Throw it Out?

When confronted with a stove that looks like this, many landlords would pick up the phone and just get a new one delivered:

BeforeBut not this landlord!  My tenant at this rental went down quickly.  She’d been with me almost a year and had been fine, but within a couple months, her baby got deathly ill, her car needed major repair and she got laid off.  Everything caved in on her at once, and she followed suit … stopped cleaning and stopped paying rent.

So, she was gone, but the baked-on grease and grime on the stove top remained.  Ugh!

But this is no challenge for the likes of Easy-Off (or the generic equivalent) oven cleaner.  I use the fume-free type, spray it on and let it sit for at least a couple hours, while I do other chores at the rental.  Then I use my small putty knife to scrape off the crusty stuff.  Follow that with a healthy spray of Krud Kutter or Awesome! (I’ve done separate posts on each of these products because they’re so effective.)

A little final scrub and you’re done.  Whenever I scrub something, I use the dark green scrubber pads made by Scotch Brite.  They’re sturdy and get the job done quickly.  And the finished product looks brand new, right?

AfterI’m all about saving/making money.  That’s why I do a lot of my own work.  Why pay someone else to do what I can do?  Of course, since this is my full-time work (along with Realtor stuff and my property management company), I’m able to devote the time.  Those who have a full-time job and try to own/manage rentals on the side have time constraints and by necessity, hire out much more.

Within a couple days, this duplex apartment was ready to rent again.  All it took was some cleaning, carpet shampoo, touch-up paint here and there, and a couple of minor repairs.

My new tenant loves the unit and is treating it well.  Of course, things can change quickly in this business but for now, all is well …

Onward and upward!

Yay! Time for “Vacay!”

Yes, we landlords do take vacations!  I’m getting ready to leave for Clearwater Beach for a few days — truly one of the most beautiful beaches in America.  This trip is with some friends, just for fun.  But I have no family here and I also go several times throughout the year to visit them, too.  I don’t feel tied down by my rental properties in Indianapolis, or by my property management responsibilities.

When I began this career in ’95, one of the first things I did was to secure an excellent handyman.  I started with a team of two guys and when they raised their prices I shopped around and found Craig, who’s been with me 13 years.  He actually rents from me now, too.  He does a wide variety of repair work, is honest and reliable.

When I leave town, I don’t even let my tenants know about it.  If they call me with an issue, does it matter if I’m talking from FL, AZ or Indianapolis?  Not at all.   My cell phone is the iron-clad umbilical cord that keeps me connected to my tenants, even when I’m away, and I’m fine with that.  Tenant management issues can be solved over the phone, and repair items can be solved with a quick call to Craig if I’m out of town.

When I’m on vacation, I’m truly on vacation.  I check my phone in the morning when I get up, at lunch time, and at night, returning calls as needed.  In between, I forget about it.  I mean, if you’re going to keep your phone with you on the beach and answer every call, why go on vacation?  That’s not what I call vacation.

If you do a good job on the rehab work before tenants move in, you don’t have tons of repair calls, anyway.  Well-maintained rentals tend to hold up well.  Many times, when I’m gone for five days, I only get 5-10 calls, total.  No biggie.  And that’s for all 27 units, plus the properties I manage.

So, if you consider jumping into the wild world of real estate investing, don’t be afraid to leave it every once in a while.  You deserve it!  Have a good handyman nearby, keep phone numbers of other important sub-contractors with you, and go have a blast.

I know I intend to . . . life is short . . . work hard, play hard!   🙂