Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A random update of shit that's happened

I keep meaning to keep this updated with landlord shit and I forget! Or it just depresses me while it's happening so I don't bother. :)Anyway - starting last Friday.

Thursday: Sanford, front door lock is busted, key stuck in door. I say - don't latch it, be careful, and I'll come change it out tomorrow.

Friday: BLIZZARD. Sanford #3 Phone call - my fridge is dead. Clock is too, so I think it's the breaker. IT'S EFFING BLIZZARDING, nothing I can do.

Friday: Sanford #2. Oh hey, a piece of roof flashing is whipping around in the wind, kinda scary. My response: Still snowed in, even more now, nothing I can do. Be careful.

Friday: Sanford #3. Oh hey, a piece of roof is busted. Thanks. I got it. Be careful.

Saturday morning: To hardware store for new lock. To Sanford, check breaker. Fried. Replace lock. Back to hardware store for new breaker. Screwdriver is too fat. Back to home for skinny screwdriver, back to Sanford, replace breaker. Works! YAY! I AM A MOTHER-EFFING ELECTRICIAN! Deliver new keys to tenants, say have a great day, I am off to Tillsonburg for family Christmas dinner.

Five minutes later: Lottridge #2. Uh, Melissa, I tripped a breaker. WHARGARRBL. Zip to Lottridge, flip breaker. Do NOT shave and blow dry at the same time. Doesn't work.

Five minutes later: Arrive at home. Husband: Bathroom pipes are frozen again, no shower. Off to friends for lightning fast shower, then to Tillsonburg for food and fun - supposed to be there at 3:30 - got there at 5 as dinner was being served.

Sunday: Sanford #3: Fridge is out again. What? Back again, flip breaker, fridge compressor is shorting out. Must buy new fridge. Delivery going to be an issue with Christmas and all. Tenant says no biggie - bachelor has no real food in fridge anyway. yay.

Yesterday: Pipes finally thaw in bathroom. Deliver tenant gifts, everyone happy. yay.This is not a typical weekend, but it can happen! Be aware, before you decide property investment is a good idea!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Proud of myself and nobody cares!

I came to a realization last night that I am the dominant partner in our business. I love Rob dearly, and I am glad he is around because I am not sure that I could have gotten started without his drive. Also - I hate paying bills so he is good for the money management part.

However, if I walked away from this marriage I would either take the bulk of the investment or he would be screwed. He doesn't know our tenants names or who belongs to what house. He doesn't know what they pay individually (he knows what the total rent is but what comes from where, he's not sure). He doesn't know who pays by email (or my email address to check on it), who pays by check, and who can only be trusted with cash or money order. He doesn't know how to update the website or list an ad, or show an apartment, or go to court for an eviction. He doesn't have our lawn guy's phone number or know his schedule. He doesn't know where the water shutoffs are, or the furnace kill switches. He would have a hard time finding my receipt book.

I do 90% of the maintenance. He doesn't know basic plumbing repairs, and is chicken about electrical. He is very good at construction and finish carpentry, which I am not. He doesn't paint. Obviously he is a smart cookie and could figure out all these things but it would go to hell in a handbasket for awhile. He'd have to start from scratch. I'm not sure he realizes this. I find it very empowering. Perhaps that is wrong to feel that way - but it's nice to know that it is *MY* hard work that makes us successful. My day job is alright but not exactly soul-satisfying. Somehow, the apartment management is much more so. Once in awhile, when we fight and he gets mean (it's a family trait) he says "You wouldn't be here without me!" I can say "Well you fucking wouldn't be here without me, either, buddy!" I'm not sure that would help the situation, but it makes me feel better.

I just feel strong and confident and totally capable. I realized all this last night, by the way, standing on a six-foot stepladder wiring and hanging a ceiling fan over my head with NO HELP AT ALL while Rob stayed home and watched The Cosby Show. An hour before that I had replaced the ballcock valve in the toilet in the upstairs unit. So I'm not sure I'm on the winning end of all this. ;)

Perhaps I am a bad wife. I think I am a damn good business partner!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A weight is lifted

I'm done I'm done I'm done! Yay! The place looked great when they moved in and I think they are really happy with it. I'm 50% collected on rents but they are all accounted for. My upstairs kids always forget to go to the bank so they'll have it tonight. My two contractor guys are both out of town on jobs. One will be back tomorrow and one will be back on Thursday. That's fine with me!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Random Chaos

Last night was the best worker bee night ever - we got so much done.

The list now:

Updating the still-to-do LIST:
Master Bedroom:-hang closet doors-finish painting inside closet
Bedroom 2:-install armoire
Bedroom 3: -hang door
Kitchen:-get rid of that blue gunk in the cabinets (install shelf paper I think)-move blinds from bedroom to kitchen window
Living Room:

That is great. I thought I'd be working all day today but I only have to finish these last few things. I'm waiting at home right now since Rob forgot his keys, but then I'm off to the CT to get the armoire and a couple of extra sets of keys.

