and health expenses. Then I'll be ready when my W2 comes in and my accountant sends me a little booklet to complete. Normally I do it Thanksgiving day...not this year. Now I wish I had just done it because I'm still not motivated. Even though I'm expecting around $4-5k refund...that should be motivation enough!

In other news- I talked to the business partner of the guy who owes me money. He has told me he will pay half since that was the agreement he made when entering the deal. He said he will make a payment at the end of next week. He wants to just pay it off ASAP so he'll get together what he can and make the payment. He alluded to between $1500-5000. Big spread but sounds good.

He also said he has completely bought his partner (the one who is institutionalized) out of the business. So now is the time to try and get the other half of the debt owed from the institutionalized brother because he is sitting on a big wad of cash.
I will be chasing down the brother for his half of the debt starting tomorrow.

And in baby news- she wants attention all the time. If I put her down she is quiet for like 10 mins and then starts inconsolably crying until she is picked back up. Husband hates the crying and also is tired of entertaining her all day so he just rocks her and tries to get her to fall asleep. I want her up during the day so she will sleep at night. So I end up carrying her and playing with her a lot in the day. She is very time consuming. I get exhausted thinking of the long road ahead...just teaching her to hold up her head is taking so much effort!

Baby raising is not for weak people.

Flipper Came to my Door

November 15th, 2013 at 08:52 pm

I had an interesting moment occure today. A woman knocked on my front door and said she was looking for someone affiliated with XX LLC (our LLC for the rental properties). I told her that she had found me and she said she was interested in buying one of the properties. She named the house number and I filled in the street name for her. She said she noticed it was boarded up and abandoned. I interupted her to say my property is not boarded up, its currently rented. This confused her and she said the property she is interested in is a duplex. Mine is a duplex. She said it was a pale yellow color. My property has green paint. So we were stumped. Then she said it was by the train tracks. My place is no where near train tracks. So I finally figured out she meant #xx EAST street name, and my place is #xx WEST street name. So my place is not what she wanted to buy after all.

She didnt understand why the city had my LLC listed as the owners of the property but I told her the city makes mistakes, but I am definately not the owner. So she was back to the drawing board.

I ended up going online to the city tax assessor website out of curiosity. I am NOT listed as the owner. This woman must have mistakenly typed West when she meant to type East and gotten my info.

The place has an owner listed, and he bought it in 1996 for $20k. The property is nice and big, but the picture online shows it to be abandoned, boarded up and neglected.

I suppose this woman is a flipper going around looking for potential properties. I thought it was interesting having a first hand conversation with someone in an industry I am thinking of one day breaking into. I guess maybe one day it will be me knocking on a door wondering if an owner is interested in selling their property.

This & That with the Property Rental

October 18th, 2013 at 10:41 am

Hello Everyone,
I had a good day yesterday. I got just about nothing accomplished but it was a peaceful day.

Husband and I went to the rental property to measure out the damaged fireplace hearth tiles and start the hunt to replace them. We found some on our first try at an antique re-sale store in town. They didn't have many, but we only needed 6. They had 5 1/2. (Score!) And because they were leftovers they were really cheap, $4/ per tile. Now we need to figure out how to cut them to size and set them. That is husbands problem though.

I snapped a few pics while I was inside of the re-glazed sink. The fumes are still way too strong for me to stay in the apt longer than a few mins.

Sink Before with the peeling glaze and hair dye stains:



Sink $139 later:



The re-finished fixtures makes the bathrooms in general look dingier- I am looking forward to the fumes getting out so I can get some more cleaning in!

Rental Property Goodies

October 16th, 2013 at 09:59 pm

Went over to the vacant apartment today. We hired a professional to re-glaze all the cast iron bathroom sinks and tubs because they were horribly stained or damaged from the previous tenant. The man came out and did all 3 fixtures in one day for $710.00. He is giving us a 3 year warranty. He did an AMAZING job. I wish I had before/after photos but the fumes were to strong for my pregnant self to stay in there longer than a few seconds. So no pictures.

I did go around and collect up the tenants mail that they did not forward. That reminded me of all the misc. goodies that come free when tenants move out.From this particular property vacancy I have scored:

3 window curtain treatments
3 boxes of trash bags
2 unopened packs of AA batteries
A hand held vacuum
A cheapo vacuum
Generic brand bottle of Tylenol
2 magazines
A 20% off Bed Bath & Beyond coupon
Some half used bottles of window/tile/misc cleaners

And more free stuff that we cant really use:

Several plastic Tupperware tubs (un-needed- so they will go outside in a "free" pile)
A small flat screen TV (husband thinks this is an awesome score- but really- we don't need another TV. So its going in the attic.)
Several small plastic trash cans-again, un-needed, so it will be left for the next tenants.

