Money Down the Drain — Literally!

You’ll find the phrase “Onward and upward” sprinkled throughout many of my blog posts.  That’s my typical mindset as I navigate my way through this real estate investing journey.  Another favorite phrase of mine is “Show Me the Money!”  I mean, seriously, it is about making money, right?  And I’m always looking for ways to work smarter and quicker.  Above all, I try to avoid throwing money down the drain. 

For my single-family rentals, the tenants pay all bills associated with the property.  But with my multi-family homes, it’s a mixed bag.  None of them are metered separately for water, so it’s all on one bill, and I pay it.  Of course, I charge extra rent to help cover this expense.

Some of my duplexes, etc. are metered separately for electricity and heat, so I have the tenants put those in their name prior to move-in.  (And by the way, this is something I always check by making a call to the utility company to verify it’s been switched into my tenant’s name.  I learned — the hard way, of course — that sometimes people “forget” to take care of this, only after I’ve discovered they have outstanding bills with the company and can’t get the service put in their name until that bill is paid in full.  Big problem, especially when they’ve already moved in!)  Okay, I digress … back to my original thought, which involves throwing money down the drain …

I got a water bill from one of my duplexes that was $165 for the month.  This bill typically runs $40-50.  Red flag!  I called my tenants and asked if they had any leaks and they said no.  Hmmm.  So, I had to check things out for myself.  They were right, no leaks.  But both toilets were running — not loudly, but enough that I could see a bit of water running down the inside of the bowls — yep, money down the drain.  After the problem got fixed, the water bill went back to normal.

This situation underscores the importance of doing apartment checks from time to time.  Tenants either don’t notice repair issues, or won’t tell you about them until they’ve reached the crisis level.  Doing a quick walk-through will save you time and money, and will ensure that your tenants are taking care of the home you worked hard to get in rentable condition.

Yeah, that money needs to line your pockets, not the drain!  Onward and upward . . .   🙂

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