The kids are moving in to Lottridge as we speak, and the family at Sanford has their keys so they can move in tomorrow. I have been running around like the proverbial decapitated chicken trying to keep everything organized. Since the kids are moving in two days earlier they are not getting a clean apartment. I have to reimburse them for the carpet cleaner rental which is just fine. I hate cleaning so if they want to talk me out of it no problem. This way I can focus on Sanford anyway. I can get it spic and span for tomorrow. I'm tired, my back and knee are killing me and I need a break. Then do it again in the spring!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Still working

Updating the still-to-do LIST:

Master Bedroom:-build out wall around hydro wires-hang closet doors-paint ceiling-hang curtains
Bedroom 2:-install armoire-hang curtains
Bedroom 3: -paint ceiling-hang door-hang curtains
Bathroom-paint walls and ceiling-install light fixture
Kitchen:-paint walls-install cabinet hardware-get rid of that blue gunk in the cabinets (install shelf paper I think)-move blinds from bedroom to kitchen window-install light fixture
Living Room:-wash blinds (blech)

Hmmm...I think that's all. I have until Saturday. Should accomplish it. I hope.

I think that's al

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Too much to do, too little time!

The list:
Bedroom 1: Paint - trim, ceiling, walls, get spray paint for the floor grate
Light fixture globe, smoke alarm have to be replaced
Build out the wall around some free-standing hydro wires (not advisable in a rental with children)
Closet doors - we need them
Window Blind

Bedroom 2: Finish the god-damned wallpaper removal. I hate this job.
Paint - trim, walls
Window Blind
Armoire - we need one

Bedroom 3:
Finally the primer is finished.
Paint - trim and walls
Door stop trim so that door actually works.
Hang other door (find one first).

New Hardware
Paint - Cabinet doors, walls - I hope the trim is fine in here, I think so
Light Fixture
Stuff to get that sticky stuff from shelf paper out of cabinets
Fix drawer facing

Bathroom: Ceiling scraped
Paint - Trim, cabinet, walls, door, ceiling
Towel bars
Toilet seat

Living room:
Paint fireplace brick.

And only two weeks to do it. This should be a blast.

Friday, November 14, 2008


That's what I spent on paint today. That seems a bit crazy for a 750 square foot apartment. Ah well - I guess I'm too decorative.

Tomorrow is move-in day!

For one tenant, at least. S. in the attic. We do keys and paperwork (and money) tomorrow. Yay money. We are stretched sooooo thin here. The new roof on our house is going to cost $15,000. FIFTEEN THOUSAND EFFING DOLLARS!!! But ah well, it has to be done. Plus the new eavestroughs at Lottridge are about $600, and then the basement has to be fixed up again, drywall mostly. Renovations at Sanford are running into the $700 range. And I'm praying to the furnace gods that the furnace on Sanford holds out for one more winter.

But I have a very cool new toy that is helping with the landlord thing - my blackberry! I LOVE it! It's like my whole life in a slick little package. I get my emails from my tenants immediately, and I can reply to them right away. Soooo much better. Now when we are gone for the weekend, I can take care of everything remotely. I love it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wooph, I'm exhausted

But the attic apartment is 99% finished! I just have to hang curtains and cut and lay ONE floor tile (didn't have my knife yesterday). Bedroom and bathroom are painted, other floor tiles are down, carpets are clean, and the place is scrubbed shiny. Thanks to my mom - she kicks ass at cleaning. I mean, she's abnormal. At one point yesterday afternoon she actually said - "I like cleaning toilets! You get such a feeling of accomplishment!" Yikes.

We also got a coat of primer on the panelling in the ugly bedroom and knocked out the crappy looking closet in the blue bedroom downstairs. All of the paint colours are picked out for that apartment as well - it will be very very nice.

The party rocked, as usual. We had a bunch of people show up, everyone had lots to eat and drink, and we broke in the new house in fantastic fashion! Played Rock Band long into the night. So, regardless, I haven't slept enough, had too much to drink, and worked my ass off all weekend. I'm coming to work to get some rest.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I am STILL an awesome landlord

ALL of the vacancies are rented. Two of them for the 15th. All except the Lottridge basement of course, but since we just ripped out half the drywall that's to be expected.

Even the 3-bed! I *love* the family that have rented it. I hope that they stay a very long time.

So now, before the 15th I have to do the following:
-patch & paint the attic 1-bed bedroom and bath
-replace two kitchen floor tiles in the attic
-clean carpets in the attic and at Lottridge 1-bed
-replace ceiling fan at lottridge
-fix drawer facing at lottridge

And before the 1st of December:
-remove cruddy old wallpaper in 3rd bedroom
-demolish icky closet and replace with armoire
-fix and paint all doors in the 3-bed
-paint every freaking wall in the 3-bed
-change kitchen hardware in 3-bed
-plane sticky drawers and patch paint on cabinets
-finish bracing stair treads on fire escape
-seal door to basement
-new deadbolt and lock set on side door
-install closet doors and box in wires in closet of master bed

Hmmm...I won't be busy AT ALL. We're also getting the gears at work to put in a bunch of overtime on one of our projects. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today is the day

And next time I think I'm going to demand a shorter closing. Sixty days is a pain in the ass - way too long. We could have wrapped this up a month ago! Ah well.

But I'm getting my keys in about two hours, and I have 7 appointments scheduled tonight to view the upstairs 1-bed. I hope I rent it quickly and can concentrate on the ground floor. It's going to be an interesting item to rent. I listed it at $950 just to see what happens and I haven't gotten any serious bites. We shall see. It currently looks like crap, so that might be why! I think I'm going to have to come down in price though. I wrote a really nice intro letter to the existing inherited tenant, and included a little questionairre about her needs/wants, hoping that she'd send it back to me (even included a self-addressed stamped envelope). I threw in one of my magnets! Yep, I made magnets with my cell # and name on them for my tenants' fridge. I am awesome. Ha.