In the past we have gotten new ceiling fans or light fixtures. Those are pretty awesome. But window treatments are very appreciated as well.

Rental Progress

October 4th, 2013 at 07:24 pm

Not much to report. Husband and I painted one of the rental bedrooms today. Tomorrow we'll paint the other room. And then we'll hang window treatments. It's been nice spacing out the projects over several days. Before we would cram it into a weekend because I had to work during the week, but not this time!

Our handyman was a no show to take the claw foot tub away for refinishing. No surprise there, he has good intentions and then gets busy. We'll call him tomorrow to remind him.

Bedroom before it was painted:


We choose the new color to be Behr 'Navajo White'. The purple-grey color was left from the old owner, he painted the whole place in that color. It looks good as a fresh coat- but ages badly. We've decided to transition the place to the Navajo White with a few pale blue rooms too. So every time we re-rent the place we'll paint a new room until it's all been redone.

Bedroom after today's painting:


Rental Apartment Still Getting Work

October 3rd, 2013 at 08:30 pm

Husband & I spent ANOTHER 2 hrs at the vacant rental property today. After a $350 Home Depot run to get supplies, We mudded walls and sanded. I deep cleaned the bathrooms and again went over the rooms I deep cleaned yesterday. Tomorrow we will paint two bedrooms and hang the window treatments. That should complete everything.

Except for all the stuff husband wants to replace.

Refinishing a cast iron claw foot tub is harder than I thought. The handyman coming over tomorrow is coming to remove it and send it out for re-finishing. Altogether it will be $300 to pick up and refinish the tub. They cant just fix it while it is in the apartment.

Which means that the other cast iron tub would need to be removed and put back if that was to get fixed. And it is attached to the wall, so I don't see it moving as easily as a claw foot tub. The ugly plastic insert is winning.

And the cast iron sink would need to be removed and put back as well. I might be able to talk husband into saving that. It would depend on removing it and how the plumbing looks regarding reattachment.

My question is regarding refunding the deposit of $1200. Some of the $350 we purchased today is not going to be taken out of the deposit. I wont charge them for paint, new security light (It's LED and husband HAD to get it) or light bulbs, or paint brushes. I WILL charge them for the mudd, plastic gloves, cleaning detergents, new toilet lid...

I dont charge for our time spent working/cleaning the apartment. I cant because I'm not a professional. I could charge them if I hired a cleaning service. But I've done that in the past and I'm never even halfway happy with the outcome. So even though I have to clean for free- the finished product looks so much better. Cleaning crews are only if I cant do it myself.

I will not charge them to refinish the claw foot tub. It's getting work from normal wear and tear. It just wont come clean anymore.

But what about the sink? It is stained purple and blue from the girls hair dye. We are replacing the sink (or refinishing it if I have my way) BECAUSE of the hair dye. I think that is a fair charge towards the deposit. The hair dye is also in the cast iron tub (not a lot), on the bathroom door (not a lot), and in the shower head (A LOT). All the dye is permanent, not even straight bleach got it out of anything. So I wont charge her to replace all those items, though we will be replacing the tub (if husband has his way). But that is more due to the general grossness of it not coming clean due to age, than purple stains in the corner.

No more calls to see the apartment yet. The pictures look great and I'm listing it several times a day. So if there is a group of 3-5 people out there looking for an apartment, they will be calling me.



Husbands mudd job:



Antonio Banderas Almost Rented an Apartment From Me

October 2nd, 2013 at 06:39 pm

Husband & I spent 2 hrs at the now vacant rental cleaning. It wasn't nearly as bad as it was since the tenants spent 2 days cleaning before we came in. But we still have a few more hours of work to do.

Touching every surface with Lysol and a rag helps identify problems not seen on a walk through. Clear tacks in the wall, dartboard damage in the walls, clear packing tape on the molding, staples in the molding were things we uncovered as we hit every room.

Husband has called a handyman to come out on Friday to price out resealing the claw foot tub. It just wont come clean anymore. We have used a home depot kit before and it just peels off after a few weeks. I hope this guy is the real deal.

