Opinions

November 22, 2016

Year End Planning Questions

Tick Tock…..time stops for nobody. We are quickly approaching the end of the calendar year and for most investors and property managers that means the end of your tax year, too. As such, it’s time to consider how to best wrap up your 2016 for maximum effect towards your Financial Freedom.  Here’s some boxes to flip up the flaps and peer into: YTD P&L:  Yes, it seems like this should be self-evident.  But after counseling hundreds of investors and property owners, what constantly comes across is how frequently this review gets skipped, especially when profits are strong.  However, doing a quick review now is beneficial to compare the P&L to past years to confirm if any expenses are perhaps out of line–both too high and too low.  Both can be valuable indicators of something to dig into deeper.  (Sidenote:  To get a quick and accurate ROI on your property’s profitability […]
December 17, 2016

Murphy’s 12 Laws of Landlording

Murphy was an optimist….so the joke goes…see how many of these 12 strikes a funny cord with you and go ahead and laugh.  Then learn the lesson.     (ADA moment:  Ever wonder who in the heck Murphy was and why he is famous?  Here’s the backstory: http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-true.html)   The time when the weather outside is -25 degrees Fahrenheit is when your Tenant calls to tell you their furnace just stopped working. The time when the weather outside is 102 degrees Fahrenheit is when, yep you guessed it, when your Tenant calls to tell you their Air Conditioning just stopped working. Contractors don’t always play nice. Tenants don’t always play nice. Government officials don’t always play nice.  (Some experienced would make the pointed argument they NEVER play nice….) Just when you think you remembered everything to do is when that one critical thing slips past you. Checks bounce when you […]
December 21, 2016

What makes an excellent Property Manager?

What is the baseline for an excellent Property Manager? I get this question from landlords frequently as they attempt to wrap their heads around a seemingly similar commodity of service providers.  Most charge about the same amount for their monthly fees, most say they will do a great job.  So how in the Hell do you tell which one will actually deliver and do an excellent job? GRIT.  Pure GRIT. Find the property manager who has the passion and perseverance for the job.  Find the guy or gal who can overcome the physical, emotional, and unknown obstacles day in and day out. Find the property manager who doesn’t have just a simple enthusiasm to earn your business.  Almost any fool can be enthusiastic…especially when they want your money. Find the one who has the endurance. Endurance is RARE….find the one who has the ability to endure.  You’re not running a […]
December 26, 2016

New Year’s Resolution for 2017

Skip the perennial “I’ll join a gym this year”…..do something that will truly pack a punch for your Financial Freedom in 2017.  
January 9, 2017

Groundhog Day is in 22 days….

I love the movie with Bill Murray, don’t you? It’s a cute story filled with humor, lovey-dovey moments, and makes you feel good about your life and the chance to control the ending. Real Estate investing is similar to the movie, too…..you have those moments of lovey-dovey, you feel good about your life and the chance to control the ending–your Financial Freedom.  And like the movie, it can easily repeat itself to the point of being quite annoying.  Expensive, too. See if you can identify with any of the Top 7 most repeated rental property Groundhog Day-esque moments: #7: Slamming a marginally qualified tenant into a vacant property because it’s been vacant so long that the spiders and ants have begun playing formalized games of cricket and soccer on your carpets.  Two months later, you end up evicting that tenant and you’re now worse off than before. #6:  Ignoring that […]
January 11, 2017

It’s Worth It…..

When I read the article, I started doing fist pumps in the air. It’s only 344 words.  The biggest word he uses is responsibility. HERE’S A DUDE WHO GETS IT!!!  HERE’S A DUDE WHO UNDERSTANDS WHAT I’VE BEEN FEELING, SAYING, YELLING ABOUT FOR SOOOOOOOO MANY YEARS NOW. ENTITLEMENT IS OPTIONAL.  ENTITLEMENT IS STUPID.  ENTITLEMENT IS A CHOICE. Man, that feels good…..(I mean, how many of us get pissed off when we have to interact with an entitled moron out there???) And then I reread the article again. And again. And then I stopped fist pumping and read it another time. It’s just 344 simple words but what he lays out as an argument about Entitlement are as complex as the Russian stacking dolls. ‘ Unstack a sentence and it leads to even deeper mental rabbit holes. What’s it have to do with real estate and investing? EVERYTHING.  Literally….EVERY DAMN THING. Who among […]
January 23, 2017

It’s not personal, it’s just business…..

The title of today’s post is derived from the famous scene in the movie, The Godfather. It takes place when Michael Corleone rebukes his brother about an impending action the family is about to take to avenge the shooting of their father, “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” If it’s been awhile since you’ve enjoyed the movie, here’s a link to the clip…The Godfather. If you’ve been a landlord for more than one week, you know human beings, at times, can be messy. Messy in their housekeeping. Messy in their organizational ability to pay the rent on time and plan their household expenditures. And finally, messy emotionally as they juggle the demands placed on them by work, family, finances, and societal expectations. That is part of the human condition.  It’s best to accept these shortcomings and embrace them for tremendous success in your rental properties.  Or don’t accept these shortcomings and get […]
February 2, 2017

Chuck Yeager: A very slow test pilot who broke the sound barrier.

The Right Stuff.  Astronauts.  Jet planes.  Test pilots. The stuff of childhood dreams.  The stuff adults might want to study again. Chuck Yeager was one of my childhood hero’s and still is one of my adult hero’s, but not simply because he broke the sound barrier.  If you’ve ever read his autobiography, you get a picture of a self-deprecating, fun-loving, Appalachian born man who was born to fill his destiny in history.  He loved to fly.  He had the physical abilities for it.  And he had grit.  Plenty of it. But the real story of Yeager’s success and place in history is that it shouldn’t have happened to him.  Instead, probability says there should be a street named for him at Edwards Air Force Base in California.  Dozens of test pilots with college degrees and more “stick time” than Yeager have streets in their names there.  (Streets at that base […]
February 7, 2017

2017 outlook for SFR Owners

“There is a shortage of quality rental housing.” Fist pump time if you’re a Landlord or Investor. That’s the overall opinions of some of the top managers of large, institutional portfolios of single family residences (SFR).  Here’s the link to the brief article:  http://nreionline.com/single-family-housing/top-sfr-owners-plan-grow-2017 It indicates, if demand for SFR’s remains stable, that rent prices should remain solid and absorption rates should be strong.  What it also, indicates however, is that these same large institutional portfolios have new targets–YOU. As a smaller operator of SFR’s, you are seen as the enemy. You’re the competition. You’re who they want to gobble up or squash out of the rental game. So here’s the question for today: These portfolio managers have the spare cash, the human resources, the advanced technology, and the patience to crush you.  How do you plan on continuing to compete against them? Go Guerrilla Warfare style against them. Here’s […]
February 20, 2017

2017 is a Fulcrum Year

If there was ever a year with intrepid changes and challenges and opportunities, we are hurtling headlong into it at warp speed, torpedoes be damned. Extreme divisiveness. Extreme ideologies. Which side will be victorious? It depends on where the fulcrum is positioned under the lever. (Remember how a child’s teter-totter works? The chubby kid always won since the fulcrum was always in the middle.) It also depends on if the fulcrum remains stationary or is movable. (Hint:  You’re an adult now….move the damn fulcrum!) I’m not talking about the recent political election or the Democrats or Republicans or the Socialists or the Tiddlywinks.  I’m talking about is the fulcrum of your choices. The choices propelling you towards your freedom or restraining you in continued bondage. 2017 is a fulcrum year because of this single concept: You either have a mastery of your craft or You’re one of those timid cold […]