She didn't send it back so now my seriously shy self has to call her up and remind her to pay me, a complete stranger, on Saturday. I hope things go smoothly. At least the old owners were fairly young as well, so she won't be thinking I'm some punk kid.

Next planning stage is the party next weekend! WOOT!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Closer yet and tenant drama

Well, only a few more days to go! We had the inspection yesterday and I'm not worried about anything. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the furnace is still working. Everything looks good to get the third floor rented ASAP. The first floor needs work, of course, but shouldn't be a problem. I can't wait to start messing around in the basement.

Speaking of basements, we've ripped out part of the drywall at Lottridge and the water is definitely seeping, not actively leaking. That's good. Hopefully new downspouts take care of that problem.

And my choice tenants for Lottridge #2 flaked out again! So I still haven't seen any of their money. Apparently they couldn't find their phone, which was turned off, so I couldn't leave a message. Last time they had car trouble. The time before that they had lost the phone CHARGER so it was dead and I couldn't leave a message. They still want the place but I'm worried what it's going to be like every month! This time they even knew where we were going to be -working at the house. If they were really serious, they would have come over.I've called back the other lady and I think she still wants it. Here's hoping. But apparently the young kids still want it too...sigh. I'm going to have to pull out the Rob factor on this one - he has had enough chasing around.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nine days to go and I seriously almost forgot about it

In nine days I will own three houses and 9 rental units, including my own unit that I live in. In eight days I have to pay for one of them!

Everything is almost wrapped up. I just need to get the insurance paperwork done and my agent is seriously sllllooowww. But he gets us good deals so I'll just have to ride his ass this week. We've got insurance arranged for about $1500 per year, we just haven't finalized it and paid for the policy yet. He's always like this - he says "We have tons of time" and at the end of the whole thing, he's the last one to get his paperwork in. Ah well.

My lawyer is just waiting for that (the insurance) and the transfer of deed from the other lawyer. My mortgage company seems to be happy with everything they have (mounds of paper that I'll bet they aren't even reading). But up until today I didn't really think of the fact that I AM BUYING A THIRD HOUSE. That is slightly crazy. The first duplex, lots of people said "Oh, good idea, tenants can pay your mortgage!" and lots of people said "Oh, it's so stressful and tenants will eat your life." But it still wasn't that big of a deal. With the second house, it was sort of do or die and we were about to learn what investing was REALLY like. Owning a house you don't live in and monitor was a bit scary. Tenant management has never been a problem for me, and as much as I have high turnover I think it's because I pick good people who move on in life (better jobs = better and bigger apartments and/or buying their own place). This buying a third thing really sort of cements where we are going in life, y'know? We can't just decide to back out now. They aren't easy to sell and you can't ignore them and let them run themselves, either. I am a landlord now for good, pretty much.

And I'm pretty damned excited about it. Already want to buy number 4.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I am an awesome landlord

Haha - I wish! Anyway, I got two very very good applicants for the apartment on Friday night.

Oooh, first an aside story to let you know how absolutely fucking frustrating this business can be. I set appointments up maximum two days before showing because otherwise people find something and cancel on me. At 2pm Friday afternoon I made an appointment with "Missy". She really wanted to come see it but worked until 6 so made an appointment for 7:15. It would have been my last appointment of the day. At 6:15 "Trish" called me and booked for 7:30. I figured I might as well just stay there (my 6:45 showed up at 6:30, my 6:30 didn't show up at all, so I had to wait around for an hour).

Anyway, "Missy" never showed up at 7:15 and Trish never showed up at 7:30! Gah! They had talked to me mere HOURS before! No calls to cancel or re-schedule, just no-shows. Then, to top it all off, Missy emailed me YESTERDAY (Tuesday) to say that she'd had to work late on Friday and could she please come see the apartment today? DKFakhIHJFKDSJ$@&*(@&(#*~! Phew. I feel better now.

Anyway. The tenants. Two very good applicants - one a young (27) recently engaged couple, both working at decent jobs, seem very with it and intelligent, getting married next September and saving their money accordingly. I would place good money on a bet that they buy and move before a year is up. They say 2 years - we shall see. The second a mid-40s woman and her boyfriend, moving from Owen Sound. No job lined up yet, but will be easy to get one since she's a cleaning lady, and a sizeable amount in the bank from proceeds of home sale after a divorce last year. Her daughter's fiance is dying of leukemia here in Hamilton and she wants to be nearer, and along with that, farther from her ex (not the daughter's father). She'll probably be here for awhile, but the no job right now thing is sticky.We decided to go with the kids. It was a tough decision and I really got a good feeling from the mom. So I went on a hunch and offered her the 1-bed 3rd floor at the new house (yes, the one I don't even own yet). She may only be there for a few months but it gets me through the winter and I can concentrate solely on getting the 3-bed fixed, painted, and rented before Christmas. It's quite a bit smaller than the Lottridge 1-bed but she accepted! On photos! She just wants to get down here and take care of her daughter. I am guessing that when the fiance dies she'll move out, but it'll be spring by then (she's moving in Dec. 1).

Anyway, everyone is happy and I am totally awesome. Edited to add - everyone is happy and I am totally awesome except I really do feel bad about the leukemia-dying fiance. I am not a total asshole. ;)

And I also just realized that the mom is a CLEANING LADY. The very thing I have been trying to hire to no avail. Hmmmm...

