A Tale of Two Houses

Subtitled:  Why you should use the MLS for your rental property

two housesThis is a tale of shame, with a “let me learn the lesson for you” message.  It involves 3 students from Michigan who were looking for housing.  Disclaimer – I was not a licensed real estate broker at the time of this narrative.

The back story

We had tenants leaving house #1.  They had not been the best of tenants, and we expected to have to do a bit of clean up, but nonetheless advertised the house on Craigslist for a month after the anticipated vacating.  We got a hit from 3 Michigan State students, one of whom was going to be interning at Microsoft.  Yay.  Now on to get the house all ready for them. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Houses”


On being a landlord

Colin Firth
In no way am I suggesting Colin Firth is a sluggard of a tenant. I merely use his picture to illustrate 1) an actor and 2) the truth that the world can never have too much Colin Firth.

An actor, behind in his rent and  trying to stave off the insistent landlord said, “In a few years, people will point to this apartment and say ‘Jones the famous actor, once lived there.'”

“If I don’t get my rent tonight,” said the landlord, “they’ll be able to say it tomorrow.”

For the investor, having and holding rental property can be a great source of passive income if done correctly, or a huge headache if not. Ideally, according to property management gurus, a rental should generate at least $50 per unit above and beyond all expenses. Expenses include obviously the mortgage (principal and interest), PMI, insurance, property taxes as well as scheduled maintenance (hopefully to avoid unscheduled maintenance). Continue reading “On being a landlord”

So freaking excited!

John DessauerJohn Dessauer, one of the premier teachers of multi-unit investing, has agreed to come do a Seattle event for me!

What’s the catch?  He is offering a coaching and mentoring package and if 15 people are interested, he will kick it off with a weekend in the wet.  His words actually were, “Seattle will be sleepless no more. :)”

Why John?  He’s a syndicated radio personality, author, has taught nationwide for many years and has a real estate portfolio to back up everything he says.   John is the creator of the “Divide and Conquer” system, which you have to see to believe!

He’s also a man who is in tune with current events and when he talks about investing, it’s feet on the ground NOW type of information, not just a system someone invented 6 years ago which *should* still work.

Interested?  Click here  for his coaching and mentoring, which is at a fraction of what you might pay to get into some other Titanium Level package.  You must follow that link, because that’s how we’re tracking Seattle’s interest.

Feel free to forward this post to any out of state investors you know.  We’ll be arranging meeting rooms in a hotel for their convenience.

Dueling agents

UmbrellaI love classical movies. There was an age when entertainment was just that, entertainment. Singin’ in the Rain doesn’t educate or indoctrinate, it makes you smile.  At worst it gives the moral lesson of, Be nice.  People like you better when you’re nice.  Being deceiptful can backfire.  It’s the sort of thing mothers (except presumably Colton Harris-Moore’s mother) teach their children.

Continue reading “Dueling agents”

Financial Upheaval

The cure is sometimes worse than the problemA man goes to the doctor and says “Doctor, I’ve become a compulsive thief.”

The doctor prescribes him a course of tablets and says, “If you’re not cured in a couple of weeks would you get me a widescreen television?”

I’m in the process of renewing my license, which requires continuing education.  The state mandates a standard practices course and another 30 hours of electives.  Looking over my choices, I decided financing was probably my weakest area, so although some of the other topics were more interesting to me, I opted for Fannie, Freddie, secondary marketing and FICO scores. 

I’ll not bore you with how banal the course is or how I already knew most of what was being taught [yawn].  What my notes do reflect is a veritable time line of governmental intervention of trying to fix problems which precipitated more problems and while the fixes helped there were still new and varied problems which required more governmental fixes to stave off further repurcussions.  The history of real estate financing in specific and financial policy in general is one long run-on sentence. Continue reading “Financial Upheaval”

Homes for rent

My son is currently working for a place which looks like the BuyMore from the TV series Chuck.  No, he’s not at Best Buy, but your mental image is definitely in the right direction.  My son, who in homage to the great James Delingpole, I will now call Boy, has a degree in Audio Engineering.  Yes, you are correct, he is a geek.  He even has a geeky girlfriend who takes him to Sakura-kan.  I’m sure I spelled that wrong. 

Boy, as previously stated, works at Geek Central.  He deals with technical issues of products which customers have previously purchased.  He is good at what he does.  He is also frustrated because he does not want to spend his life telling people that despite their protestations the camera was never used and defective when purchased, the frosting from the birthday cake UNDER the lens is pretty much a dead giveaway.  Continue reading “Homes for rent”

Zillow Plays Zanta – Craigslist finds a lump of coal

Frequently I think myself lazy when I ask people to repost their columns, but Kris just writes it better than anyone else and to bypass her verbiage would be a travesty.

by Kris Berg on December 15, 2009, posted with permission

I have long thought that the rental listing niche is ripe for the picking and practically begging someone to give it a decent home. Zillow has done just that and just in time for the holidays.

From Zillow’s very own press release:

SEATTLE (Dec. 15, 2009) – Real estate Web site Zillow.com today launched rental listings and search to its home shopping service and database of more than 90,000,000 U.S. homes. For the first time on Zillow, anyone can list a home for rent, and Zillow users can now search both rental homes and homes for sale in their area. Additionally, Zillow has built the industry’s first mapped search by monthly payment, allowing home shoppers to simultaneously find for-sale and for-rent homes, based on a monthly payment they can afford.

Rentals, no longer the poor cousins, will now be displayed in all their glory on Zillow’s site side-by-side with homes for sale, homes recently sold, and those crazy uncles, the Make Me Move’s. Continue reading “Zillow Plays Zanta – Craigslist finds a lump of coal”