Husband said he wants to replace the other porcelain tub in the apartment with a PLASTIC INSERT Stand up shower. I am horrified. Husband saw my look and explained the insert will just fit against the wall over the white subway tile that is still in great condition. That does nothing to help my opinion. I am hoping the re-sealer guy can also reseal this porcelain tub and I can argue away a plastic insert.

Picking & choosing battles. The porcelain sink jutting out of the wall has been stained with BLUE & PURPLE hair dye and wont come clean. Thank you college kids. Husband wants to get rid of it. I suppose it will be replaced with a modern vanity or pedestal sink. I am hoping that allowing the sink to be replaced I can save the tub from plastic insert hell.

Husband received a call asking about the property today. I listened to him advise the caller to look at vacation rentals. After he hung up he said it was a film crew looking for a month to month lease while they shot a movie.

SpongeBob Square Pants the sequel will be filming here in my town in the next few months. ANTONIO BANDERAS is starring in the movie. I know Antonio wont stay in my college rental unit, but people he works with everyday like camera men and stylists and set designers might have stayed in my college rental! And that is close enough to stardom to perk up my interest! If husband hadn't sent them away to a vacation rental, maybe I would have been invited to the movie premier! Maybe I could have gotten behind the scenes tours! Maybe I could get into the movie as an extra cast member! Maybe Antonio would be hanging out there! I could have become Facebook friends with his wife Melanie Griffin! (I loved her movies in the 80's.) And husband just casually sent them elsewhere. My life might have been forever changed, and husband sent them away. Expletives insert here.

Or maybe it was students from the local Arts college looking to shoot a movie. Much less exciting.

Or maybe it was related to the Film Festival that is starting here soon. I think it starts...in 2 weeks maybe? I know a lot of up and coming actors and crews come into town to give speeches and appearances. Last year some cast members from "The Walking Dead" were in town and a friend of mine got to do some kissing with one of the main characters. That would have been cool to have some of them staying at my unit.

So for husband to turn away a "film crew" of unknown background makes me irritated. And him talking of Plastic tub inserts and trashing porcelain fixtures makes me mad too.

Hopefully it rents soon- before he has time to ruin all the original fixtures with his cheap replacements.

And another picture of the apartment that Antonio Banderas almost lived in:



Getting Apartment Ready to be Rented

October 1st, 2013 at 03:23 pm

Well it's the 1st of the month, that means tenants have moved out of our largest and most profitable rental unit.

Husband & I met one of the students and her mom yesterday. Her mom drove down from Maryland to Georgia to help her daughter move out. We mentioned some areas that we were concerned about, large furniture pieces still inside, STICKERS on the walls, mirrors and windows, and cracked fireplace tiles.

They must have worked from dawn to dusk yesterday. We walked in today and it was worlds better. There are still furniture pieces in there, but nothing large. The stickers are GONE, with not a lot of damage to the paint. The cracked tiles are...broken. The tenant tried to argue they were there on move in, but I have a picture of the fireplace showing they were not. Husband thinks he MIGHT be able to seal them in, 0therwise I'll be buying antique hand made glass tiles at about $40 each tile (yup I priced it out when we were undergoing a renovation on our own home).

The tenants are back in there today finishing up. I'm not going to shoo them away from further cleanup!

But I have the place listed on Craigslist already, it is show-able right now.

Husband wants to paint a few ceilings and I am up to paint a bedroom to just spruce up the place.

We have decorative curtain rods and curtains that we brought over from California. So we'll install those and that will be a big asset. We have noticed that tenants complain when there are no window treatments/ and they also remark on window treatments when they view a property.

So, below is a picture of my antique fireplace BEFORE something was dropped on it causing a large chunk of missing/cracked tiles:


I am HOPING for 1 months vacancy. But with the holidays around the corner...I cant think about dealing with an empty unit through the holidays.


After a long hiatus...I'm back. Humbled.

September 22nd, 2013 at 02:45 pm

Hello Everyone,
I am humbly returning after 4-5 years away from this website. I was never in better control or in a better frame of mind than when I was regularly blogging here.

For the veterans of this site, this is Gamecock returning. New identity, fresh start. I am sorry I disapeared unexpectedly so long ago- I got caught up in large decisions and big purchases. I don't think I wanted to go through the daily "is this the right thing to do?" that a blog will produce during time intensive renovations and large purchases. Especially since I was uncertain to begin with.

To catch everyone up- buying a 1900 rowhouse, gutting it and building it from the studs up was a GOOD DECISION. This house is AMAZING and has appreciated instantly. This house has given us a good amount of equity.