Oh, and, on a lesser note

Our roof is going to cost $14,000. Haha - isn't that funny?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Showings - here's hoping

I sure hope I get everything wrapped up tonight. I've got four people coming, one of whom thinks she's going to rent it for sure because it SOUNDS AWESOME!!!! ha. Hopefully she hasn't dreamt up the Taj Mahal here - it is only a $680 per month apartment. Either way, it'd be nice to get this over with so I can move onto the other units at the end of the month.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This is getting a bit ridiculous

Ha! My great always pays never bothers me tenant got a new job. In London. Sooo...she gave me notice for December 1. YIPPEE freaking woo.

But hey, she gave me mostly proper notice (I am NOT a dick and won't begrudge her 8 days late on a 60-day notice). And I already have 3 people coming to see it Friday night, one of whom is super anxious and thinks she will love it. Here's hoping. The tenant is really neat and is planning on being out before the end of November so hopefully turnover will be a breeze.

The website has 4 of 7 units vacant. Isn't that great? Especially when I'm supposed to be coming up with several thousand dollars for a down payment and closing costs in three weeks. Fun. Hopefully one of the prospects turns out and I'll have a bonus first and last in the next week or so. 2 of the 7 units are in the new house so they don't really count, and the fourth is the basement which I have to fix up. So not as bad as it seems.

The mortgage market and why Canadians shouldn't panic

I have a GREAT article by CAAMP (Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Providers) that details why the Canadian mortgage and housing market is in good shape. Not as strong as it was, but that's like saying I'm not quite as strong as Atlas. The past five years have been a boom like none other. Obviously CAAMP is partisan - they want you to buy mortgages! But they are also not going to blow smoke up your ass.

Here's the article:

Friday, September 19, 2008

I must be buying a house...

Because my basement kids gave notice! Great! Oh, and the third floor apartment at the new place is now vacant - no real surprise there. A lot of people move out when houses change hands. It's also not a bad thing, since she was paying SUPER LOW rent. It'll be vacant for a month but at least I can get someone in at market rent. But it's going to be a very busy fall for me - I have to get three apartments rented as fast as humanly possible or it's going to be a lean Christmas at the Ostrowercha house. ;) At least the attic and the basement at Lottridge will be quick and easy to rent. It's the biggy, the 3-bedroom that needs hours of painting and fixing that will be fun to get rented in December. Blah. Here we go with full-time landlord job again.

Ah well. It pays well, I suppose.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cleared Conditions

I forgot to update. We've cleared conditions on the Sanford house! Our mortgage broker is amazing. The lowest rate out there right now is 5.39% fixed for five years. She got us 5.32%!! We were thinking about going variable, but the best out there for that is prime less 0.3%. Right now prime is 4.75% and it hasn't been moving in either direction for awhile. For the little bit of gain, the risk isn't worth getting a variable rate that is less than 1 point lower than our fixed rate.

So, we let the sellers know that we have cleared all our conditions and we'll be buying this pile of bricks on October 29. Now for all the fun stuff - I've called the insurance agent, he's coming out next week to take photos and give us a quote. No rush there. I've got all the utilities switched for Oct 29 - the only one I'm sorta worried about is the water heater rental - they've shipped their call center overseas, I can tell by the accents. And the fact that they really have no idea what I'm talking about. All I have to do now is get a PO Box and we're all set.

Phew! Oh - and I've got 4 roofers coming out to give us a quote on this beast. Our principal residence is leaking and groaning about roof replacement. Bah. It's going to be HUGE! One of the companies is DeLuca roofing, who does all the roofs for the homebuilder Rob works for (167 last year), so he says they'll give us a really good price. We'll see.

Saturday, August 30, 2008



You couldn't ask for a better inspection on a 100-year-old house! There were a few little things that had to be fixed, all minor, and one major "must do now" thing. The fire escape step treads are completely not secure and are one good-sized person away from breaking and getting me a nice lawsuit. It's an easy fix though - a few dollars for proper metal brackets, a drill, some screws, and an afternoon of fun.

Oh, and of course the furnace. Yikes! It's 28 years old! But we knew about that.

Inspection & Financing

Inspection today. I'm nervous. I really want this to go well now that we've come so far.

Talked to my broker yesterday. The financing is not approved yet, but should be early next week - it's month end and super busy so it takes a few days. The lender is fine, we're just waiting for CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing) to approve since they underwrite 20% of a 95% mortgage. Regardless, she figures my rates will be in a range from 0.5 to 0.35 less than prime if we go variable, or around 5.8% fixed. This is very good.

AGH! So nervous about the inspection! My mom is coming, I think she wants to see the house. ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008


I hate waiting. I'm not good at it.

Anyway, we put an offer in on the Sanford house yesterday! I really hope we get it. Here's the listing:

168 Sanford Ave South

It has two good tenants, but both are paying pretty low rent for their places. The 3-bedroom on the ground floor is vacant and needs a coat of paint on every wall. The furnace is about a billion years old, but the roof is brand new. There's a storage shed in the backyard! The basement is completely unfinished but has the plumbing for a bathroom and kitchen and is a future project. The fire escape/second entrance is beautiful.

Today, with these rents, it just about breaks even. But with the increased rents once current tenants leave, and with the basement reno'd, it will be a serious money-maker. And it is incredibly well cared-for.

Their agent says that they're excited to sell. We put in a ridiculously low offer yesterday to see what they would do - you never know! So we offered $170K. Haha. Apparently they were pretty disappointed in that price - the story is that they wanted to list fo $209K but their agent talked them into $199K to get lots of lookers and a fast sale. They counter-offered with $196K. After much deliberation we decided to just throw our top number on the table - any higher than $190K and we don't want it. Which is totally true. But by then it was late evening and they'd gone out. They have until tonight at 6pm to accept or reject the offer, so we shall see. I think they'd be making a mistake not to accept it - it is not a seller's market right now for investment property - stuff is sitting for months.

Mind you, it is a good house, so they will probably get more offers if they throw ours away, but we shall see. I think $190K is a strong offer only 4 days after you listed a place for sale for $199K. Here's hoping!

And on it goes

Apparently, the sellers were really "busy" today - both work shifts or something like that so they wanted to extend the offer. Whatever. They have three showings booked for today and one of them was a second viewing. They're trying to stall so that they can get a bidding war going!

But anyway - I'm not in a rush, they're the ones that are sitting on a pile of money, so we wrote back our final offer and gave them until tomorrow at 10pm to decide. The best part is that we received their written counteroffer - $196,900. That, my friends, is $197K, not $196K. Good luck with that. This is a rental building in Hamilton we're talking about - not exactly the hottest market on the planet. There are a fixed number of investors in this city.

We signed it back at $189,900, just to be equally jerky as them. They have until tomorrow at 10pm and I'm not going any higher. It's take it or leave it time.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Tenant called this morning bitching about the grass being long. Damnit man, it's been raining for 60 days straight it seems! OK, it hasn't rained the last few days but I've been fixing walls and windows after all the friggin rain. Worst part is - I was going over there tonight anyway. Sigh.

Also going to see a house tonight that is a definite strong possibility. Here's hoping.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Water everywhere!

Things are crazy. I have a leak in my basement, a leak in my roof, and my basement kids have water seeping into their closet. Sigh. It has to stop raining soon so that I can fix all this crap!

Going to look at two decent prospects tonight. I don't have high hopes for either one, really. We shall see.

Friday, July 4, 2008

House was a bust

Meh, it was a dive, just like I was worried. If I could just buy the garage, though...that would be nice. The basement was unliveable, and there was evidence of two kinds of leaks - one the difficult to fix general wet basement type, and the second the also difficult to fix and even scarier cracked sewage stack! No evidence of crack, but dripping down the sides.

The first floor apartment had a great living room and bedroom (gorgeous) but the kitchen was badly in need of an upgrade and the bathroom was disgusting. Who puts drop ceiling tiles in a bathroom? They're only slightly less gross than carpet in a bathroom.

The second floor was pretty nice, and the third floor was as nice as a third floor teeny 1-bed can be. All utilities paid by owner. Full fire escape in decent condition, legal access/egress to every unit. If I had a bunch of money to burn, it would make a good long-term investment. I'd offer $150K and see what happens. Rob is not interested at ALL - he wants something we can put tenants into with minimal fuss as soon as possible. I can understand that. There's still a lot out there.

I have a few more on my short list. Some people are just ridiculous in their asking prices though. A triplex in Hamilton will be hard-pressed to garner you $2300 a month in rental income - and that only if you include utilities! You gotta figure on $150/mo for insurance, $200/mo for heating, $250/mo for hydro and water, $200/mo for taxes. That leaves you with only $1500 a month to pay the mortgage. A $200K mortgage right now (so about $210K purchase price with 5% down) will cost you about $1300 a month. So, before you've done any maintenance, advertising, or had a single vacancy, you're only pocketing $200 per month. $600 a year (edited to fix: $2400 per year). One furnace and poof! That's all gone. Hell - two turnovers with cleaning and painting and it's mostly gone! It's really a long-term investment, not a short-term cash gain.

So, why the hell would there be good solid triplexes with $2000 monthly rents listed for over $250,000? Do these people think we're nuts? Or are they marketing to the Toronto buyers who just don't care because the same house in their backyard would cost $600,000 and they figure they'll make it work with a small deficit? Good luck. I have no interest in carrying a deficit when things are at their BEST.

Friday, June 27, 2008

On another topic....

We're going to look at another house on Sunday! Here it is:


It's listed for $209,900. It revenues about $31,000 a year in rents. A legal triplex used as a fourplex (the name of the game is cram 'em in! Our houses so far are a legal single used as a duplex, and a legal duplex used as a triplex - may as well continue the pattern!) so it easily covers itself and makes a bit of spare change at that price. It's in a really good neighborhood, but not the best house on the block. It's also a good rental neighborhood, right next to the bus routes going in four different directions, walking distance from Timmy's AND McDonalds AND a grocery store. It has a solid block garage facing backwards into the alley - either additional rent or storage for us.

Also, my real estate agent is a godsend who actually checks stuff out for us thoroughly. It has been on the market since April (are they getting desperate yet?), and they only bought it last July - for $175,000!!! So unless they've made some significant renovations, which their listing does NOT talk about, we are going to hugely low-ball them. Obviously they've tried the investment game and don't like it, or are failing miserably at they want out.

Here's to being a shark!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Phew! Rented

The evictee's unit is rented again. Mostly. I need to get a deposit from the girl on Sunday, but she wants it and wants to move in by June 15. So that's even better than I expected. Yay!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

All done.