After this project was completed, we made another GOOD decision to buy a rental duplex. It was a foreclosure in pretty good shape and has brought in a substantial amount of income every month.

After that duplex, we made another GOOD decision to buy a single family house (SFH) as a rental. It has turned out to be a GOLDMINE.

You see why I thought I didnt need this website or blog?

After that, I snowballed a few BAD decisions to get me where I am today.

A week or so after buying the GOLDMINE SFH, my FIL asked if he could have the property so he could get into the rental business. He said he would pay me exactly what I put into it (it was undergoing $45k/2 months time in renovations to finish it out). I said okay and thought I would reinvest the money in another. Well, FIL paid me in small and large chunks at various times over the last year and it was difficult to track and difficult to save. He still owes me about 1/3rd of the money- but the 2/3rd he gave me has been spent. Not re-invested, but SPENT. poof. gone. I finally told him this summer to pay me the remaining amount IN FULL when he has it. What did he do- put small chunks in a bank account with my name in it so I can access it. I think at this rate he will have paid in full in another 12 months.

After that terrible decision, I allowed husband to talk me into taking a large chunk from his payments and invest in a business across the country with our good friends. To give me credit, it took him a YEAR to talk me into this. But sigh. I took most of our liquid cash and put a down payment on a business in California. Our friend was going to be the brains, we were going to be the money. Everyone was going to make TONS of money.

Except our friend was less brains than we expected. Costly mistakes ensued that slowed down profit timelines by WEEKS and exploded the budget.

Except the initial budget was totally inadequate. The realistic budget was 4 times as much as we expected, and we spent EVERYTHING to keep afloat, and racked up $50k in credit card debt to get us through to the first payday.

Except that we were so SURE we were going to make TONS of money that we bought new furniture for our place in California and splurged on high end items, putting them on store charge cards. Then we had to pay thousands of dollars to bring those items back to our fully furnished home in GA and craigslist stuff for a fraction of what we paid.

Except that I trusted husband to run the business and I checked out from the beginning. I had no interest in the industry and I was promised that I didn't have to work and I took advantage of that promise. So I just wrote checks and trusted everything was okay.And I was promised a horse. I never got my horse and I'm bitter that I was manipulated by the promise of a horse.

Except that we got in a GIGANTIC fight with our business partner/friend and promptly everything fell apart. We no longer speak to our good friends that we moved across the country with which to partner up.

Except that I HATED California. I found nothing to like and I was unhappy/homesick/bored every single day. And I was pregnant too. And there are WOLF SPIDERS in CA. They are the size of an actual baby wolf and like to crawl up my drain pipes and hang out in sinks and bathtubs. The internet tells me they are non venomous so I learned to see them and ask them to not be there the next time I entered the room. Usually they would stick around just to add stress to my day. I'm not going to discuss the rattlesnake population that caused husband to buy rattlesnake protectant boots that he never used because we never saw a rattlesnake. But we saw some small wildfires and heard about decimating wildfires nearby. California is NO JOKE.

Except that we sold our interest in the business to someone for exactly the price that we had borrowed and took a verbal promise from this investor that we would get paid the rest of our investment to break even in certain sums over the next 10 months. We have received 1 payment so far 4 weeks later than agreed on and for less than half the amount agreed. Our former business partner negotiated to get himself paid back IN FULL PLUS $16k out of the deal.He negotiated this on the side unbeknown to us and we found out when our first payment was delayed because the guy paid the ex partner so much already.

But as of 3 weeks ago we are back in Georgia and back in our HOME! There is value in quality of life, and my life has dramatically brightened since coming home.

So that is where I stand today. $30k in credit card debt. $5k in the bank. A roof that leaked while we were gone causing $10k in damage. A baby coming in 5 weeks. And a husband that LOVED California and is convinced that if we just move to a different area, we can run the business successfully and make TONS of money. He muses about this on a semi-regular basis and if he really pursues it I might divorce him. True- infuriating-story.

Neither of us are working right now. This is the first time we will be DEPENDENT on the rental income rather than using it as a supplement. So this will be interesting.

But you know what? In California we spent 5 months FLOATING bills. We were making partial payments on everything from electricity to credit cards just to get through until payday. Guess what? In Georgia we can pay our bills IN FULL. It feels SO GOOD to not avoid the mailbox, to not feel dread as I open the bills. It feels SO GOOD to mail off payments in full now.

ok, so that's my story. Looking forward to coming back to this blog and returning to the GOOD decisions that this website instilled in me and taught.