Yay, kiddo is out! So, from the first of April until now - that's not too bad. It went more smoothly than I could have hoped. He's actually been "gone" for a week or two, but didn't get that he had to return my keys for it to really be done. I ended up calling his mom and leaving a detailed message so that maybe she could give him a kick in the ass. She called this morning and told me they'd gotten the rest of his stuff and left the keys last night. So (phew) I don't have to call the sherriff.

This gives me time to clean it up, and get it rented for June. That would be nice. The basement kids might even want it, for that matter. That would be even nicer. For some reason the basement is easier to rent.

Apparently he's moved back in with his dad and lost his job. He should have just called me and told me - now he's got an eviction on his record. Dummy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Well, that was anticlimactic

Eviction hearing was today! I had no idea what to expect so I booked the day off work. The way it works is that everyone's hearing is at 9:30, then they go one by one when you get in there. There were 10 hearings in my meeting room this morning.

Not one tenant showed up.

So basically, it was the landlord presenting the evidence, and the board member saying "I will issue an order for termination and it will be mailed to you today."

So I win, by default. Not that I wouldn't have won anyway. I was out of there by 10:00 and went to work. Now I guess I just wait for the mail to arrive. Which seems weird to me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


So my phone rings this morning, with the regular everyday person ringtone (yes, I have a ringtone for my tenants and a ringtone for my husband). It's the first of the month, so usually my phone is singing George Thoroughgood at me (the tenants' ringtone) about rent. It is a woman on the phone, and the following conversation ensues:

Strange Woman: "Hi, I heard you have a place available for rent?"
Me: "Errr, no not right now, where did you hear that?"
SW: "Um, I thought you did."
Me: "Ahh, nope. But I may soon," (thinking about eviction guy here), "When do you need it?"
SW: "Well, it's an emergency and I need to move now."
Me: "Where did you hear I have a vacant unit?"
SW: "A friend."
Me: "Well, your friend is wrong."
SW: "Ummmm....Will moved out."


Me: "Well, Will hasn't talked to me about that, and Will actually owes me $1500."
SW: "Oh, really?"
Me: "Yes, and we actually have an eviction hearing next Tuesday for him. So, I can't exactly re-rent the place to you right now, unless Will magically called me, paid what he owes, gave me his keys, and proved that he was moved out."
SW: "So there's really no chance I can move in today?"


The LTB (Landlord Tenant Board), when I called them with this stumper, says I should go through with the hearing so that I can get a money judgement even though he's moved out. I am compelled to agree with them. Then I hire a collector and they will hound this kid until his dying day. And I'm glad.

Seriously - on the first of April, when he couldn't pay, he could have called me and arranged something. On the third, when I served him a late rent notice, he could have called me and arranged something. On the 16th when I called him he could have handed me his keys and walked away (I have a months' rent deposit). On the 18th when I served him notice of his eviction hearing he could have called me and only owed me $150 and walked away (court filing fees - it was still within the month that I had a deposit for, no court will award me a proper notice fee). No - he leaves it until 5 days before his hearing, on the first of the month, so that he now owes me $800 and leaves me in a lurch for another month.

Personal responsibility, kids. Get some.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

He's still there

My deadbeat tenant is still there. Had my little inspection this morning - the place is "clean" but cluttered, and all his things are still there. And my notice of inspection was ripped off the door. I guess he's mad? Not sure why - pretty sure you're supposed to pay rent.

I don't know how someone can just ignore that. I've been nothing but polite. Not once has he returned my phone calls. Just one month ago he was a nice kid who made sure he paid his rent on time - even called me to leave it in the mailbox when he was short due to bank machine limits. What happened?

Now I file for eviction tomorrow. There goes $150. I mean - he'll owe it to me, but my chances of getting it are slim to none. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The *fun* part of landlording

Here I was going to keep this as a blog of my landlording experiences, and I haven't kept you up to date with the most important one of all! haha.

First, though - the upstairs is rented for May 1, which is cool. We're in the middle of sanding and re-finishing the floors (I'm also painting this week) and they look AMAZING. I'm so glad we decided to do this. Gorgeous.

The Lottridge re-fi went okay, we can have about $13K in cash. We're still deciding when and what we'll do with that.

Anyway, on to the fun part. Lottridge #2 is going for eviction! My first one. Yay.

I call everyone on the 31st of March, to arrange a time to collect rent, his phone voicemail box is full.

On the first it is empty again, so I leave a message. He doesn't call back.

On the second I leave two messages. Here's the thing - I'm a nice landlord. If you can't manage the rent before payday, I'll give you the break, no questions asked. BUT. You have to call me and let me know. At the very fucking least, return my calls.

On the third, his voicemail is full again. I serve an N4 notice - notice to terminate for non-payment of rent. This gives him 14 days to pay up or move out, penalty free. It's a nice out, honestly, since if you do it the legal way, you have to give me two months notice. This way he can move out scot-free. Really, I usually use the N4 as a scare tactic - it does nothing, gets reported nowhere, but usually freaks people out enough to at least call me and pay up. I also have to serve it 14 days before I can even file for eviction, so I like to get it in early just in case.

He never calls.

Yesterday I called him and left another message - "Do you REALLY want to take this as far as eviction? I have to file on Friday, and then you will owe me court costs as well. If you get me the keys before Friday morning, we'll call it a draw, but otherwise I have to go forward." This is the "last chance" phone call.

No return phone call.

Tonight I have to post a 24-hour notice of inspection. I can't file with the tribunal if he's abandoned the unit. Tomorrow I inspect for damages/abandonment.

Friday is the 15th day, so I get to go down to the court house and file my L1 - application for eviction for non-payment of rent. Pay my $150, which he will then owe me, and get a hearing date. Hopefully my hearing is within 15 days. He can still pay up or move-out to cancel the eviction, but then he owes me the months' rent plus the $150.

At the hearing, if he doesn't show up, he will be evicted. He'll probably be evicted even if he does show up, since there's nothing wrong with the place and he hasn't paid his rent.

Then he has 10 days to move out, or I get to call the sherriff and move his stuff out on the lawn myself, and change the locks. That sounds exciting. Then he will owe me those fees as well. Plus he will owe me May's rent if it goes past May 1.

This will be interesting. Collecting the money he owes is going to be even more difficult.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Today, I am sick of being a landlord.

Awesome perfect tenant backed out of the upstairs unit. She had a good reason (and damn it I am not going to allow this business to turn me into the type of person who wonders if she was lying!) since her boyfriend in Ottawa got into a car accident and she's moving up there to help him recuperate. Still. Now I have to rent it AGAIN. At least she's paid two months rent. If I get someone in for April 1, I'll refund her a month.

That's what I'm doing right now - waiting around for the next potential to show up. So far, two nos, an application taken, and a no-show. At least she called and got stuck with her sister's kids or something. Usually they don't show up and I never hear from them again. 3 minutes until the 7pm appt is a no-show. I have three more appointments tonight and one on Sunday. Blah.

The apartment was filthy too, and needs re-painting. I'm offering colour choice as a perk to the viewers though. Hopefully that works out - but I need to show it now if I have a chance of renting it for April 1.

The re-fi on the Lottridge house is in process. I will be surprised if we get what we hope, but even $15K will be totally sweet and we can start looking again. Sigh. And have MORE tenants, more snow to clear, and more painting to do.

Seriously, it's worth it! :) I just feel that the last few months have been a constant revolving door. I mean - #1 Lottridge changed hands in January, #2 Lottridge in February, and #3 Lottridge and the upstairs here are both changing hands April 1. Craziness! No turnover for a year and then this happens!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fully occupied again!

Yay! I rented the basement apartment!

My new tenants are a very cute little couple who actually LOVED the place. Seriously - it's a decent apartment, but it's not really a *LOVE* situation. It's just a basement apartment. They're young, but they both work and make decent enough money to afford the place. I hope they work out, and I hope they stay for at least a year. They're so cute!

Edited to add - an update on the triplex down the street. We went to see it that weekend, and it was nice. BIG. Solid, but not really updated. Found out that they bought it in 2005 for only $199K. All they've done is clean and paint.

They ended up selling it that weekend for $237,500. WHOA. Hard to believe it sold that fast, and for that amount. They made a tidy profit.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Moving out and moving in

Well - it's been a busy weekend! My upstairs kids are finally out and OH MY GOD they were filthy pigs. Seriously. I have to clean the place tonight and it is not going to be fun at all. Roseanne the new tenant is amazing and luckily not moving her big stuff until the 15th of the month. Thank God. I have so much to do up there. Seriously - there is (was?) at some time a whole pizza dropped into the bottom of the oven and NEVER CLEANED OUT. It's a little pizza-shaped circle of charcoal now. Not to mention the layer of grime on everything. Blah.

My basement tenant at Lottridge has given notice. No biggie. He's my brother, so I'm trying to get a tenant in quick to get him some of his last months' deposit back. That $525 per month appartment is a whole 'nother ballgame for tenants than my usual upscale guys. People looking for a 1-bed basement are way different than people looking for a $900 2-bed. Not that that's a bad thing - it's just different for me. A LOT of riff-raff to sift through. My current #1 prospect is a great young couple who need a bit of a break, and it will be fairly intensive tenant management - they want to tie to their paychecks and pay twice a month, and pay their last months' rent in installments. Most landlords wouldn't do this, including me usually! But these kids knew what their credit scores are, are working hard, going to college to get a good job, and want to invest in property later. They are sincere and sweet and I got a good read off of them. We'll see later if this burns me!

Last night we met with our awesome super-dee-duper mortgage broker, Angela. She's going to get us about $30000 out of the Lottridge house equity so that we can buy another house. Basically it'll raise our mortgage payment to where the house has break-even profit for us. But if you put that $400 a month into savings, it'd take us 6.25 years to save up $30K. And that's foreseeing no extra costs, no vacancy. This way, we use up our profit on loan payments for the next property and by the time we retire the houses will be paid for and THEN they will all make money. Yay!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The house down the street

Another "For Sale" sign went up on our street! That makes 4 in the last year. This one is the most similar to ours and it's actually only 2 doors down. Of course we have a vested interest in what is for sale and what it is selling for, so I scoured the MLS for the listing. Finally I just emailed their agent and she sent me the preliminary listing (hasn't hit MLS public yet).

It's a solid triplex with a new-ish roof and fancy-schmancy units that will rent for good money. About $2500 a month. And it's listed for a whopping $249,900!!!

I don't think we'll buy it - we're not really in the market until this summer, and $250K is a lot. Although it does cash flow fairly well if we paid $235K. It's a good solid purchase for somebody. How nice would it be to be 2 doors down the street, though?

Regardless, it's great for us. Because if that house sells for over $220K, which it should, it makes ours skyrocket in value. We were thinking about stripping the equity and using it for the next purchase, and we only paid $172K for it! We only owe about $155 now, so we should be able to get about $30K out no problem.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I should never have started this

A few months ago, I said I would focus this journal, for my own sake, on landlording and all it's fun. I should never have done that! I've never been so lively since I started blogging about it.

My uber-tenant Kim is moving into her boyfriend's house. No surprise there, they've become attached at the hip. I wish her the best, but seriously, I love her. Apparently her son wants the place so she's going to assign her rental agreement and last months' rent to him. But I've called to arrange a meeting with the guy, and nobody's called me back yet. Sigh. I hope I don't have to find a tenant for that place too. I'm assuming my brother will be moving out at graduation, in May. So between December and May I will have had 100% turnover in both houses. Yikes!

Ah well - I have really good tenants right now, especially if son-of-Kim works out. Lance is great, haven't heard from him, not a whisper. The new girl upstairs, Roxanne, seems like a dream come true.

Piles of snow due for tomorrow. Yay.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The upstairs of our duplex is rented. Yay. To get deposit on Thursday and I'll be all cemented. She's moving in March 1.

I'm finishing the bloody apartment at the triplex tonight, giving the guy his keys and paperwork tomorrow. So we'll be occupado on our vacation. I don't like leaving a vacant unit.


I took Wednesday and Thursday off because I had a feeling I'd be incredibly busy, which I am. We haven't even dusted off the suitcases, let alone pack. I have to do a ton of shopping after I get paid on Thursday. I have to put my house in some semblance of order before I leave. I have to do 18 loads of laundry before we can pack. Rob thinks he's getting sick, which really sucks. I'd rather it be me, because I can still have a good time - he may be miserable.

But I don't care. I'm going to the Dominican Republic and I'm going to get sunburnt, drink too much, and eat too much, and take 600 pictures. See ya!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Three showings scheduled, still getting calls!


I did not expect to be getting these results in the middle of January, but fine by me. One tomorrow night is going to be an easy "no" she has a dog, and when questioned on type, she says "Mixed Breed, medium sized". I love dogs, and I really have a soft spot for the bully breeds (pits, mastiffs, staffies) but Rob is terrified of dogs, especially the toothy-smiled ones. And anyone who shies away from naming a cross-breed, you know exactly what kind of dog that is. I mean, nobody would say "uh, mixed breed" if they had a cocker spaniel cross. I actually once had someone say "Sheltie mix" - when I met the dog, she MAYBE had a Sheltie grandpa - the rest was pure bull terrier! :)

Anyway, I'm also showing to someone who is hearing impaired. That will be an interesting showing - her son called for her and I assume will come with. Although I get that she can speak, just not clearly enough for the phone. The only thing I worry about is contacting her once she were in residence, if she qualifies. Saturday's appointment looks to be good so far too - except she has a motorcycle and is looking for a place to keep it. That will be awkward with our driveway/yard/garage situation.

I have one more on message right now to call back. Hopefully he works out nicely as well.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yet ANOTHER vacancy - what is this - a mass exodus?

The upstairs kids gave notice today. Ah well. They were a bit stubborn on the "paying on time" thing but I always got my rent and they were nice kids. Quiet, work hard, clean type of kids. Sarah's been there since October 06, so that's a good run for that apartment. They want a place closer to school now, so I can't give them hell for that. At least they're going to school!

They understand the concept of 2 months notice but would still like to be out end of February. And not pay for March, of course. I gave them my usual deal - if they pay February 1 as agreed, and I find someone to take over March 1, then I will give them back their last months' rent.

So the place is listed all over hell's half acre and hopefully I find someone decent. January is a pain in the arse. Especially since I'll be gone for a week. Such is life.

One positive note - every time one of tenant's leave, they always have a friend who wants the place - I guess that means I'm a good landlord. I don't know if I'll accept said friend. We shall see.

With all this turnover I gots myself a fancy webpage, wanna see?

Our website

Oh, and I got vacant possession on Monday as expected and have to paint tonight. The place is a mess, urgh. I'm seriously going to hire a cleaner to do this sort of thing. I hate it. New guy gets his keys on the 15th.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Tenants will be out by Monday

Wow. Totally did not expect this to go so well. They are moving out this weekend and I'll have vacant possession on Monday. That means I can get in and clean and paint next week, and turn it over before we go to the Dominican. Yay!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January 3

Happy New Year, everyone!

It's January 3 and 1.5 rents are late. Half the upstairs (they pay individually and somehow I've let that continue) and the basement at Lottridge. But both are my students and they (students) are late every January. One is getting her OSAP Friday, one is getting her bursary on Monday. So it's coming and I just have to live with late January rent if I rent to students. I did the same thing! :)

I still have to get confirmation on move-out date from Lottridge #1. I'm not going to be comfortable until they are completely out, honestly. It worries me that they haven't contacted me at all. And I hate calling people to harass them. Ah well. Tomorrow I must bug them.

It is going on a week with no toilet in my own home. Do you know what that's like? It's a giant pain in the ass, that's what it's like. My husband is not exactly speedy gonzales with the floor finishing, either, so that we can put down the stupid toilet.